Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz argue that to sustain a successful approach to sustained high performance you must consider the person as a whole. Which includes the physical level, emotional capacity, mental capacity and the spiritual capacity.

What makes some people flourish under pressure and others fold. The authors say they have come up with partial answers:”rich material rewards, the right culture, management by objectives”. What they believe is the problem with most approaches is that they deal with people only from the neck up, connecting high performance primarily with cognitive capacity.

Loehr et al say:” to gain sustained high performance this is one quality that executives seek for themselves and their employees in the face of ever-increasing pressure and rapid change”.

The authors theory of pulling together all of the elements mentioned above, makes us see the person as a whole. Their integrated theory of performance management addresses the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit. They call this hierarchy the performance pyramid. Each of the levels profoundly influences the others, and failure to address any one of them compromises performance.

They have experience from working with world-class athletes. Later they developed a more comprehensive version of these techniques for executives facing unprecedented demands in the workplace, and they realized these executives as “corporate athletes”. What they aim to do is to help executives build their capacity for what might be called “supportive or secondary competencies, among them endurance, strenght, flexibility, self-control, and focus”.

As mentioned the High- Performance-Pyramid consists of four building blocks:Physical Capacity, Mental Capacity, Emotional Capacity and Spiritual Capacity.

The training process start at the physical level, “because the body is our fundamental source of energy – the foundation of the performance pyramid.

The next building block of IPS (Ideal Performance State) is emotional capacity. “Just as positive emotions ignite the energy that drives high performance, negative emotions – frustration, impatience, anger, fear, resentment, and sadness – drain energy. Over time, these feelings can be literally toxic”.

Mental capacity “is the third level of the performance pyramid – the cognitive – is where most traditional performance enhancement training is aimed”. The authors when talking about focus, it means energy concentrated in the service of a particular goal. Their training aims to enhance their clients: cognitive capacities – most notably their focus, time management, and positive – and critical – thinking skills.

By spiritual capacity the writers point out that it simply means “the energy that is unleashed by trapping into ones deepest values and defining a strong sense of purpose”.

In their conclusion Loehr et al say:”companies can’t afford to address their employees cognitive capacities while ignoring their physical, emotional and spiritual well – being”.

At the end an explanation of IPS (Ideal Performance State): “Increasing capacity at all levels allows athletes and executives alike to bring their talents and skills to full ignition and to sustain high performance over time”.

We must consider  the person as a whole.

Inger Lise E. Greger, MSc. Change Management 

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