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In the Tunnel – Ready to Perform


June 17, 2014

We often read and hear about sports players who take time to get ‘in the zone’ before a game or match so they perform well.  But how does this apply to us humble, regular business people? After all, we are expected to perform at all times rather than having occasions or events four or five times per month.

In the past week or so I’ve watched about 16 World Cup soccer teams on TV waiting in the ‘tunnel’ before they get the nod from an official – probably a TV Producer- to form the procession out onto the pitch. Some look deep in thought, some are limbering up, some are greeting the opposition, some are paying attention to the junior mascot holding their hand.  I’ve been intrigued by what each player is thinking.  How are they ‘ready to perform’?

Then today, on my way to work, I looked around me at my fellow rail passengers as we passed through several tunnels on the journey.  I wondered how they were preparing themselves to perform at work today – if at all…

In my role as a coach, facilitator and consultant I often am preparing myself for meetings, purposeful conversations, and presentations.  I’ve always likened the few moments I take before the event ‘kicks off’ to waiting ‘in the tunnel’.

Here are some of the questions to cover off when you’re going to work so that you can be ready to perform each day:

  • What’s my Goal? – what do I want to have achieved by the end of today and how does that fit in with my next set of goals for the week, month, year, career etc?
  • What do my team mates expect of me? What do I need to do well in order to be a great colleague and contribute to the collective results?
  • How do I fit in with the strategy for the team or organisation? What contribution does my role make to our results?
  • Am I ready to adapt if necessary?  What if we need to change formation to improve our competitiveness?
  • How can I be a great role model?  I might have a junior colleague who is in awe of me or looks up to me – how does my behaviour influence them?
  • What’s my leadership role?  I might not be the official team captain but when do I need to lead?
  • What make me proud to wear the badge? What significance do I place on who I work for and what I do?
  • What do I want people to notice and say about my performance?  We might not have the eyes of our fans and the media on us, but how do we want to be talked about by our managers and executives?

I wonder what difference it would make to the performance, engagement and results if each of my fellow commuters considered these questions on their way to work.  It would certainly be productive use of time while waiting in a tunnel!

At Change Formation, we specialise in asking the questions that generate peak performance.  If you’re looking to boost performance for yourself or in your organisation, call us on +44 (0) 7840 323585 or email Rob at


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