The Vital Edge, by Louis Collins
So what is different about this book?
Well, I enjoyed the greater depth that Louis has provided around the role of the brain. I liked his focus on emotional intelligence, as well as some of the new learning from neuroscience.
I also found the discussion about the differences between team and individual sports an interesting angle. The sporting anecdotes that he uses are both entertaining and relevant.
Louis pulls out some interesting ideas about team and individual success, going beyond the more obvious ones. For example:
* The significance of margins - taken from the British Cycling Team - where everyone is expected to gain just an extra 1% everything.
* His discussion around collaboration - making the point that this is more than just good teamwork, co-operation, or compromise.
I find it fascinating how many organisations claim to value collaboration. Yet they have put in place systems and processes that create competition.
Individual success is rewarded more often than team success. Even though we know that creativity more often comes from great teamwork and collaboration.
In the chapters on the mind, Louis references some favourites of mine. in particular, Tim Galway and Martin Seligman. Seligman is also referred to by Dan Pink in his book To Sell is Human, another recent Leadership Book Club interviewee.
The power of positive thinking has been discussed often. And it's a really useful summary and recap Louis uses here. Whether we believe our failures are permanent, pervasive and internal. Or, as the more positive thinkers would see it, the opposite. Read the book for his great examples!
Throughout the book Louis does a great job of drawing the parallels between business and sport. The chapters on motivation stand out for me here.
For example, when talking about the motivation to break barriers such as the four-minute mile, where people once thought it dangerous or impossible. He asks if, in a business context, when people say "it's impossible" - do they just mean "it's not been done yet"?
Louis gives some fine examples of both internal and external motivation. He argues for the value of each, and the value of both. He talks about some great role models of leadership in sport, and peppers the book with interesting stories.
Each chapter contains a summary of the key learning points and some valuable ponder questions. I can see how leaders might use these for themselves, or with their teams. And how coaches could use them as challenges to their clients.
Overall, a useful addition to the lexicon. Very readable and valuable to leaders and coaches.