40-Day Business Leadership Peak Performance Programme Day 1: Stop Start Continue

Welcome to Day 1! And we’re away.

Peak performers are aware of what’s happening.

But what is awareness? Awareness  – clinically has two components – situational and response awareness.

Situational awareness means you know what’s happening around you. Right now as I’m typing is 6am, dead quite, pitch black and about minus 4 degrees. I’m feeling thirsty. Andone of the dogs is growling.

Response awareness is you know how you feel about what’s happening.  I’m annoyed at the dog because he’s going to wake up the house.

Good leaders combine those two aspects effectively. They are aware f what’;s happening and how they feel about what;’s happening. And on that basis of those two elements they tend to make more resourceful decisions – sooner and better. They also trust that they will respond appropriately – they say and do what they know they need to say and do – as and when needed. And that’s what I have observed highly effective leaders do especially under pressure.

So this programme is designed to improve your situational and response awareness; and develop self-trust. It’s not designed to tell you what to think but how to think. You will get some very useful tools that will enhance your ability to think on your feet.

Over the next 40 days I will introduce you to a variety of proven peak performance tools. Of course you do not have to use all of them. Think of it like a toolbox. You’ve got a whole bunch of tools in there but you won’t always use every tool all the time. You have a favourite tool like a screwdriver or hammer that you try and use on most jobs but special tools for special jobs.

So going on the past successes, I think you will find one or two tools in this programme that feel just right for you. If that happens then you have received more than enough value.

So, before we start lets cover a some basic coaching theory.

The only reason you have a coach is because you want something. There’s usually something you want and something you don’t want. So the need for change is indicated.

What you’ve got now is called State A or the problem or presenting state.  The thing you do want we call State B or the ideal, preferred or target state.  And moving from State A to State B is actually a transformation. You are looking to transform from what you have now … to something you prefer even better.

So let’s check this out straight away.

  • What do you know you want to, need to or have to change either personally and professionally? What has to change?
  • What could be even better?
  • What’s not working as well as it should?
  • Where do you need to take some action?
  • What are your top three problems?
  • What don’t you want right now?
  • What isn’t working?

Don’t read any further until you’ve got at least one thing in mind. It would be highly unusual for anyone to not have a least one thing they need to change for the better. Got something?

Whenever you are aware of a problem there is always an ideal. You might have to consider what that is. You might need to flip what you don’t want to identify what you do want. But look for it because it’s always there.

For example, if you break your arm – obviously, the problem is a broken arm. And obviously the ideal is your arm is mended. The thing people often find the hardest is going from problem to ideal especially on more complex problems. A broken arm is straightforward. Invariably the transition requires exerted change and action.

Taking action is always about changing something – going from a problem state … to the ideal state. Going from what you have now … to what you want instead. (Later we will chat about what stops you from making that transition.)

Technically, there are only three key ways to change anything – for success. They are:

  • You have to STOP doing something (called cessation)
  • You have to START doing something (called acquisition)
  • You need to CONTINUE doing things that are working (called maintenance).

It’s easy to see how it works with a couple of examples:

David likes to take new clients to lunch and he always has a large meal and several beers. It was no coincidence that he is concerned about being overweight. So, what does David have to STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing for success?

He needs to STOP taking clients out for lunch or STOP eating large meals chased down by several beers. He needs to START eating smaller portions, or exercising. Maybe he needs to START with a personal trainer. And if he notices he is losing weight, he needs to CONTINUE with that program. Agree?

(You’re best thinking is just as good as mine, so in this programme learn to rely on your own judgement. I have an opinion, but what do you think. Always stop and do your own thinking. Otherwise you will get into the habit of letting me to give you the answers. You need to check if you do this in life.)

Here’s another example: Kevin gets frustrated with his junior staff and starts yelling at them.

What does he need to STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing? Take a few moments to think it through. Once again, you’re ideas are as a good as mine.

One more: A lot of Ron’s customers are often late paying their invoices/bills on time. What does he need to STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing?

Here’s the key. It always starts with the awareness of a frustration or a problem. The frustration and problem is your coaching target. If something’s bothering you then try the STOP, START and CONTINUE tool.

Here’s a key point.

It is naïve to expect you will not have problems. Problems are normal. What’s important is your ability to recognise problems and handle them sooner.

Coaching is often about helping you to handle problems sooner and more effectively.

Obviously, if you fail to recognise something as a problem, then that might be the problem. David likes good food and dining out so – conveniently – he might not want to see that good food and fine dining are linked to being overweight.  Right now he likes eating more than being morbidly obese. Sometimes we meet clients who are so used to their problems, that they think what they are experiencing is ‘normal’.

For example, take Ron. Ron’s customers don’t pay their bills on time. In fact, on average his typical customer takes 120 days to pay their bill! Ron has a debtor days problem. This means if Ron gives a customer an invoice on January 1st, they pay it around May 1! This has resulted in a huge cash flow problem. You need money to run a business. Ron solves that problem by increasing his bank overdraft which he then pays fees, charges and interest on.

The problem is Ron is not dealing with the real problem: his willingness to confront late paying customers.

He puts up with late paying customers because he’s scared if he says anything, they will go somewhere else. He will lose them as a customer. So now Ron has a great excuse for letting his late paying customers pay late. So it seems he has a great excuse for doing nothing. You need to be on the look out for great excuses that lock you into patterns of behaviour you don’t like or behaviours that aren’t good for you.

Think about it. Everyone has an obvious story like Ron or David.



Every day has a small and easy activity or homework component. Nothing onerous – maybe a few extra minutes of think-time. Let’s jump straight into today’s homework.

So now, its time to turn the spotlight on you.

I want you to think of a small problem – and I mean something small, benign – that’s obvious to you right now. Got one? Ask yourself:

  • What do I need to STOP doing?
  • What do I need to START doing? And;
  • What do I need to CONTINUE doing

See how you go with this first activity and I’ll see you tomorrow.

If you’ve got several more minutes here’s a useful podcast.


Andrew Priestley is a qualified business leadership coach with clients worldwide. He is the author of The Money Chimp, Starting and How Money Flows Through Your Business. You can contact him through www.andrewpriestley.com

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It goes without saying that this is for information only and The Author  cannot be held responsible for any losses or damages that occur as a result of reading this material.

© 2017 Andrew Priestley/TCE Ltd

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