Raise Your Game: Improving Performance

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By Keynote Speaker Alan Stein, Jr.

As a successful author, business owner, and veteran basketball performance coach, Alan Stein Jr. spent over 15 years working with the highest-performing athletes in the world, including NBA superstar Kevin Durant. He now speaks to businesses and organizations to help them develop championship-level performance, cohesion, and accountability. Here are just a few of his thoughts he shared:

People can copy you…but they can’t copy who you are

We talked about the importance of connections, and how those connections are the way that we distinguish ourselves from our competition. “Every time you interact with someone you have an opportunity to strengthen a connection,” said Stein. Forging deeper connections requires being open, honest and empathetic with the person you’re interacting with—meeting people where they are and sincerely demonstrating that you value and care about them.

How do you demonstrate value and connection?

First, you could be more like Steve Nash (a former NBA player who was an eight-time NBA All-Star and is now the general manager for the Phoenix Suns), who is known for giving his players high-fives, fist-bumps and pats on the back during the game (as many as 239 high-fives in one game!). Studies have shown that touch predicts performance through fostering cooperation between teammates. Or, you could practice better active listening using the “list back” tool. This involves waiting for an appropriate break in a conversation when you then list back what they said using similar language to what they used. This paraphrasing then affirms to the other person that you were listening, and that you value what they said.

Creating Your “Secret Sauce”

Every morning when you wake up, put 10 rubber bands on your left wrist. Every time you give an “assist” (you’ve done something that adds value to someone’s life—like a co-worker or a customer), take one rubber band and move it from your left to your right wrist. You can’t go home until you help 10 people…all with an eye to forging better, more caring relationships with those around you.

Be where your feet are

Where we choose to focus our attention shows what we value and what we care about. Therefore, we must develop the vital skill of giving someone or something our undivided attention, which can be challenging in our digitally distracted world. Stein coached us on the importance of living in the present moment, which will make you more connected, productive and influential.

Here are his Three Keys to Living Present:

  • Focus on the next play—the next play is the only play where you can still have an effect. There is no sense in getting distracted by the past or anxious about the future, just focus on what’s right in front of you.
  • Focus on what is controllable—all you control is your own effort and attitude. So even when you are offered advice, you get to decide what feedback serves you and what moves you forward.
  • Focus on the process—focus on the bricks, not the wall. If you have discipline and focus on each individual micro-step, the result will be successful.

In the end, do more of what works and less of what doesn’t! By aiming for excellence in every area of your life and keeping your eye on the basics, you’ll raise your performance and enhance your ability to positively influence those you manage.