“The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage.”

I love being free, it is one of the characteristics I love to seen in people, to be free of thought and in purpose is a powerful element in life.  To be free one must be courageous (courage is one of my power words).

I love seeing Elite performance and although on occasion I may find it hard to describe what elite performance is, I know what it is when I see it.  I rarely watch television but I recently saw Spellbound, a group of very talented athletes perform an amazing, courageous and free gymnastic routine.  It was simply outstanding to watch individuals perform to the highest standards and then to synchronize in perfect harmony with one another to form a true team.  To also do it on live television was a credit to them.

I have just been working with the next crop of talented cricketers in the UK.  Their vision is to eventually compete in the under 19 World Cup.  I see enormous talent and a realisation that to be the best they have to start performing at a different level.  I asked them what the team start point currently is? They are currently number 8 in the World.  I then asked them what they need to do differently in order to move up the rankings and be in a position to compete with the top four countries in only two-years time?

To jump eight places requires a real determination that they as a team need to do something differently to what they have been doing before (this includes the coaching staff). They require real determination, courage, self-belief and they need to train in a high pressure environment that has consequences for not performing well.

I have just watched England play Algeria with no self-belief or team spirit.  I find it hard to understand why the players are unable to be free and creative when they play in an England shirt.  They seemed mentally constrained and this mental state drains energy.

I also watched the England Rugby team play for the first time in years with self-belief and freedom.  Consequently they won in Australia for the first time since the World cup win in 2003.  Teams need to be able to adapt to the game that is being played in front of them, teams need to be flexible to change in adversity, I would like to see England football team do the same because if they carry on in the same style we will be out of the world cup very shortly.

The team with the most flexibility controls the system, it is not the strongest or the fastest that survive but those with the greatest flexibility to adapt.

My word of the week is LONELY, what do I mean by being lonely.  In this case it is the loneliness of command/leadership.  If we want to be true leaders we must understand that there will be occasions when we are alone in our beliefs and our team may disagree with what we are doing. This disagreement may also filter to our shareholders, the media, family and friends. The real leader knows that this will happen at some stage in our career or tenure. Capello will be feeling quite alone as the bandwagon for his head starts to gain momentum and players/media start to voice concern over his methods.  Does he stay strong or does he change his approach due to the external pressures he will surely face?  All great leaders listen and if change is necessary, they must park their ego and change/adapt/evolve their plans. However if they believe they are correct they must be authentic and remain strong and resolute in that belief. It can be hard as a leader as you make uncomfortable decisions because there will be an element of rejection and most people do like to be liked. The leader must put this to one side and maintain his strategy until they are successful.

The week has been excellent, met with one of my golfers on Monday, gave him a heart rate monitor to assist in his trg and then gave him a body monitor which will gauge his food intake and energy levels 24/7.  After two weeks he will undertake a complete physical makeover, which will give us a great start point to ensure his fitness and diet are at an appropriate level.

Later in the day met with people from New Scotland Yard and others to discuss Crisis Leadership in a number of areas.

Tuesday I met with a CEO of a social enterprise and discussed certain issues she was dealing with.  We also did some work on leadership skills. A very talented person indeed. Then met with an investment banker and discussed team work and leadership in tough times.  In all a very interesting day.

Wednesday was a steady day, lots of individual training and fitness as well as writing a proposal with another coaching organisation, which has been around for a number of years.  I was pleased that I was able to learn something as well as teach something.

Thursday I undertook a final workshop with a high profile team that I have been working with for six months.  It was a hard hitting meeting ensuring that no stone was left unturned and they could ensure that they moved to an elite level of performance.  It was engaging, challenging and fulfilling.

Friday was spent doing a risk analysis for a commonwealth team. The key in undertaking this type of assessment is to concentrate on facts. With all of the facts in place it becomes easier to understand your liabilities and how you mitigate them to provide an accurate assessment.  Thank you Schu who helped enormously in this.

Only difficulty of the week was discussing the future of my son who has decided that he does not want to be a teacher but wants to join the Army.  My only reservation is the war in Afghanistan, which is flawed politically and militarily.  It is also difficult to tell your son there are other opportunities in life other than the Army when I loved my time as a soldier.  Time to let go and offer the best advice you can.

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