Your Playbook is Risking Your Whole Game

The “Three Point Revolution” completely changed basketball.  The size of the court effectively doubled with no more players to cover it.  And every playbook became obsolete.  The same thing has happened to the environment in which your organization operates.  And far too many playbooks haven’t changed at all.

I coach senior executives.  Those coaching sessions always address significant challenges faced by executives and the organizations they lead.  And I see more than merely common threads – I see repeating and high-risk patterns.  Those include:

  • Frustration and constant anxiety about the performance of their organizations.
  • Frustration with the lack of engagement and commitment from subordinates and staff.
  • Awareness that past leadership skills and approaches are no longer effective.

These repeating patterns led me to develop the Peak Performance Series.  The Series is built on an unprecedented combination of factors creating the need for a very different method to build effective organizations.  In the Series we focus on six fundamental building blocks that enable leaders to address today’s realities.

What are the “unprecedented combination of factors?”  We live in extremely challenging times.  The military developed an acronym to describe this environment … V (volatile), U (uncertain), C (complex), A (ambiguous).  VUCA.  It sounds tough and ugly.  And it is.

I begin presentations with this question: “How are you feeling?”  It’s not rhetorical.  It’s a serious question.  Its purpose is to start a serious discussion about individual and collective well-being.  This discussion has become necessary because research reveals  multiple, dangerous realities including:

  • Alarming levels of depression.  Recent Gallup research found, “The percentage of US adults who report having been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lifetime has reached 29%, nearly 10 percentage points higher than in 2015.  The percentage of Americans who currently have or are being treated for depression has also increased to 17.8% – the highest recorded by Gallup since it began measuring depression in 2015.”
  • Record levels of employee burnout. (“60% of employees report being stressed all or most of the time at work.”  A recent Deloitte workplace burnout survey found that 77% of respondents have experienced burnout in their current job.” – from The Burnout Fix, by Dr. Jacinta Jimenez.
  • Some form of mental illness will impact one in four adults during their lifetime according to Gallup research.

Why are the statistics important?  Because these realities lead to unhealthy and dangerous behaviors.  Those include increasing crime,  divisiveness, extremism, and the loss of civility.  And these behaviors don’t stop at the door to your organization.  Add a few more:

  • Unprecedented generational changes as Gen X, Gen Z, and Millennials become a greater percentage of our workforce and begin to assume leadership positions.  This new workforce has a very different set of perspectives and expectations from their work experience.
  • The practical and emotional/psychological impact of climate change.
  • The practical and psychological impact of AI.

How are these challenges and new realities impacting your workplace and enterprise?

  • Recent Gallup research indicates that only 32% of US employees are engaged in their work while 18% are actively disengaged.
  • $322 billion of turnover and lost productivity costs globally directly attributed to employee burnout.
  • Gartner Research shows that 68% of senior HR leaders reported managers are overwhelmed, while only 14% of their companies took steps to improve the situation.
  • Gallup research showing four in ten US employees believe their jobs negatively affect their mental health and fewer than one in four believe their employer cares about their wellbeing.

Organizational leaders need a new playbook that supports well-being, delivers for shareholders and stakeholders, and radically improves supervision and management competencies.  We need organizational cultures that balance organizational well-being and employee growth and development with investments in new technologies.

The Peak Performance Series is a fact-based introduction to the leadership skills and competencies required to achieve Peak Performance when the world is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.  Peak Performance is:

  • Businesses and organizations that consistently meet or exceed the expectations of both shareholders and stakeholders.
  • Businesses and organizations that build cultures that support individual and organizational well-being.  They invest in the professional development of all employees.  They are driven by an inspiring organizational purpose which attracts, engages, and retains top talent.
  • Businesses and organizations that support their communities and act as stewards for future generations.

Please join us on Tuesday, March 26, as we explore Peak Performance, and begin helping you to stop managing, and start coaching.

This article was produced by Ken Garner, who will also be the presenter for the webinar and subsequent three-part series.  Ken is a practitioner with over 30 years of experience as an executive leader in for-profit and non-profit organizations, and a life-long student of leadership.

Ken is an advisor to Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business and an accredited Executive Business Coach with hundreds of hours of experience coaching senior business leaders in a variety of industries. Ken can be reached at Desired Results Through Coaching (, email, or 703-618-2535).

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