In early 2013, we started work on something we called at the time “Optimal Human Performance”. We developed the Optimal Human Performance (OHP) concept to enable organisations to thrive and not just survive in an increasingly VUCA world, and create the optimal environment to take on the challenges of the future.
What is VUCA?
|Volatility||Reflects the speed and turbulence of change.|
|Uncertainty||Means that outcomes, even from familiar actions, are less predicatable.|
|Complexity||Indicates the vastness of interdependencies in globally connected systems.|
|Ambiguity||Conveys the multitude of options and potential outcomes resulting from them.|
We designed OHP to enable leaders to optimize their organisation’s ‘human capability’, either individually or as teams, by taking a holistic and balanced approach to sustainable performance by considering a person’s mind and body capability.
The programme has evolved but was born from the combined experience and approaches taken by elite sports, special forces, record breaking explorers and many of industries highly influential leaders. It employs innovative techniques that enable people to learn faster, be more resilient, and perform at even higher levels. At the heart of OHP is the belief that anything is possible with the right mindset and a willingness to change.
8 dimensions of human performance
OHP identifies 8 dimensions to Human Performance across the MIND and BODY domains.
Figure 1: 8 Dimensions of Human Performance
Psychological fitness is the integration and optimization of mental, emotional and behavioural abilities to optimize and strengthen performance. The MIND domain is about developing an understanding of psychological fitness and how optimal performance at personal, team and organisational levels is achieved through the integration of mental and physical capability. It includes:
Purpose - knowing and believing in the ‘why’ of what we are doing.
Mindset - understanding the critical importance of positive thinking and ability to reframe difficult tasks from a ‘threat’ to a ‘challenge’.
Community - the essence of ‘community’ is developing strong social cohesion that provides the emotional and psychological support that is known to be a force multiplier – the power of a cohesive team.
Effect - delivering effect is about identifying your most important goals and then executing them in the midst of the daily ‘whirlwind’ of life at home as well as work.
Physical fitness refers to the state of being physically healthy, fit, and capable of performing the daily activities required for work and play with ease and efficiency. It includes a combination of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
Physically fit individuals tend to have higher levels of resilience, as they are better equipped to handle physical and mental challenges and are less prone to injury and illness. Additionally, regular exercise and physical activity have been shown to improve mental health and well-being, including reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression and improving cognitive function. It includes:
Exercise – physical activity and structured exercise improves cardiovascular health, builds muscular strength and endurance, enhances flexibility, and supports a healthy body weight.
Nutrition - lays a crucial role providing the body with essential nutrients to support energy levels, muscle function, and overall health.
Sleep - allows the body to recover, repair and recharge as well as support essential brain functions such as memory consolidation, learning and problem-solving.
Environment - provides a supportive and safe space for exercise, work, restful sleep and social connections.
WHERE ARE WE NOW?
Over the last decade we have designed, developed and delivered thousands of hours of human performance training as well as in person development events for dozens of organisations across multiple continents.
Figure 2 : Human Performance Programme Design
We have contributed to research spanning nutritional and pharmacological ergogenic aids to augment physical and cognitive performance, completed development and trials of methods and interventions to monitor and ameliorate fatigue, developed strategies to sustain performance on complex cognitive tasks and identified methods and interventions to improve sleep and reduce fatigue in service personnel.
Figure 3 : Fuelling for the Work in Hand and Chrononutrition
We have developed and proven tools and technology to practically measure Total Load (Cognitive + Physical) to better predict performance failures and improve the selection of appropriate recovery protocols.
Figure 4 : Intelligent Load Optimisation & Recovery Engine (ILOR)
We have created an ever growing knowledge base and library of content available to our coaches and partners making evidence based human performance insights more widely available and easier to apply consistently.
Figure 5 : Resilient Nutrition Publications & Educational Content
Throughout, our core belief has remained consistent:
- Possessing, understanding and applying psychological and physical skills allow a person to be effective, adaptive and tenacious in tackling the challenges they face.
- Recognising that only by utilizing all of a person’s resources, integrating mind and body can optimal performance be achieved.
- We view performance through the lens of unbounded potential, built on health and wellbeing practices that sustain balance, the mental toughness to thrive under pressure, and the thinking skills to deliver winning outcomes.
How do you reach optimum performance?
Having worked with clients across business, the military and emergency services we continue to use the 10 OHP principles to help our clients reach optimum performance.
Use them as you develop your own personal development plan to ensure lasting success.
Understand where you want to be, and where you are, before you start. Identify what the challenge is you are trying to meet and what does the future level of performance look like.
Establish the steps to achieve your SMART objective and use the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle to move towards it. Once identified, select one thing at a time to work on and focus your resources towards strengthening that before moving to the next.
If it doesn’t work, stop doing it. As Einstein said a sign of madness ‘is to continue to do the same thing and expect different results’.
Don’t let your environment control you...take ownership and build mental toughness. You have the freedom to choose your response to any event – do you view uncertainty as a threat or a challenge? Be proactive and take responsibility.
Start small, go slowly, and be patient. Deconstruct what you need to achieve. Set small (so small you can’t say no), realistic goals that are challenging yet achievable. Tackle one thing at a time.
Practice, practice, practice. “Muscle memory” (autonomic thinking) is developed over time for both good and bad habits. Behaviors acquired over years take time, patience, and commitment to change.
Set up an environment that supports your new plan. Creating a system to support new changes may not be easy, but it can be achieved.
Bring in the experts and educate yourself. The world’s best performers have coaches and consultants to assist them in honing their skills and preparing for competition. Find experts who can assist you in your quest for optimal performance.
Maintain situational awareness and have a plan. The only constant is change; establish systems to maintain situational awareness (what is going on around you and understand what will happen next) and develop foresight in both your personal and professional life.
Practice reflective learning and maintain vigilance. Reflection accelerates learning and keeping a journal or a log is a key aspect in a performance improvement programme, especially when aligned to a personal development plan.
If you would like to talk about how the OHP can help your team get in touch with us or download the Resilient Operations brief here.