with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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Our High performance teams series now enters part 11 and we shift into the 5 key elements that drive a high performance culture, the first of which is using a high performance lifecycle to create the environment and space for high performance to flourish.

So, in this episode, we cover the power of high performance lifecycles and how to use them to automate the pursuit of excellence.

The pursuit of excellence lies at the heart of all great performers. It means mastering your craft and continually working to improve yourself. It also means leading your team to work collectively to improve itself. The long-term benefits have an incredible compound effect on your ability to get results and rise above the pack.

I will outline:

  • The Executive Performance Lifecycle: Prepare, Perform, Recover, Review (P2R2), and how to use it as an executive performance tool
  • How to lock this into as a system that drives performance
  • How to optimise each step
  • Some tricks to stay focused and embed the system in the real world

What is The Executive Performance Lifecycle?

The executive performance tool I use is called P2R2: Prepare, Perform, Recover, Review.

If you think about many elite sporting teams, all week they prepare for a big game. They do their rehearsals, their planning, they look at everyone's role within the team and what's going to happen on match day. Then, on the weekend, they perform.

Following this is their recovery the next day, and then they come together and they do a review of their performance, and the whole process starts again. So, they prepare all week, they perform on the weekend, they recover, and they come in and they do a review.

How can P2R2 drive performance for my team?

Now, in business and at work, this particular lifecycle can happen in a single day. You might come to work in the morning, sit down, do a very quick review of what happened the day before, jump into your preparation and your planning, conduct rehearsals for what's coming up through a really good morning focus or morning ritual, and then you go into all your performances throughout the day, eg. the different meetings or presentations. Then you go home and recover, come in the next morning, and you run that lifecycle once again.

The problem is, in business, we skip at least one of these steps…probably all except Perform! This is where you start to lose momentum and come unstuck. This is when the compounding effect goes in reverse.

Is optimal performance achievable?


The very first thing I want you to do is to look at your calendar. Are you doing really good, high-quality reviews? If so, when? How often?Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Make sure too, that you have a highly effective annual review. Most people have got one for their team, but they don't have one for themselves, and this is where the opportunity is. Take your own game to another level by applying these particular systems to your own life.

Then look at the quality of your preparation. Are you simply thinking about a few things that are going to come up, or are you actually sitting there saying to yourself, “What is my performance going to look like? How will I know if I've been successful? What are the roles that I need people to play in that particular performance? What am I going to do?”

Then actually go and conduct some rehearsals. That's what elite sports teams do all week; they rehearse plays over, and over and over again so that when they get on the field, they can absolutely knock it out of the park. How often are you preparing meticulously by rehearsing your presentations, how you're going to say certain things to certain people to get the outcome you're after?

When you're doing your performances, are you making sure that you are fully focused and in the moment? Turn off any distracting things like mobile phones. Shut the laptop that's in front of you when you're in meetings. When you're there, you must be present, you must be in flow, and that's what it means to knock a performance out of the park. No professional, no absolute master of their game does two things at a time.

They just do one thing, and they do it exceptionally well.

Then they go into full recovery, and they refresh their body and they refresh their mind, and they take the time and the effort to actually do it properly. They understand that recovery can be used as a weapon, and when you get all these particular stages stitched together, that is where the goal happens, where you deliver a focused performance.

By doing all of these steps again and again and again, you will simply rise above the pack again and again and again. And this, Chief, is what it means to automate the pursuit of excellence.

This sounds like theory. How does it apply to the real world?

Good question! Here are some tricks to stay focused and embed the system in your life.

If for example, you want to do a morning focus section, and you find that you just keep getting distracted and drawn into other things, find someone either at work or a peer who works nearby you in town, and meet every day or every second day for a coffee. Do a really solid review and preparation on what is going on. That accountability to someone else will help you lock in performance, because you know you've got to turn up or you're letting someone down. You could do the same with your team; as a ritual block out 2 hours on say a Friday and do a review and performance execution session. If it's in the diary, there's a better chance it will happen and tasks will get done.

Another good tip is if you've got a presentation to a board or some senior stakeholders from 2:00 to 3:00pm on a Tuesday afternoon, block out the hour before, get your ducks in a row, make sure everything is pepared and perfect, so that when you step up in front of that group, you absolutely nail it.

Stay epic

Next article in the High Performance Teams series:

Pillar 3/Culture: Part 12 – Tighten the Bonds