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Achieving Peak Performance

Achieving Peak Performance

The framework for achieving Peak Performance in business has been built on Sports Logic. The harder we work, the more we push ourselves and burn the midnight oil to get the ball across the end zone or in the hoop; the better we will do. In sports and in any domain where peak performance is desired we have been taught to sacrifice our body and our health, in order to win. It’s no different in industry. We are told from an early age to push ourselves to the limit, to compete on every level, the jobs we try for include the sentiment “must be able to work under pressure”. However when we live our lives and operate at work like every day is a race against time; the pressure on our body, heart and nervous system breaks down our resilience, our perspective and our ability to sustain peak performance.

Common Mantras of competitive organizations are endure, force, intimidate & dominate. When this way of being is celebrated in business the movement towards presence, compassion, engagement and innovation is thwarted. What’s considered effective in business through roughing it out and toughing it out leads to reactive behavior, personality conflicts and overall dissatisfaction in the workplace. The stress of navigating entrenched behaviors, operational breakdowns and seemly daily or weekly organizational crisis is what leads to good people to leave less than thriving teams.

On the contrary, all data on high achieving organizations collectively points to a healthy culture as the catalyst for long term sustained peak performance. When people work in a culture that is intentional and healthy they are naturally more grounded, secure, aligned, and present. Leaders committed to shaping and leading a peak performing organization must begin with laying the foundation for sustainable performance to happen.

It begins with understanding what people need to posses to even be interested in operating at peak and continues with a deep understanding of what people need at work to align their efforts and behaviors with the big picture.

Leaders need to understand the need to couple people and the work they do at work to the noble cause of the enterprise. It’s ultimately the responsibility of the executive team to set a course of action that requires that everybody on the team wants to serve the same noble cause and shows up with the passion, discipline, behaviors and skill to make it happen.

Peak Performers Are in High Demand.

Peak performers are highly sought after in todays world.

Every leader asks for this level of performance in their hiring criteria yet rarely experiences this level of output from each member of their team.

Why is this the case? The answer is simple but not easy.

Hire the right person for the right role for the right reasons. Given the amount of time it takes for someone to achieve and sustain peak in a chosen field, it makes sense that the right reasons are uncovered in the hiring process and nourished on the job.

The challenge to attracting and retaining these peak state people is in creating an intentional, healthy, growth mindset culture where these types of employees feel they can thrive. Make no mistake about it; people who are easy to work with, deliver better than was asked for, take initiative to improve the environment and processes of where they work and take 100% responsibility for their experience and impact at work are in high demand. These are hallmarks of people who live and work in a peak state. These model employees also have more choices than their less interested in being in a peak state colleagues and also demand more from the organization a result. They want more space and freedom to create, more flexibility in where and how they work, they want continual growth and development both personally and professionally. They want shared leadership, as well as a meaningful and maybe even fun work experience.

Every leader asks for this level of performance in their hiring criteria yet rarely experiences this level of output from each member of their team.

Peak Performance and Growth Mindset

Yet you can create an organizational culture where peak performance is the standard and not the exception.

There is strong evidence that the way to generate peak performance from the collective is to create the space and conditions for the growth mindset in your company.

And what I mean by fostering a growth mindset is not just fostering a growth mindset where people are going to learn a new way of doing business, or learn how to be an ambidextrous organization, but fostering a growth mindset is about fostering a deep sense of internal curiosity in people about themselves and their experiences of work.

When individuals, groups and organizations are curious about the dynamic of the self at work they are more awake and more aware to who they are being and how they operate at work. When people show up for the right reasons and already have a healthy internal foundation to work from, and they experience an organizational culture of getting better all the time; they have regular access to explore their internal curiosity at and about work. This continual exploration of improving offers human beings a unique opportunity to tap into their intrinsic motivations, intuition and instincts. The benefit of this as a way of operating is people develop better decision making skills, gain stronger connections to the what and why of internal and team disciplines and expand their capacity to know how to do the right thing in service of achieving the noble cause.

Peak Performance Can’t be Mandated.

Human beings who are connected to their higher purpose and lean in to the discipline required to be a peak performer they are connected to the energy of fulfillment.

These people are more likely to be in sync with their mind, their heart and their gut. When they’re connected to the three internal power sources, sustained peak performance is possible.

And when they’re more in sync with their head, their heart and their gut, they naturally make better personal and professional decisions. And when they’re more in sync with their head, their heart and their gut, and they’re making better decisions; they make those decisions in service the highest and best interests of not just themselves, but in for their workplace community. When people are awake and aware to what is, they see their impact on the collective and are simply said more “mindful” in their approach to work.

So the connection between an individuals power source and peak performance in every domain is proven.

The Doorway to Peak Performance

All Leaders need to make time to recharge the leader within, connect ourselves to our bigger why and recalibrate to what’s next, on a regular basis.

Beyond recalibrating and bringing ourselves into alignment Peak performance demands that we strengthen our relationship to personal accountability, personal responsibility and personal integrity. Educational Programs designed for reflection, curiosity and alignment empower us to get in alignment and operate in a peak state.

We need to do this for ourselves and invite our team members to take personal responsibility for their recalibration as well. This type of process is actually a staple of Peak Performers. This is why centers like Canyon Ranch, Esalen and the like, exist.

When we take the time to recalibrate and align ourselves with our passion & our purpose; we naturally bring our selves into alignment and when we do this our performance in every domain of life improves.


Margaret "Magi" Graziano is the founder and CEO of KeenAlignment, named an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America and author of the book “Ignite Culture: Empowering and Leading a Healthy, High-Performance Organization from the Inside Out”. She lives and breathes culture. With contagious energy and undeniable candor, Magi has helped hundreds of companies build intentional, healthy, high-performance organizational cultures. Named one of Silicon Valley's Top 100 Influential Women in Business, Magi has more than 20 years of experience and is a pioneer in the conscious leadership and cultural alignment movements. Magi's groundbreaking work is driven by her passion to ignite human potential at work.

You may also contact Margaret at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule her for speaking or leadership engagements.


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