Mo Farah’s Golden Lesson For Leaders In Maximising Performance

15Aug Mo Farah’s Golden Lesson For Leaders In Maximising Performance

Mo Farah GoldMo Farah’s historical win in the 10,000 metres yesterday was just one of the highlights of Great Britain’s amazing performance in the Rio Olympics, but what is the secret to these amazing performances? Well, it’s clear that it’s a combination of passion, skills, mental attitudes, lots of hard work, sheer determination, lots of training, and support from others, both professionally and emotionally.

So, what can we learn in our ‘real world’ of work and managing others in work? Well, an interview with a very emotional Mo Farah after his historic victory gave us a real insight. He explained that the key factors for success for him it was focusing on doing things he loved and things that he was good at that have helped him achieve such amazing things.

Here’s the interview…

It was great to see him highlighting something we talk about on our leadership programmes and seminars. Our experience of working with lots of successful leaders and entrepreneurs suggests that the ‘best performers’ focus on making sure that the vast majority of their time is spent on..

  • The Things They Are Good At
  • The Things they Enjoy Doing….. and
  • The Things That Make An Impact In The Areas That Count!  

The key is getting a balance of these three areas – You can hopefully see it explained in the graphic below:

Best Performers Grid

It’s crucial that you get the balance of all 3, because, if you only have 2 out of the 3, these are the things that typically happen…

If you…

  • Do Things You’re Good At and The Things You Enjoy Doing (But not in The ‘Areas That Count’) – then, that’s just ‘Good Fun’ and it’s not sustainable in the long term
  • Do Things You’re Good At and Make An Impact In The Areas That Count (But Don’t ‘Enjoy’) – You’ll get bored and dis-interested (eventually)
  • Do Things You Enjoy and Make An Impact In The Areas That Count (But You’re ‘Not Very Good At) – You’ll probably get frustrated, have to work extremely hard at doing it, and the quality might not be high.


Obviously, not every part of your job can be doing only the things that fit in all 3 areas, but the majority of it should be if possible. For example, if you’re good at selling, enjoy it, and it delivers results in the right areas , then gear your role around that. Get others (train others) to do the stuff that don’t fit in all 3 areas to free you up to do it.

When working with leaders, I encourage them to evaluate how and where they spend their time, and how much of it is in that ‘sweet spot’ area and what they need to do to get the balance right. It’s also about ensuring that their team members are in their own ‘sweet spot’ too.

So, some questions for you:

Are you spending the majority of your time on..

  • The Things That You Are Good At?
  • The Things You Enjoy Doing….. and
  • The Things That Make An Impact In The Areas That Count

Are your people?

What do you need to create ‘gold medal winning’ performances in your team?

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