High Performance CEO Energy

High Performance CEO Energy

High Performance CEO Energy

High Performance CEO Energy

By Craig Johns

Is it a badge of honour in your workplace to work non-stop, be the first one in the office, the last to leave and be answering emails while on holiday?

In your industry is it cool to be pumped up on caffeine, get an average of 4-5 hours’ sleep a night, have the most billable hours, and be out socialising with clients and colleagues most nights of the week?

For most, you will know that if you keep up this frenetic pace you will at some point burnout, get sick, hate what you do and maybe even lose something as precious as your marriage. However, you keep repeating that ‘next week or ‘next month’ you will take better care of yourself, but we all know that someday is unlikely to happen anytime soon, if ever, and is more likely to happen when you reach a point that is too late to recover from losing things that are most important to you.

One day you will wake up and feel utterly miserable, exhausted and hating your life. You are highly likely do something spontaneous that is out of character and possibly you will regret. When you get to this point, it is not your mind and body that has let you down, it is the CHOICES you have made. Choices that you have had total control over.


If you are caught in this downward spiral, hopefully you get to the point where you say ‘I don’t want this anymore’, ‘I don’t want to be stuck on this emotional roller-coaster’, or ‘when my ENERGY is dipping, I can’t control it’. So, how do you expect to be taking everyone to a higher level when you are feeling at such a low point?

Companies and their staff set KPI’s around sales, profit, growth and in some cases, industry rankings. They want to achieve new standards, reach new heights, produce something that no one else has before and become successful. They desire high PERFORMANCE, but most act like complete beginners and are in fact are delivering an amateur environment every day that is destined for personal failure’s and in some cases company catastrophes, that are totally preventable.


World class Performers, musicians, artists, speakers and especially athletes do not get to be at the top of the world by living in a life of constant stress, exhausted ENERGY stores, lack of sleep, ENERGY-sapping hours and pointless activities that have a negative effect. They establish goals, set out a plan to achieve them, and develop strategies that deliver high productivity, enhanced ENERGY reserves, adequate recovery and rejuvenation, vibrant relationships, and PERFORM with positive mental, emotional and physical vibrancy.

You need high levels of ENERGY every single day if you want to deliver high levels of PERFORMANCE. It doesn’t matter what you have achieved by natural talent, pure luck or just doing more hours than anyone else, if you are constantly withdrawing from your ENERGY reserves, the quality you produce will begin to diminish overtime and you will not reach your optimum potential.


As a CEO, business owner or an important leader, you require as much ENERGY as a high performing athlete. So why do so many neglect vital aspects such as fitness, nutrition and recovery as part of their daily HABITs as they desire to be successful? Is it because it is a challenge to directly measure physical, emotional and mental PERFORMANCE in the workplace compared to say an athlete, musician, artist where PERFORMANCE is out there in a vulnerable environment for everyone to see both the delivery of and the final result?

High ENERGY levels positively correlate with assertiveness, speaking up for yourself and taking actions toward reaching their dreams. It produces higher levels of creativity, people are more likely to deliver innovation, and come up with new ideas. Educational attainment and the pursuit of higher levels of understanding also positively correlate with high ENERGY levels.

If you have more ENERGY you have greater levels of confidence, self-esteem, happiness and are more likely to tackle bigger challenges. Mental alertness and positive emotions are enhanced, and you are more inclined to eat healthier and lose weight easier. A person with higher ENERGY levels exudes confidence, positive demeanour and a positiveness that enhances the likelihood of people believing in you, buy from you, following you and supporting you.


Low ENERGY levels affect your ability to deliver high PERFORMANCEs and filters through all aspects of your life. People with low ENERGY levels tend to experience their mind feeling slow and foggy, they often feel physically exhausted, and they feel a lot of negative ENERGY and emotions. Low ENERGY correlates with low PERFORMANCE, unhappiness, lack of enthusiasm to take on challenges, lower perception of success versus their peers, lower confidence when facing adversity, less likely to eat well or exercise and have less influence over others.

Disaster strikes when people neglect their ENERGY while building their career. Focusing on developing positive ENERGY needs to be a HABIT developed at the beginning or at least the early part of your career. The last thing we need is a CEO, business owner or leader to turn into a stress monster, destroying their beautiful marriage, and causing significant financial losses because of constant low ENERGY levels.


CEO’s, business owners and leaders tend to have higher levels of ENERGY that are significantly higher than managers, entry level workers or interns. This is probably due to the stakes and challenges being much higher and every decision has a major effect on how your PERFORMANCEs are perceived. It takes about the same level of ENERGY as a professional athlete, so you must care about your ENERGY as much as one. The more ENERGY you have the more likely you are to be happy and be determined to climb to the top of your primary field of interest.

To improve your ENERGY levels, you need to develop effective daily HABITs that include exercise, healthy balanced nutrition, recovery periods during the day as well as adequate sleep at night, the ability to switch off work, and spend quality ‘on’ time with your family and friends.


It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link


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Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong?

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong?

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong?

It has been reported that “81% of people lie or bend the truth in their resumes and when being interviewed”. (Schwantes, Unknown) Candidates can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk?

Are you tired of sifting through resumes and conducting tireless interviews only to find out 2 weeks after hiring someone that they are the wrong fit?

When we are recruiting someone to fill a role in our company or team we are looking for the best available talent. So are our processes actually identifying talents or are we just testing how good people can write a resume, interview and tell stories?


What do sports coaches, dance company’s, symphony orchestra’s, music labels and art galleries have in common when they are recruiting new people?

They conduct auditions and trials.

How do builders, plumbers and other craftsman recruit people?

They conduct apprenticeships.

So, why don’t companies and teams place potential employees through real-life situations, such as auditions or apprenticeships, when recruiting?

Let’s take a look at how you can reduce the opportunity to hire a talker rather than a walker.

When recruiting, we need to be able to assess the following:

  • Behavioural characteristics
  • Skill level
  • Values compatibility
  • Team cohesion
  • Complimentary skills to improve team performance

Audition’s, trials and apprenticeships allow you to test the candidate’s ability to perform the kinds of tasks that they are likely to tackle in a typical day. They allow you to view multiple skills, see how they work, how they prioritise, what they do when faced with challenges and you can interact with them in a work situation. It is a great way to safeguard your company or team against those who are good at bluffing their way through a situation or interview. (Smyth, Unknown)

Auditions need to be appropriate to the role recruiting for. If you are recruiting for a role that requires a lot of collaboration and management, then it might be more useful to bring all key candidates into the same room and set a group puzzle solving task. Whereas if you are recruiting for a role like a journalist, you could set them a highly technical brief and observe how they tackle challenge in a role-playing type situation.

In a group audition, try placing the candidates into groups of 4-6 people, provide them with a puzzle, and then sit back and enjoy. You will see their personalities shine through as they will naturally showcase their leadership, teamwork, working style and coping ability. At the end get them to present to the other group/s and then provide an opportunity for the group/s to provide feedback on the project and the process they went through to solve the puzzle.


Conducting a group audition allows you to reduce the total time of the recruitment process. It also provides observations on how people react in unique, awkward and pressure situations.

If you are completing individual auditions, then you need to establish an efficient process, to ensure that you get the best value for your time. Role-playing is a great way to achieve this. It gives you the opportunity to test both technical and soft skills. You get to explore the candidate’s ability to analyse, solve puzzles, think critically and present.

The audition process allows you to reduce the element of risk. You can really hone in on the skills you are looking for rather than trying to decipher through the candidates reflection of previous stories or even making up an answer. (Smyth, Unknown)

Interviews can deceive your analysis of a candidate’s performance potential. For many people, the interview process takes them into an unnaturally uncomfortable position. This may affect their non-verbal cues such as eye contact, handshake strength and ability to control nerves. You need to make sure your judgement is based on the actual skills required in the role they are applying for rather than the “first impression” soft skills. (Smyth, Unknown)


It is valuable to develop a meaningful measuring system to ensure all aspects of the audition are analysed effectively. You need to accurately measure and score against the skills required in the role. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the audition is based on simulations or every day work rather than a once in a lifetime crisis-type event. (Smyth, Unknown)

Some other ways to effectively assess your candidates (Lipsey, 2017; Musser, 2017):

  • Two-step role playing – Challenge their reflection & response to feedback
  • Creativity tests – Observe how candidates navigate the unexpected
  • Feedback/self Improvement – Assessing the vulnerability of a candidate
  • Paid trial period – Short-term commitment
  • Trial day – Place them into the work environment for a day
  • …athon – Set a task that requires work related skills, open it up to the market and create a competition out of it.

It’s time to find amazing talent, rather than good actors. How are you hiring?


Lipsey, R. F., (2017). Hiring A+ Candidates for Your Start-up How to Sport a Learner. The Huffington Post. Link

Musser, J., (2017). Transforming Interviews into Auditions. Sales Potential. Link

Schwantes, M., (Unknown). The Job Interview Will Soon Be Dead.  Manuseto Ventures, Inc..Link

Smyth, G., (Unknown). Do Audition-Style Interviews Really Work? Seek Insights & Resources Australia. Link


Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link


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What Does It Take To Improve Your Culture


What Does It Take To Improve Your Culture


The culture of a company, organisation or team is the make or break between growth and decline, retention and turnover, and success and failure. Too often we hear comments such as “toxic culture”, “team unrest”, “trouble in the boardroom” and “disorder in the trenches” that disrupt team cohesion, productivity and performance. If you are facing a storm in a teacup, what steps can you take to re-right the ship and ensure that your culture breeds success?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.



First of all, let’s take a look at what culture is. Culture is our:

  1. Shared behaviours and the way we treat each other;
  2. Voices and our actions;
  3. Products and services;
  4. Capacity to learn and transmit knowledge to succeeding generations;
  5. Customers and consumers;
  6. Way of acting and interacting with others;
  7. Combined way of life;
  8. Attitudes, beliefs and philosophies; and
  9. Community and ourselves.

What we do as a leader is ultimately more important than what we say when it comes to culture. In essence, culture is the personality and DNA of the company, organisation or team.

There are, in general, four types of organisational or team culture:

  1. We do things 1st – Our focus is making breakthroughs and creating the future through adhocracy.
  2. We do things fast – We love to compete and want to be the fastest to go to market with a short-term performance focus.
  3. We do things right – Our culture is to make incremental checks, do our homework and control the process through a hierarchical approach.
  4. We do things together – We collaborate and are focused on long-term development in a tribe type environment

“The most important thing about culture is that it is the only sustainable difference for any organisation. Anyone can copy a company’s strategy, but nobody can copy their culture.”



It is important to understand your current culture and what it will look like in the future is the first part of the process to support successful change. Once you understand what the future looks like, from a culture point-of-view, you then need to utilise your collaboration skills to engage your team to commence the implementation phase and begin establishing the cultural behaviours. Finally, you need to coach and mange your team so that it is embedded in the way things are done in your organisation or team.

UNDERSTAND what you want to look like and establish the expectations that are required to get there:

  1. Complete a cultural audit by evaluating your current culture and performance.
  2. Clearly define your initial vision
  3. Develop a new set of expectations by clarifying your values and behaviours

COLLABORATE through teamwork and align your team so a common vision can be achieved.

  1. Identify and clearly articulate your strategic priorities
  2. Bring your team together and engage them in developing and defining your team goals
  3. Focus on your results and build accountability through clarifying and tracking key measures

COACH and manage your team to ensure that culture is cohesively developed and ingrained.

  1. Build a management system that incorporates the cultural drivers, priorities and goals
  2. Guide, manage and communicate your new habits and routines
  3. Celebrate the small wins and build team motivation throughout the process

“A culture of discipline is a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness.”



Changing an organisational or team culture is one of the biggest challenges a leader will face. This is due to a culture comprising an interlocking set of attitudes, processes, roles, goals, values, attitudes, communication and assumptions. It is unique for every organisation and team, and therefore every change requires a unique approach. A leader will need to be prepared to disrupt the organisation or teams deepest values, beliefs and what it holds closest to its heart.

Culture is deeply embedded into every layer of an organisation and requires the leader to question everything to fully understand what aspects are absolutely crucial to extract or mould for a better future. It is constantly evolving over time, although the culture is deeply linked to its history and development.

Important elements to consider when preparing for change:

  1. LISTEN to employees, by giving them a voice
  2. COMMUNICATE through 2-way communication and feedback channels
  3. LEAD by example by seeking, speaking and acting with truth
  4. FEEDBACK on a regular basis to and from employees
  5. COLLABORATE openly rather than in isolation, through encouraging sharing and healthy debates
  6. TRANSPARENCY by leveraging tools to stay on the same page
  7. APPRECIATION with a sustainable reward and recognition program
  8. CHALLENGE and encourage employees to take risks
  9. TEAM approach by creating a supportive environment that cultivates strong co-worker relationships
  10. CARE by showing that people matter
  11. ENJOYMENT in a light-hearted and fun environment
  12. PURPOSE with passion
  13. COMMON language, values and standards
  14. PERSISTANCE and consistency in your approach
  15. FLEXIBILITY by adapting and evolving throughout the process
  16. WORK-LIFE integration and/or balance
  17. EMPOWER employees by providing a sense of freedom and ownership, as well as embracing and inspiring employee autonomy
  18. BOUNDARIES that have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
  19. LEARNING environment through continuous training and development
  20. RECOGNISE and solve, both individual and organisation,  problems  and issues

CASE STUDY: A few real life examples of how I have implemented some of the requirements for change:

LISTEN – We implemented a “pebble in my shoe” segment during our monthly team meeting, which allowed people to openly express things that were living rent-free in their mind.

COLLABORATE – In one organization, we established a 3hour period on Wednesday afternoons for employees to work on creative team projects that were focussed on innovation .

APPRECIATION – Working in hospitality, we had a company-wide manager meeting just before lunch every day, where we recognised at least one employee or team achievement.

ENJOYMENT – Every month we had a staff party, which had a different theme, where each team worked together to create a skit, performance or show.

CARE – At a recent coaching course, the attending coaches wrote a handwritten thank you card that was individualized for every presenter.

PURPOSE – To bring out the passion from our employees we changed our values to philosophies and asked the employees to develop the meaning of each philosophy.

WORK-LIFE – I find I am most effective when I exercise before starting work and then go for a ride or run during lunch time as it provides clarity and reflection to the projects I am working on.  I have encouraged staff to do the same.

The cultural change process will test your full range of leadership skills. You cannot afford to take your attention away from the change process as a drop in momentum can have a negative effect on the cultural change. If you aren’t in the driver’s seat, you have no control over the final destination.

Tune in to next week’s article, which will discuss the leadership attributes of successful change, what a positive workplace looks like and developing a High Performance culture.

“Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organisation is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.”



Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Art Of Communication – Change Series Part 4 Link
Achieving Successful Change – Changes Series Part 3 Link
Change Tantrums – Change Series Part 2 Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link


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