• Toby Sinclair

High Performance by Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes | Book Summary

Updated: Dec 13, 2021


High Performance Jake Humphrey Damian Hughes Book Summary

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⭐ Toby's Rating: 9/10 - Recommended For: Leaders and Managers


3 Big Ideas from High Performance 💡


High Performance by Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes Lessons from the best on becoming your best


  1. The route to high performance is through your strengths.

  2. High performers are consistent. They have a handful of non-negotiable trademark behaviours – and they stick to them.

  3. If you want to build a successful organisation, you need to make your teammates care about what you’re doing. A high performance team is a committed team.


2 Best Quotes from High Performance by Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes 💬


High Performance is:

Doing the best you can, where you are, with what you have got.

Phil Neville


Becoming a high performer requires change. And change is scary. You need to be brave.

Tobys Top Takeaway


What is your definition of High Performance?


You will learn from Jake and Damian's book there is no single definition. However, there are common behaviours all high performers adopt. These can be summarised as trademark behaviours. A trademark behaviour is one that you commit to unequivocally. When a situation gets tough and everything else disintegrates, these trademark behaviours remain in place. Your commitment to these behaviours, through thick and thin, makes for high performance.


High Performance is packed full of great stories and examples. It's also backed up with the science of performance.


My takeaway: Identify your trademark behaviours. Design your environment to make these the natural and obvious things to do, in high-pressure moments.


Buy High Performance on Amazon

 

Big Ideas Expanded 💡


High Performance Principles:

  1. Take Responsibility

  2. Get Motivated

  3. Manage Your Emotions

  4. Play to Your Strengths

  5. Get Flexible

  6. Find Your Non-Negotiables

  7. Lead the Team

  8. Craft a Culture


There are many definitions of High Performance throughout. There is one definition that Jake and Damian share as their favourite:

High Performance is:

Doing the best you can, where you are, with what you have got.

Phil Neville


High Performance Definition

What is your definition of High Performance?


 

Take Responsibility


Arsène Wenger approached me one day in training. He asked me, ‘Why are you not yet world class?’ I asked him who was, and he initially said nothing – simply pointed across the pitch at Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera. ‘They,’ he said, ‘are the standard you should be at.’ I was stunned. ‘How do I get there? What do you suggest?’ I asked. ‘That,’ he said, ‘is for you to work out.’

Robin Van Persie

When we go through hell, it’s human to look for someone to blame. But blame is useless. All that matters is how we respond. The best performers quickly separate the things that happen to them from their responsibility to react in the most effective way. People who believe they control their fate consistently fare better in life. If you believe you’re in control of your life, you’re more likely to actually end up in control.


This can be summarised into the Responsibility Equation:

L + R = O (Life + Response = Outcome)


A good self-coaching technique is the Zander Letter.

I wasn’t satisfied, I wasn’t happy. It was going OK, but not good enough. So I started to write a letter to myself about what I wanted to achieve at the end of my career, and how I was going to take responsibility to achieve it.

Robin van Persie


Write yourself a letter dated twelve months from now. This letter should begin with ‘Dear [Your name here]’, and should detail how, precisely, you achieved a goal that you currently have. This visualisation of your success should not include any future tense. Phrases like ‘I hope’, ‘I plan to’ or ‘I will’ are not allowed. Instead, write the letter as if those accomplishments are all history, and that you’re looking back at them from a distance. Be as detailed as possible, and identify the practical steps you took, and the decisions that you alone were responsible for.


Learn more about this coaching technique: Zander Letter

It doesn’t matter how big or small the tasks are. It is about following the process – controlling the things I can.

Tom Daley


 

Get Motivated


It has been a place that has provided me with direction, purpose, a sense of family, home and belonging; and ultimately a community that I was so proud to represent every time I got a chance to play.

Dylan Hartley on Belonging


While material rewards and social status can drive motivation in the short term, they’re rare enough in the long run. True motivation comes from within.


Internal motivation comes from three sources:

  • Autonomy: When your behaviour aligns with your values, it’s easier to get excited about it.

  • Competence: We are most motivated when we have control over what we’re doing.

  • Belonging: When we feel part of something bigger than ourselves – like a team – we can sustain our motivation for longer.


Motivation is a spectrum:

Motivation Spectrum

Source: https://www.whatsnext.com/what-is-motivation

 

Manage Your Emotions

Whenever you’re faced with a task, on a subconscious level you’re grappling with three big factors.


  1. Demands: What is required of me to do this job? How hard is it?

  2. Ability: Do I actually have the skills to pull the job? How does it correspond with the things I’m good (and bad) at?

  3. Consequences: What is actually at stake here? What would getting (or not getting) the job mean for the rest of my life?

We are most likely to remain calm when the demands are low, our ability is high and the consequences are not too significant.


 

Play To Your Strengths

High performance means absolute engagement. You’re either fully attentive and engaged, or you’re not.

Jonny Wilkinson


Your child earns the following grades:

  • English: A

  • Social Studies: A

  • Biology: C

  • Algebra: F

  • Maths: C

  • French: B

Is there a grade that immediately jumps out at you?

Most people focus on the weakest results and underemphasize the strengths.


High Performers focus on their strengths. They use these to improve their weaknesses.


[My coach]... reminded me that what I already had within me was what I needed to win.

Dina Asher-Smith

 

Get Flexible

High Performance is:


It’s about giving people belief. Just having someone saying, Come on, you can do this.

Ben Ainslie


Candle Problem

Source: https://www.humorthatworks.com/benefits/improve-problem-solving-by-laughing-more/


Duncker’s famous experiment


He gave a group of students a box of pins, a candle and a matchbook – and told them to find a way to attach the candle to the wall. They were stumped. Some of them attempted to melt the candle to the wall; others experimented with pushing the drawing pins through the wax into the wall, with little success. In fact, there was a simple way to solve the problem: tack the box to the wall and put the candle inside it. But very few of the participants thought to do so. Why? Duncker thought the answer lay in what he called ‘functional fixedness’. When we see an object, we become fixated on its main function – in this case, the box was holding pins, and so nobody thought that it could hold a candle. This limits our ability to think critically about what is possible.


Functional fixedness is not limited to boxes and candles. The term refers to the myriad ways our problem-solving can get stuck: we become wedded to one way of resolving an issue, and can’t imagine any alternatives.


Another example of functional fixedness:


You have baked a beautiful chocolate cake that you want to divide into eight equal pieces. The snag is that the knife you are using is unreliable – it will snap after you use it just three times. How do you slice the cake into eight equal pieces with just three cuts? If you’re like most people, you probably first cut the cake in half vertically, then you’ll cut it in half horizontally. Then you’ll start making a third cut diagonally, before realising that this only makes six slices of cake, not all the same size. So, what do you do? You might start plotting to cut some irregular looking cake slices, but remember, the rule is that all the pieces have to be equal. The solution, cut the cake into four pieces then slice through the side all the way through. Functional fixedness traps you into thinking the only way to cut the cake is from the top, not through the side.

Every time high performers encounter a problem, they try to see it as if for the first time.

I didn’t prove anyone wrong. I proved myself right.

Kasper Schmeichel


 

Find Your Non-Negotiables

High performers are consistent. They have a handful of non-negotiable trademark behaviours – and they stick to them.


A trademark behaviour is one that you commit to unequivocally. When a situation gets tough and everything else disintegrates, these trademark behaviours remain in place. Your commitment to these behaviours, through thick and thin, makes for high performance.


Consistency turns one-time high performers into all-time high performers. The only way to win is through consistency. Consistent messages, consistent behaviours and consistent consequences.


The stronger the organisation, the better they do the real simple, basic things.

Shaun Wane


High-performing groups not only set goals related to outcomes – hitting a sales target or winning over a client – they set goals related to behaviours, like turning up on time or dressing smartly. If a team aimed to exhibit a consistent set of behaviours, it was significantly more likely to perform well. Non-negotiables are the route to excellence.


Trademark Behaviours are:

  1. Simple

  2. Impactful

  3. Clear

The most important behaviours are those that matter in the most intense moments. We can work out our trademark behaviours by asking: When the going gets tough, what is going to make the difference?


Your trademark behaviours should constantly be at the forefront of your mind. They are the simple, crucial, clear rules for what you do – and who you are.


 

Lead The Team

No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.

Reid Hoffman


Well-run teams of low performers consistently do better work than badly run teams of high performers.

Good leaders rarely command and control. Instead, they set a group’s direction – and trust their team to deliver the goods.

Non Negotiable Behaviours at Burnley FC:

  • Noses point in the same direction

  • The minimum requirement is maximum effort

  • Give us your legs, hearts and minds


Leadership is about fostering an environment in which people feel empowered – so that other leaders crop up all around you.

We often assume that leading is about controlling every element of an organisation. But it’s not.


Leadership is a process of collaboration, not instruction.


Leadership is a process of collaboration, not instruction.

 

Craft a Culture


How was it that a team of apparently less talented people can do better than a team of ‘stars’?


The answer lay in the power of commitment. In commitment cultures, everyone is on board with what the company is doing, and everyone had a shared set of values and goals. Everyone works harder.


If you want to build a successful organisation, you need to make your teammates care about what you’re doing. A high performance team is a committed team.


A high performance team is a committed team.

A story about three men who were laying bricks:

Each was asked what he was doing. The first said, ‘Laying bricks.’ The second said, ‘Earning £10 per hour.’ The third said, ‘I’m building a cathedral and, one day, I’ll bring my kids back here and tell them that their dad contributed to this magnificent building.’

Alex Ferguson

To build a sense of commitment, you need a team to be able to answer a simple question: why?


When a team’s members know why they’re doing something, beyond mere personal gain, they perform at a higher level.


When we asked Eddie Jones what fuelled his relentless drive, his answer was short and succinct: ‘I want to coach the perfect game.’


Build a commitment culture through the power of emotional connection.

You’ll meet each other in the street in thirty years’ time, and there’ll just be that look, and you’ll know just how special some days in your life are.

Ian McGeechan, King’s Park, Durban, South Africa, June 1997


When members of a team understand each other’s emotions, they work together better. They know how to cooperate. They feel more motivated. They remain more committed to the culture in the long term.


I always felt my job was to help people be better than they believe.

Kevin Sinfield

Questions to assess Psychological Safety:

  • If I make a mistake on my team, do I feel it’s held against me?

  • Are my colleagues able to bring up problems and tough issues?

  • Is it safe to take a risk?

  • Is it difficult to ask other members of this team for help?

  • When I am working with colleagues, do I feel my unique skills and talents are valued and used?