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In this episode of The Speaker Show, Maria Franzoni interviews Anna Hemmings MBE.

Anna is best known as Britain’s most successful ever female kayaker, a 2 time Olympian and 6 times World Champion.

Anna retired from her sport in 2009 and went on to create a leading high-performance training consultancy, Beyond the Barriers. Anna is adept at translating the lessons she learned in sport into the business world and together with her colleagues help individuals, teams and organisations to get the competitive edge.

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Episode #210

Constant and Never Ending Improvement

Maria Franzoni (00:12): In today’s show, we’ll be talking about resilience, leadership and high performance. Welcome back to The Speaker Show with me your host, Maria Franzoni before we start, let me remind you that The Speaker Show is brought to you by Speakers Associates, the global speaker bureau for the world’s most successful organizations, providing keynote speakers for events, conferences, and summits. My guest today has a staggering 11 world and European championship medals. She’s a two times a Olympian. She’s an MBE, she’s a leadership and high performance coach and an entrepreneur. She’s a woman who persevered and succeeded despite the odds who achieved when others said she couldn’t rest assured that when she talks to us today about resilience, leadership and high performance, she speaks from personal experience. She draws on the lessons that she has learnt in sports. And it’s on a mission to share these lessons with business audiences, please welcome my guest, Anna Hemmings, Anna. It is wonderful. See you again, looking fantastic. May I say

Anna Hemmings (01:15): Hi, Maria. Thank you. Thanks for having me today.

Maria Franzoni (01:18): You’re very welcome. And actually you would expect anybody who is sporty to always look fantastic. It’s not great to say you’re a sports person. You’ve got 11 medals Olympian, and you have to, you have to stay fit, right?

Anna Hemmings (01:31): Absolutely. You gotta stay fit. But that I was Olympian in 2008 and two year, 2000. So it’s been some time actually, since I was at the height of my training and keeping super it fantastic, Not so much anymore.

Maria Franzoni (01:46): Fantastic. And I’ve seen videos of the, of the muscles that you had then. Wow. So listen, but we didn’t mention in the introduction what sport it was that you did. And it’s not one that everybody will have immediately thought of. They may be looking in. They’ll probably be guessing perhaps, but tell us the sport that, that you chose and why.

Anna Hemmings (02:04): So yeah, when, when I say that I’m a kayaker, most people think of the, the slalom kayaking, you know, where they go down the rapids and the w and they’re getting battered by the white water, do the Eskimo roll. So that’s not what I did. I’ve never even done an Eskimo role. I don’t like getting my hair. But most people think of that. And what I did was flat water kayaking. So rivers and lakes, if, if you’d been watching the Tokyo Olympics, we’re recording this during the Olympics. Then it’s the sprint canoe racing. So when they’re on a, on the regatta course, the same reg course that they race the rowing. So I did in the Olympics, the 500 meter event, which is from one end to the other as fast as possible. And I, he won my world championships in marathon kayak racing, which was over not one kilometer, not five kilometers, but 35 kilometers. So long distance takes two and a half hours. That’s what I did.

Maria Franzoni (02:59): Wow. Wow. I don’t think I’d have the stamina for two and a half minutes, but wow. That’s incredibly impressive. Brilliant. Brilliant. You mentioned the Tokyo Olympics and actually I mean, I’ve been watching it and it’s been fantastic. It’s always wonderful to watch the Olympics. I love Olympic years. I’m sure many, many people do and you see that some of the athletes really thrive under pressure. And then you see others that have struggled to perform at their best. They’ve been training for years and, and then you, you, you are there and the whole pressure takes them over. What can we learn from the athletes who, who can control that pressure that we can apply maybe in business when we’re feeling under pressure?

Anna Hemmings (03:36): Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because you, it it’s the biggest stage. The Olympic games is, you know, it’s that four year cycle and everyone’s trying to deliver it on that day. In that moment, they’ve waited for it and waited for it. And, and the, the best performers, they are able to deliver their best performance with the highest pressure. And, and a big part of that for me, is about where are you focusing your attention and, and the best performers. You’ll hear them. If you listen out, you know, to post race interviews, post performance interviews, you’ll hear a lot of athletes talking about how they’re focused on their performance and not the result, not the outcome, because the outcome, the result getting medal, that’s where the pressure comes from the expectation of others. And so much of that is out of our control. The result ultimately can come down, you know, can be influenced by everything from the weather and the referees decision to the conditions, to your competitors, you know, so much can influence the result.

Anna Hemmings (04:39): So there’s absolutely a point putting your attention on, on the results. And instead, it’s important to focus your attention on the process on, on your race plan, on, on your strategy. And, you know, I think it’s the same in business. You know, when you are going for, you know, a big a big sales meeting, you know, this is your opportunity to seal the deal with the client. And, you know, if you start focusing on the outcome and we will get it, we’ll be not, you know, what are they gonna say? All of that, that’s when you start the self-doubt starts to come in and that’s when your mind wonders and, and you’re not focused. And so ultimately all you can control is your performance, what you say, what you do, how you deliver what you do in the moment. And, and as an athlete, it’s about, you know, your performance and focusing on what you’ve prepared to do.

Anna Hemmings (05:28): And that’s what allows you to deliver in the moment. And I think if you don’t do that and you start focusing on the outcome, then the doubt starts to creep in and, and the self-talk become, can become quite negative. And the, what ifs start to come in and all of that. And that’s what derails your, your performance and you are focused on, you know, so it’s all about where’s your attention in that moment? The other thing for me is that something that really helped me, and I know that so many athletes use this and that’s visualization. And, and it’s about, see so much of it’s about the preparation. You know, you can deliver in the moment when you are prepared, because when you’re prepared, you are confidence rises, and then you can relax. And so for me, when I felt mentally, they’re all physically prepared.

Anna Hemmings (06:17): Every single one of those athletes is physically prepared. You know, they’ve all done the training. But the mental preparation is absolutely crucial because when you can see that performance in your mind’s eye, in vivid, vivid detail, your mind doesn’t know the difference between a vividly imagined experience and a real life experience. And so for me, when I could see myself deliver the perfect race, you know, executing my race plan exactly as I wanted to that’s when I went, yes, I’m ready. I am ready to race. And then I got excited. And I think that’s what allows you to sit on the start line or that, you know, when the whistle blows or whatever it is that’s what allows you to just deliver and go into that automatic pilot mode because you’ve seen it, but you also prepare for the things that might go wrong.

Anna Hemmings (07:10): You prepare for, you know, there being a full start you prepare for you know, we saw that in the hundred meter men spinal, you know, there full start. So you have to you from a British guy, unfortunately. But you have to be prepared as the other competitors to reset and go right now, let you know, I’ve, I’ve seen this happen in my mind and I’m ready for it. And I know what to think, and I know how to prepare, and I know what I need to do and how to reset myself. And, and so the more preparation you can do the back, because that’s what allows you to have covered all the, what ifs or the, you know, the, what if scenarios, the pressure situations, how am I gonna handle it? And that’s what gives you the confidence to make good decisions and make the right take the right move in the moment.

Maria Franzoni (07:54): Fantastic. So preparation be totally prepared, focus on the performance, focus on your, your race plan and strategy, not the outcome. And that’s really good actually, certainly for when, when you’re in business, because if you do focus too much on the outcome, although you need to know the direction you’re going, and you don’t need to know where the finish line is clearly, otherwise you end up like a multi Python race, don’t you all going in the wrong direction. It it’s important to be in that moment. So you’re do your very best. I love that visualization and that autopilot, that sort like muscle memories, isn’t it? That you’ve done it so many times before your brain. And because you’ve done it in your head, your brain knows I’ve done it before. I’ve one goal before I can do it again. Right?

Anna Hemmings (08:33): Yeah. And it totally, all of it applies to the business world because, you know, you think about doing a big pitch, doing a big presentation, a really difficult conversation, all of that. You can see it in your mind’s eye. You can visualize, okay, how do I wanna present myself? What am I gonna say? What’s my body language gonna look like write down to trying to anticipate the other person’s responses, or how do I want to see the audience respond at the end of my speech? You know, what do I wanna see them doing and visualizing all of that, but in a difficult conversation or where you’ve gotta make tough decisions in the moment, the more you can play out the different scenarios and the different situations, the more prepared you, anything that can happen. And the more you can visualize that, the more you start to feel confident that I’ve been here before, because sometimes we haven’t been here before, but we get confidence from our past experiences. But if your mind believes that you’ve been here before, because it’s seen it, that’s when the confidence rises and that’s when you’re able to, to deliver under pressure.

Maria Franzoni (09:33): Fantastic. Absolutely fun to. So is that part of what you talk about? You talk about getting the competitive edge and having that winning mindset, is that, are those the components that you need or is there more to it than that? And, and can you develop it?

Anna Hemmings (09:47): You can absolutely develop winning mindset and, and yet, so yes, that those are some components. So where do I focus? My attention? So building on the, on the, that idea of preparing is a big part of a winning mindset. So I talk about performance cycle and that involves three different components. So it’s preparation, execution and review. And so to take that preparation to the next level not just in, in terms of the mental preparation, but also the physical preparation, you know, as an athlete, you know, we are watching the Olympics and you see just this moment in time when they’re, you know, they’re on the start line or, you know, they’re about to perform. And that’s all we see, but there’s years and years, and months and months now, as now as a preparation, that’s gone to get into that, into that moment.

Anna Hemmings (10:35): So that it does look are effortless. But it’s because of all the preparation and, and 90% of that performance, that race, or that match or whatever it is, is one in the preparation. And it’s exactly the same in the business world. You know, think about, I think about my world now, you know, what delivering training or or coaching or a speech, you know, I know that you guys talk about scoping. That’s the preparation, right? That’s our preparation time. If we don’t do that, we’re not gonna deliver what the customer wants. I need to spend time talking to the customer, understanding what their objectives are, understanding what results they wanna achieve. What does good look like? That’s, and then I can go, I, and do my preparation to make sure that I deliver on the day. And so that’s my homework, that’s my training that I do now.

Anna Hemmings (11:24): And it’s the same in, in so many different walks of business. What’s the preparation that you can do because prepare, fail to prepare, and we prepare to fail, right. You know, prepare, prepare, prepare. That is the most crucial thing. That’s when we build relationships with a customer. So you’ve got the preparation phase and then you’ve got the execution phase, which is delivering the performance, the race, or, you know, the pitch difficult conversation, whatever it might be. And then, and we’ve talked about how to deliver that in the moment and then comes the review phase, so perform to prepare, execute, and then review and that, and win or lose. It’s crucial that we do the review phase and, and that is where the learning comes in. And the most important thing, which I think people can sometimes ne is that not just to focus on the result, but to focus on the performance because the result is, is great.

Anna Hemmings (12:21): But if we only focus on the result in isolation, that doesn’t guarantee future success, what guarantees future success is looking at the performance as a whole and looking at how, how could this performance be improved? Because it’s interesting when you look at I was watching the, the 200 meter women’s final on the track yesterday. And the Jamaican lady that won, she also won in, in Rio and her time was significantly quicker yesterday than it was four years ago because performance levels in sport and in is, are constantly rising. And so therefore we can’t just look at the result and go, oh, well I won last time. And so I’ll just rep replicate everything that I did. You’ve got to say, actually, what was good about the performance and what could be improvd for next time, because we’ve gotta keep thinking about improving performance all the time and moving forward and, and, and trying to go further.

Anna Hemmings (13:17): So, so focusing on the performance and, and, and analyzing it, what went well, what didn’t go so well, even when we win, what could be better. And then also in that period is in that phase is the feedback. And that’s another really important component, getting feedback from the client, getting feedback from colleagues, getting feedback from everyone is important part of the review phase. So I really encourage the clients that I work with to see this as an investment of their time, because, because most people go, oh, I haven’t got time to spend time. You know, doing all that preparation. They just wanna dive in straight to execution, but actually the neglecting preparation and review you are, you’re neglecting two really crucial parts that allow you to deliver optimal performance. And you have to see it as an investment of time that you will recoup back in the long term in terms of in terms of enhanced performance. So it, it’s, it’s really crucial

Maria Franzoni (14:15): And love that the fact you’ve made it really simple, you know, three steps and they’re so absolutely logical your preparation, your execution, your review makes absolutely total sense. And it’s interesting as well, you’re saying you can’t replicate. You have to keep improving. Not only do you have to improving for yourself, but you actually have to keep improving because your competition’s gonna compete improving. They’re not go, they’re gonna be trying to beat what you did and, and guess what you’re gonna achieve the next time. And they’ll be aiming for that aiming for what you are gonna be. So it’s constant and, and in business, it’s the same. You want to be ahead of the competition. Nobody wants to be number two, really do we you touched on feedback and I know this is an area that you are so passionate about because I think it’s an area you’ve said to me in the past, you don’t think there’s enough focus on in business. Explain to me why feedback was so important for you and why it’s important in business.

Anna Hemmings (15:06): So feedback is just absolutely fundamental to part of a winning mindset and helping us to improve performance. It’s an improve important part of a high performing team. As a leader, you know, so many aspects of business and, and indeed in sport, you know, as an athlete, in fact, all athletes just crave feedback. It’s interesting because when you athletes just want feedback, we call it the food of champions. But in the business world, when someone says to you, oh, come here, I wanna give you some feedback. You’re like oh, that’s not gonna be a good conversation. You, you don’t think of it as, as helpful. You don’t think of it. You think of it, oh, they’re gonna gimme a bulking about something. But actually, you know, we saw feedback and every athlete’s like, actually, oh yes, give me feedback. I wanna know.

Anna Hemmings (15:53): I wanna know what can I do? What didn’t I do? Well, how can I improve? And you see it as a, as a performance enhancing tool. So I think the first thing in business is that it is we, we need to help people to change, to reframe what feedback is, and it should be something that’s engaging. It should be something that’s helpful. Feedback should be seen as something that’s kind because we’re helping people to do thi to understand what they didn’t do so well and how they could do it differently. And I think that the biggest thing with feedback in business is P helping people to learn how to deliver it effectively, because I think that’s what stops people from giving feedback, you know, as a leader, when you’ve seen someone do something or a behavior or a performance, and it’s not been as good as it could be, then they get afraid that the other person is gonna be offended or be, you know, gonna get, get, take it the wrong way, or you know, get defensive or whatever. And, and actually, if they’ve learnt the skills to deliver feedback effectively, then, then it lands so much better and you don’t get afraid of, of upsetting someone, you know, that you’re doing it with positive intent to just help them improve performance. And it would be unkind not to get, give them that feedback if it’s gonna help them.

Maria Franzoni (17:18): Absolutely agree with you. I love the fact that you call it the food of champions and you are, you’re absolutely right. I think in, in business it’s cause we, we dunno how to deliver it or we’re scared, or often we only get feedback when it’s bad, rather than actually getting feedback that is, you know, productive and, and good. We don’t always get good feedback. I bet. So.

Anna Hemmings (17:35): Yeah. I, I agree, Mary, I think I didn’t say that, but it really important to do both is to be giving feedback that is both, we call it motivational feedback. So feedback that’s, you know, positive in terms of what did I do well and what do I need to keep doing? And then developmental feedback in terms of, you know, what didn’t I do so well and what do I need to do differently or to change. And it’s really important to get a balance of both because highlighting for someone, what they did really well is crucial for confidence building and, and to, and motivation is what I call motivational to help them know that actually I did that and that had this impact and I needed to keep doing that for that reason. So it’s really crucial to do both. The other thing around feedback is in high performing teams and the best teams, most high performing teams, whole deep, other accountable, and they use feedback to hold each other accountable.

Anna Hemmings (18:33): So they’ve, you know, a few steps further before they will have all discussed something, had debate about it, committed to it, and then agreed that, you know, for example you know, we talk about gold medal behaviors, for example, right? So we’re all gonna behave in this way. You know, this is the way we’re gonna conduct ourselves as a team, right. We’re committing to this. And then you see someone who, who doesn’t do what we’ve agreed. We would do a high performing team. Has the, has that safe environment, has the trust within the team to be able to call someone out in an appropriate way, you know, when they know how to deliver feedback well and say, actually, do you know what? We agreed that we would do it like this and you are doing something different or we agreed we would behave like that. And you haven’t, and you’ve done this and they’re able to give that feedback and deliver it so that it lands. And that’s what a high performing team does.

Maria Franzoni (19:25): I love that. So the motivational and the developmental, not easy to say without your who thin is it? Very good. And I love the gold medal behavior and the fact that, you know, the high performing teams can hold themselves accountable. Really good. I bet your kids are so well behaved because they get top feet and you’re laughing because they get top feet. Okay. Let’s not go there. Your husband only, maybe your husband’s well behaved instead. So listen, what people may not know or may not have sort of put together is the fact that you were undefeated in your sport for eight years. That’s huge. And in that time you won three consecutive world titles. So what’s making me think here, what would be relevant to business here is, okay, you get to the top, how do you stay top? Because once you’re there, you’re sort of like, oh, that’s a little relaxed, it’s a little holiday. How do you stay in that mindset of, of what you gold medal behavior, I suppose.

Anna Hemmings (20:21): Yeah, I, it absolutely it is mindset Maria. It, it’s about a mindset of recognizing that when I’m at the top, the danger would be to, to be a little bit complacent to, you know, I’m just gonna rest on my laurels, made it to the top. And I’m just gonna sit here and, and, and cruise for a little bit. But as we discussed earlier, you can’t afford to sit still because, you know, like we said, the performance levels are constantly rising in sport and in business it’s constantly moving forward. And so you have to have this mindset of, of continually striving for improvement, for innovation to keep pushing boundaries and to keep improving. I call, I have a little acronym can I C a N constant and never ending improvement. And that’s what I was always striving for. That’s what I work with clients to help them strive for constant and never ending improvement.

Anna Hemmings (21:17): And I say, can, can you do it? Can I, yes, I can. And, and again, it goes back to that idea that, you know, looking for what are the ways that I can improve with my performance, because yes, I won. I’ve won once, you know, I won the first world title. Do we just do the same training program all over again? Hmm. Maybe not. Maybe we keep some of it, but we have to look at it and say, is this still gonna add value? Is this still gonna help make the boat go faster in the future? Is this gonna enhance performance again next year? Or do we need to tweak something? So I’ll give you an example when I when I, well, well, this is when I won my first world title. I, I, I won by, by break making a break towards the end of the race.

Anna Hemmings (22:05): So we do this thing called a Portage. And and I, so where you get out of the boat and you pick it up and you have to run and you get back in again. And I was pretty fast run out and I made a break on the port and I, and I got made, I got a break and I had a gap and, and I managed to sustain that lead. But in, but in the previous world championships, I had finished second and I got, I lost on sprint finish. And so even though I won, we knew that if it came down to a sprint finish, would I win again? And so there was still room for improvement. And so whilst I had lots of endurance, I lost two times at the world championships by this, by, by like this much, by not 0.2 seconds.

Anna Hemmings (22:48): So take two tense of a second. I lost by after two and a half hours of racing. And so, you know, yes, I world champion, but is my performance gonna be good enough again, to win next time? And so actually, maybe I need to switch change. We had to tweak the training a little bit and focus a bit more on my speed and less on the endurance. So if it came down to a sprint finish, I would be able to win on a sprint finish. And I did win PO I did win two of my world titles on a sprint finish in the end. But because I had changed his training and didn’t rest on my laws thinking, yeah, I’ve done it, I’ve won, I’ll be able to win again. So it’s that mindset of what else and looking for, you know, the small, all attention to detail, what are the, even when you’re at the highest level, you know, you see it, I, I love watching the track cycling, which is on at the moment at the Olympics and, and they are winning by just absolutely tiny, tiny margins.

Anna Hemmings (23:45): And, and that’s all about looking for those little 1% improvements all the time, constant, what are the 1%, cuz it’s not one massive thing because everyone, you know, they’ve done so much already to make big strides. So now it’s what are the 1% that we can make. And, and when you think about, and some people think, oh, sense, not gonna make that much difference, but if you look at lots of different components of the nutrition and the recovery and technology and the mental strength and all of that added together, and each person in a team doing that, the compound effect will inevitably have extraordinary results. And so if you think of a business team and you’ve got, you know, 12 of you in a team and every person is making small improvements, two or three different areas, and all of you together do that over the space of a year, that’s huge. And that’s what makes the difference. And that’s how you get those winning margins, which is important business. It can come down to that sometimes.

Maria Franzoni (24:46): Absolutely. I do love that constant and never ending improvement. That is such a great title and a great thing to hang onto a great sort of mantra. Actually. I like that really like that. So talk to me a little bit about resilience over the last year. It’s sort of, you know, everybody’s talking about resilience. I think people will be talking about it, go going on because I think we’ve got, you know, some fallout come yet from this horrific pandemic, how important is resilience in both sport and business and you know, how can you become more resilient?

Anna Hemmings (25:21): Yeah. So resilience, everyone’s talking about resilience and it is crucial. It is not just a buzzword. It is something that you can learn and develop. It’s not, you know, a lot of people say, you know, this is just an innate skill that you have and you’re born with it. And, and the research actually shows that you do have a level. Everyone has a level of resilience and someone that will be higher or lower, but by and large, it is developed over time and, and all have a level of resilience based on our life experiences. So, you know, the more adversity we’ve experienced and the setbacks and the failures and, and the rejections, assuming that we’ve learnt from all of that, we will be more resilient because of it. And for me, resilience is super important because it’s what allows you to be able to think clearly in the heat of the moment, it’s what allows you to be able to think rationally and strategically.

Anna Hemmings (26:18): It’s what allows you to sustain high performance in the face of constant demands and pressures and the people who are, have the highest level of resilience they can, they can they can perform better in the face of either lots of pressures or continued pressures. Those with less resilience, they’ll be reaching their, their, their peak and their they’ll be getting more overwhelmed by those pressures quicker. So it’s really, really crucial. It’s what allows us to bounce back from step back. It’s what allows us to you know, to have, when we, when we’re really resilient, we have confidence that we can find our way through challenging situations through step back through adversity, through uncertainty. So into terms of developing it well, there were, there were, yeah, I could list six or seven key strategies for developing resilience, but if I broke it down into, into four key elements, the first one would be having clarity of direction.

Anna Hemmings (27:21): So knowing what, where I’m going and why I’m going there, and then how I’m gonna get there is really crucial. And knowing that I have, and I’m being determined to succeed because that clarity of direction is so important. When, for example, we come up against the setback when we’re feeling over, this is one that’s coming up a lot with clients when I’m coaching them is just feeling over well that I’ve just got so much to do competing demands, ever changing priorities. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m so overwhelmed with that. I just dunno where to start. And so bringing it back to the clarity of direction, what am I trying to achieve? And you know, how am I gonna get there? And what’s important right now. That’s what allows you to just filter out some of that distraction and stay focused on, on the key priorities and what’s important.

Anna Hemmings (28:11): So that’s, so that’s the first one. And, and we have to stay true to that all the time. Even, you know, even making decisions, is this making this decision, is it gonna help me achieve that goal? Is it gonna help me with my clarity of direction? What, you know, what I, I identified as my, my vision. And then the second one for me is around awareness of self and others. So having an awareness of our own attitudes, motivations strengths, weaknesses is really crucial. And as a leader, I say others because it’s really important to the, to have that understanding of others as well. And also what takes me from pressure to stress and how to rebalance really, really crucial because part of being resilient is being able to deal with the stresses, the inevitable stresses that come our way. So knowing what my triggers are, what’s gonna take me over the edge and how do I, how do I re recalibrate get back into equilibrium?

Anna Hemmings (29:12): So that’s really crucial having an understanding of what my strengths are, is really fundamental because that’s what builds our confidence is knowing that when I’m faced with this tough situation, I know what I’ve got in my locker. And I know that I’ve the resources to deliver under this pressure. I know what motivates me is really crucial. So, you know, when times are difficult, I know what to tap into. I know what my intrinsic motivational drivers are. And so then I can, I can raise my motivation when it gets tough. So that’s awareness awareness of self. And, and as a, if you are a leader, then all of those things applying to awareness of others. The third one is around what I call leadership presence. And a big part of this for me is about being authentic as a leader. You know, being able to ask for help, ask for support, you know, when we’re struggling, when times are difficult, when we’re under pressure, just being able, a big part of our resilience is being able to be vulnerable and ask for support. And then the fourth one is around resilient decision making. So being able to make the right decision at the right time of the right people in the right place. So you can make good decisions when it really counts. Those would be my keys.

Maria Franzoni (30:27): Excellent. Excellent. I’ve written those down. It’s like I’m having a master class here. So clarity of direction, awareness of self and others, leadership presence and resilience decision making. Yes. I think I got that right. I got that right? Yes. Good, good. Yes. Where seriously, there’s so much amazing content here from you. And, and the other thing I want to pick your brains on while I have you, is that, of course, a lot of people are going through the, the changes from remote working now, coming together, again, some are still choosing to stay remote. Some perhaps certainly in the UK will be coming off. Furlough will either be going back into the work environment or actually not having work. So staff motivation is gonna have a huge toll taken on it. So the other side of resilience I suppose, is, is being motivated. And you individually are obviously very self-motivated, but because of what you’ve achieved, but how can you boost motivation of others? How can you help them be more motivated?

Anna Hemmings (31:28): Yeah. You know, so you say, you know, most athletes and I was very self-motivated, but that’s not to say that, you know, every single morning I woke, I going, yes, yes. Can’t wait to get out to the cold, recent cold river. You know, like most people don’t always every work break up, go, can’t wait to get to work day. And so, you know, sometimes even the Lu of that world championship gold medal wasn’t enough. And, and so sometimes, and the thing is the reason why is because the medal, you know, the awards that you get and the same in business, you know, the salad, the bonus and promotion those things. They’re what we call external factors. And, and they’re temporary motivators because if, if you are doing the same thing every day, day in, day out, then you need more than that.

Anna Hemmings (32:17): You need more than that external factor you need, the motivation needs to come from within. And, and when it one within that’s, when you get a longer, more sustained motivation. And so it’s about identifying what is the intrinsic motivation. And the, a lot of the work that I do with clients around motivation is based on the work of the in spit. And he identified eight human desires. And so those were I, I list few of them. So desire for achievement. So to feel like I’m succeeding at something. So at work, I need to have a sense of achievement, you know, to be able to hit targets and feel like I’ve succeeded. It might be affiliations. So a lot of people are, you know, all of us, we’re all social creatures, whether you’re an introvert, an extrovert, we need people. And, and so being able to to interact and have that social interaction might be a big driver.

Anna Hemmings (33:11): Some people, you know, for me, I know some days I’d turn up for training because of the banter that are gonna have in my teammates, and we’re gonna have an laugh and, and I just wanna go and, you know, have that fun with them. On other days, it was about the sense of achievement that I was gonna get from the training session to hit my targets, because it was gonna be competitive maybe. And I was gonna feel a sense of achievement at the end of the session. It might be about ownership. So in, you know, this is about feeling psychological ownership over your work. So at work, it might be feeling like, you know, I really own this project or, you know, this yeah, this project that I’m working on, I’m gonna take it from start to finish and, or it might be about the development of someone else I’m gonna, I I’m gonna own this development of this up and coming leader. You know, so feeling like I own, I have ownership over what I’m doing is really important. I just rattle off the others. So there’s desire for meaning. So having a purpose feeling like you’re making contribution, desire for activity. So not doing monotonous work desire for power. And that’s really not so much about positions of power, but could be about feeling like I’m in control of my destiny rather than being powerless to external forces. I dunno if I’ve mentioned all eight, but no there’s

Maria Franzoni (34:26): One missing. So we’ve got there’s one movement affiliation, ownership

Anna Hemmings (34:32): Recognition recognition. So, so be, you know, we all like to feel appreciated by others and positively recognized. So, you know, and so what’s interesting is that, you know, I do this a lot in my speeches as I, I do a little poll and I get people to identify which of their top two and everyone is different. And that’s the most important thing as a leader to recognize that what motivates you would be the same as what motivates your team. And this is like a light bulb moment for my clients when I work with them on this. And they go, so there was one client I was working with and he said he, he was, he was driven by achievement of recognition. And, and so he’s constantly recognizing his team and, you know, good praise and, you know, giving them, creating a, you know, awards and, you know, all of that kind of stuff.

Anna Hemmings (35:17): And then he realized that there was a big percentage of his team who were driven by affiliations, they about the people and the teammates and getting together. And, and so this whole, you know, constantly recognizing people was nice, but that wasn’t working for them. And when, when motivational desires are not aligned and they’re not addressed and you don’t get the best out of people. So it’s really important for people to realize that actually we’re all different and we all have different motivational drivers. So if you are a leader and you want to tap and you want to motivate each individual in the team, then you need to identify what exactly is it? That’s their deepest motivation. So it’s getting to know others. You know, I talked about resilience being about one of those elements was awareness of others. So it’s about getting to know your team, get to know yourself, be more observant about yourself, but also get to know your team on a different level. You hear it in sport, you know, team in team sports, you play for each other play for the team, but how can you do that if you don’t know each other? So awareness, this of others is really crucial. Particularly what motivates others. And I use a diagnostic to help people really, really accurately identify what are their motivations and what are other people’s

Maria Franzoni (36:28): Brilliant. I’ve learned so much. Thank you, Anna. I’ve written so many notes. You’re welcome. I, so, so I’ve taken quite a bit of your time. So I wanna finish on, I think something that’s really important because you are unusual. And I think people will know that from EV all the answers you’ve given and the breadth of knowledge and the depth of knowledge that you have, because usually you expect an Olympian, a sports person to come in and give a speech and tell their story and the lessons they’ve learned from it. Yes, you do that, but you can do so much more. You’ve talked about coaching, you’ve talked about training. I know you do workshop, you do master classes, you could do so much more with organizations. Tell me a little bit about how much further you can work with companies, if they really want to work on that, what was it continuous and never ending improvement.

Anna Hemmings (37:13): Yeah, no, you’re right. Maria, I do. I swear. I think of myself as wearing three different hats. One is as, as an inspirational speaker and then I’m a, a leadership and high performance coach. So I work one to one with individuals. And I, and I love that because I get to work closely with somebody and usually over a longer period of time. So whilst when I deliver a speech, hopefully people take away some really actionable strategies at they can put into place and they can go away and do that. I don’t often get to see that six months later unless I get to come in and work with people afterwards, which yeah. Often happens. But you know, if it’s a big audience, I’m not gonna get to work with everyone. So it’s really nice to work one to one with people and actually see people applying those, those strategies and those techniques and seeing the impact.

Anna Hemmings (38:01): So I do the coaching and then I do, and then I’m also a training consultant. I have, I actually set up beyond the barriers training consultancy 11 years ago now when I retired from sport. So, so that’s very much about smaller group workshops. So master classes, doing leadership programs over six months, over 12 months, hyper performing teams programs or high performing hybrid teams now. So yeah and obviously resilience is a big a big program that I run as well. So, and I, I enjoy the dynamic actually of having 10 or 12 people in the master class. And, and that’s very different to the, you know, the 500 person people in a speech and the one to one. So there’s real variety. And, and I love that. And I, you know, when we’re in a group workshop, you leave, people are bouncing ideas off of each other and that’s a different vibe. So, yeah, so there’s a real mixture to my work. And each one them ultimately has the same aim and it’s to help people to develop the skills, the attitudes, and the behavior, the mindset to deliver outstanding performance and to take those lessons from sport into the business world and help others apply that and achieve their best.

Maria Franzoni (39:14): Anna, thank you for your outstanding performance today and for joining us. I hope you enjoyed yourself.

Anna Hemmings (39:20): I did. Thank you very much. Love. I love the conversation. Thanks, Maria.

Maria Franzoni (39:24): Fabulous. So thank you everybody for listening to The Speaker Show. And if you enjoyed this episode, please leave your rating on apple podcast. You can keep up with future episodes on Speakers Associates website, which is or your favorite podcast app. And if you’d like to book Anna to speak or to coach, or to run a masterclass or workshop, please contact speakers, associates. They will be delighted to help make it happen. See you next week. Bye bye for now.

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Maria Franzoni is an established and recognised speaking industry expert and one of the most experienced speaker bookers in Europe.

As well as working with speakers, Maria also hosts live shows and podcasts. She currently hosts The Speaker Show podcast for Speakers Associates.

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