Innovation… How appropriate that a street close to a University is named “Innovation Drive-North”. Is it because being innovative is about looking up? What is it about innovation that inspires and drives organization’s, students, athletes and coaches to be on the edge of breakthrough?

The wonder of innovation can be seen at the fundamental level all around us. How often do we ask or question how to do things? Ever heard someone say…there is more than one way up the mountain? My own recent experience and learnings come from coaching clients, high performance sport coaches and yes…the athletes that execute the plans is that they want to find a more efficient way.

We can learn a great deal through youth and high performance sport that translates into leadership practices in business. As with any member of an organization, each athlete in any sport comes to you as a coach with a set of existing skills, genetics and mindset that will shape their success. As their coach, you assess these skills and work with them to develop a plan that allows them to excel. This is where innovation, patience and the right environment can produce results.

In one of my roles within high performance, I recently had the opportunity to watch “on demand” performances from many of Canada’s current and future high performance athletes and more importantly, the coaches that create the environments for their success. The Canada Summer Games can be described as a stage in the pathway to high performance development in many sports as they strive to make the National Teams in their respective sports. Coaches need to be resourceful, innovative, creative and open in this Multi Sport environment where traditional practices are not always accepted.

What would you do if your normal way of delivery, presentation, preparation or organization was taken out of your control? How would you respond? What steps would you take? Pretend you are at a Multi-Sport event where much of your control is taken on by the event organizers. Wow!! The dilemma, lack of control, negative training/competition experience or Wow…what a great opportunity to be innovative and explore new ways to train and prepare athletes for the unexpected?

Sport is about “PASSION” and execution of the details in the specific skills required to perform. My life’s work has been about the experience and exploration of environments that allow these passions to show up “on demand” when it matters most. Sport coaches that are open, seek innovative ways to teach and are students of their sport creates these environments with calm and confidence.

When we are fortunate to create environments where innovation becomes the exploration of possibility, we will see how athletes, organizations and individuals see the potential through the vision created as their story, not ours.

What is it like to shift from being an athlete to a coach?

What do you need to start doing?

Who would make up your support team, high performance team, mastermind team?

In the development of High Performance sport, being innovative with the knowledge of science and resources available is but one way. In business, what are some of the skills and competencies for the people you lead? Are you willing to lead with an innovative mind?

When we ignite passion in people with the invitation to see things in their own mind, we often see then standing on the podium.