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The Future of High Performance – Leading Edge launches ‘High Performance Insights’

Through the multitude of complex challenges organisations have had to struggle with over the past two-years, some haven’t just survived, they’ve thrived. They have accelerated their growth, scale and performance exponentially.  Others have simply managed to maintain a holding pattern and are now getting ready to ‘go-again’ in 2022.

In a bid to better understand how these high performance organisations managed to adapt, overcome, and prosper, Leading Edge, an organisation that develops authentic leadership and maximises high performance teams in a complex world, conducted research with over 250 industry leaders across a multitude of sectors from management to engineering, sports to fashion.

They also engaged with senior leaders across some of the most recognisable global and high-performing organisations including Levi’s, Mars, Glanbia Performance Nutrition, Jaguar Land Rover, Sally Beauty, West Ham United, England and Wales Cricket Board, and The Football Association.

The research is culminated into the ‘High Performance Insights’ which explores the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on organisations and examines how senior leaders are in a position to implement positive changes that will help shape the future of business performance.

Through this extensive research, Leading Edge identified five key drivers – the core contributors to high performance success.

  • Hardwiring Belonging. Supercharging your Diversity & Inclusion strategy to create sustainable success.

The number 1 barrier to developing the necessary culture change is a fundamental lack of understanding of the benefits D&I actually bring. As a result, many organisations don’t know what to do or how to do it and – in their panic to ‘do something’ – end up focusing solely on creating ‘special interest groups’ and, often, devolving responsibility for change to those groups to champion.

  • Connected Hybrid Working. Moving from flexible working to high performance hybrid solutions.

Two years ago, long before the pandemic entered our lives and daily news cycle, professionals already identified hybrid working as critical to their organisations: more than half (61%) said it was of high or critical importance. But, whilst a great number of organisations think they’ve ‘mastered’ the art of hybrid working during the pandemic, our research found expensive mistakes are already being made and huge opportunities are still not being seized.

  • Becoming Change Enabled. Confronting, adapting to, and growing through constant change.

The research uncovered that the biggest barrier to dealing with ‘disruptive change’ is actually the existing internal disconnect within teams and organisations; the lack of ability to embrace disruption as ‘practising futurists’ who are able to engage and embrace in these transformations.

Whilst a third of organisations (31%) are focusing on customer-led change, they don’t have the capacity or capability to deal with the biggest barrier that’s much closer to home: engagement of their teams to navigate change.

  • Mental Agility. Proactive wellbeing focus to reframe the mental health conversation.

Whilst COVID-related concerns were, understandably, high on the list of mental health challenges for leaders (32% noted this as a key concern), it was distressing to see the current levels of stress (29%), depression (29%), burnout (24%), and anger (20%).

The Leading Edge research has found that high performance teams – whilst in no way impervious to the mental health challenges we all face – had far more focus on ‘mental agility’ and ‘performance wellbeing’ as part of their routine performance metrics and support.

  • Leading with Love. Reframing our relationships to authentic high performance.

The research found that, currently, only around 18% of organisations lead with an empathetic, loving, and people-driven mindset –– less than half the amount (39%) who chose a more rational, data-driven approach.

Even though over a fifth of professionals think the idea of ‘leading with love’ sounds like “airy-fairy tree hugging stuff”, the reality is that using empathetic engagement, fostering compassion amongst senior leadership, and building a caring culture all translates into tangible, real-world results.

Patrick Marr, Owner Director of Leading Edge, said: “At Leading Edge, we are inspired by high performance. The High Performance Index explains the key contributing factors to high performing organisations and showcases how our expert team at Leading Edge can coach leaders in any sector to building high performance into your strategy.

“The way we work has changed forever, but, as our research and this report has shown, these changes will be for the better. The pandemic may have upset the established order, but it has provided a genuine chance for us all to reframe, renew, and revitalise the way we approach work. This report aims to gives you gives you compelling insight into high performance for 2022 and beyond.”

The High Performance Insights can be read in full here:


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