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This is for anyone who wants to lift his or her game, and something that strikes a chord with a lot of the audiences I talk to.

Taking Malcolm's and your performance from good to great

Peter Switzer
4 August 2016

By Peter Switzer

Gee I hope Malcolm Turnbull gets to read what I write today. It’s constructed to help anyone who wants to lift his or her game and it’s something that strikes a chord with a lot of the audiences I’ve been talking to recently.

You’d have to be a hard taskmaster not to admit that the PM is suffering from what a lot of us struggle with — we are good performers, but we’re not quite great performers.

And I suggest to you that lifting up your results, when you’re good at the top level (such as national leadership) often requires a big change in life.

I always believed Bob Hawke went up a notch as PM when he went off the grog. I don’t know if he did totally, but that was the story that got out in the early days of his Prime Ministership and his performance, simultaneously, looked a lot better.

The history of the ‘outside the square’ performers I’ve interviewed, analysed and deconstructed, might not have been teetotalers but they decided to embrace greatness by being different from the normal person.

Before a recent speech, I googled the words “do inspirational quotes work?” Some great blogs resulted, but mostly they were cynical about them. And I can understand that a calming photo of a beautiful scene of nature, with a suggestion such as “Don’t be afraid to climb mountains”, might be a little too broad, or even annoying, to many.

One anti-fan of inspiration argued life is often too complex and difficult to get much out of these one liners but he did admit to liking the Brits advice to themselves of “Keep calm and carry on.”

For years I have often read one liners. And I’ve often read the books where many of these have come from. A book about how to go about tackling greatness is a little more of a mega-inspiration injection.

I recall my wife, Maureen, who has been a prime mover in the building of our business, being somewhat emotional at the end of that great book by Jim Collins, Good to Great. She was able to relate to many of the business builders in this book and could see where she was being helped by Collins’ education of the reader, as well as his inspirational message.

But like Bob Hawke, she was ready for the inspiration.

Shane Gould, arguably one of the greatest swimmers of all time, credits the recently deceased Forbes Carlisle for her going from ‘good to great’ when her parents moved to Sydney from Queensland. He did change her style, but he also offered a different style of coaching and inspiration that got through to Shane.

But I’d argue that she was also ready to be inspired.

Over 30 years, I have been profiling great business builders and most of them will tell me about huge influencers in their life. These people not only showed them how to lift their game — great coaches, CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders do that sort of thing by nature — but they inspired their ‘students’ to work hard for the great result.

I have a pile of great inspirational quotes that I think will work on someone who’s ready to make a big change, but they will just be nice pieces of advice to someone who’s not really up for a big step.

I’ve always loved this one and I’m not sure who was the initial creator of it but it’s so spot on: “Just about everything in life you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

Jim Rohn is a US speaker and business thinker who has nailed some great advice in one line. Here’s one of my favourites: “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling.”

Tony Robbins, who has made a fortune inspiring others and helping aspirational people change their situation, has argued that people believe a story that holds them back so they have to change that story!

I’m hoping Malcolm has some people telling him that he needs to do something momentous to lift his game from good to great. We’re in need of great national leadership and that explains why our election produced a crazy parliament. I suspect the old observation "Every country has the government it deserves," and "In a democracy, people get the leaders they deserve."

Someone has to change us if we want to lift our national performance and it has to start with the guy we voted to run the place.

A wise business builder in the early 1990s said to me: “Work out what you want, Peter. Determine the price. Then pay the price.”

One day someone might think he or she can prove that inspiration doesn’t work (though I doubt it) but this quote and others have helped me when I thought things were too hard in business, or even life.

This one from Jim Rohn is also a cracker when times seem tough: “Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better. Don't wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don't wish for less challenge, wish for more wisdom”.

I could go on but let’s go back to the poster on the wall, showing a beautiful scene of nature. Let’s make it two dirt tracks splitting in a forest and add this from the poet Robert Frost: “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less travelled and that has made all the difference.”

Remember this and think about it every day!

As the great Mahatma Gandhi told us: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

And while I’m not sure who penned this one, it’s a beauty: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”

As I said in the beginning of this article: Gee I hope Malcolm reads this and changes because we really need it, and fast.

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