LYNETTE MCFADDEN GOLD BUSINESS OWNER, HARCOURTS AND WELL KNOWN BUSINESSWOMAN
I recently attended a business seminar in Auckland themed around the challenges of performing under pressure. Although I’m not able to share the specific material put forward by the presenters, I am going to recount some of my most significant observations and the takehome tips that evolved from these. The seminar/summit was a collaboration between the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and the New Zealand Athletes Federation. The presenters were internationally recognized elite New Zealand athletes, all of whom were household names and singularly capable of causing a social media storm just by entering the building. This talented group shared their individual stories involving not only their outstanding successes but their soul-destroying failures, and in doing so provided the business attendees with strategies they could apply to their own professional lives. Business and sport share some commonalities. Success in either field requires a toolbox of strategies, specific disciplined behaviors, a strong mental psyche and a healthy dose of curiosity.
Performing under pressure as an athlete, as for anyone in business, is far from easy. The stakes are high and in my own industry they involve people’s biggest asset – their home – and engage their biggest emotional triggers around how they feel about it. This means business relationships that can see you teeter on the cusp of being a lifelong friend or being someone that the client never wants to work with again. The pressure comes from:
• The need to deliver, especially around price, and always around the processes or activities involved to achieve it. At times like listing, auction day, presenting offers or negotiating difficult terms, pressure is always a constant.
• The need to read and anticipate the market at any given time, just as the sportspeople presenting to us had to read the climate, their competitors and their level of fitness to undertake the job. I always do a simple and personal audit every morning to check my own level of ‘match fitness’ to lead our team. • The need to constantly make improvements. Training, be it in sport or
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real estate, is a prerequisite for success and although the basics should always be attended to brilliantly, so to should new methodology be explored. High stakes require high levels of skill and commitment, and although no one at the seminar could count winning a gold medal or a Rugby World Cup among their own achievements (unlike our presenters), we could all dream about – and hope to emulate to a tiny degree – what it takes to perform under pressure and come out on top. So, there you go. As easy as it is to dismiss pressure as a New Age, First World concern, without it even the hope of performing well won’t ignite. Just imagine if Richie as a lad in Kurow, Valerie growing up in South Auckland, Hamish Carter and Mahé Drysdale hadn’t thought to confront pressure. As one of them said on the day, if I had known some of the right strategies earlier, I would have doubled my medals. Get your head around what your own pressure thresholds are and work in a space that lets you be your own champion.
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