2021-Survive and Thrive Whatever the Weather.
Stuff's Got Real.
We work hard to help you anticipate and adapt to but ideally before major changes emerge. All our research and experience tell us there will be no return to "normal" any time soon. The largest impact of the pandemic has been to accelerate disruptive forces that were already gathering pace (retail moving online, increased ill health, strained (failing) health service, dominance of tech businesses, invasion of personal freedoms, genuine global competition, weakening of local communities etc) have all been turbo charged.
Whether this massive disruption creates massive problems depends on what we do next. But, there is still time for you to get ahead of these challenges. So, whilst not wishing to sound delusional, you can still recover and even turn this very challenging situation back to your advantage, regardless of the position you are starting from.
Your continued success will demand that you find ways to accelerate learning and performance faster than you have ever done before. This will be tough at times, but the rewards are there and our experience and research at ALP tells us it’s possible.
The level of disruption demands leadership and entrepreneurship at all levels of an organisation. To be clear, neither are glamourous. They are brutally hard, intensely personal BUT (at times) immensely rewarding. We see this as weaving together the questions that have driven our business for the last two decades. These are:
1. How can you unlock the performance of great people at the heart of your business?
2. How can you deliver that performance in a way that builds resilience and capability?
3. How can we do all this in a values based or characterful way?
Combining these three elements [our mission for the last 20 years] will help your company to exploit the profitable but fleeting opportunities that will emerge in the next 24 months.
We feel we are uniquely qualified to help you lead your business in 2021 as you navigate coming out lockdown and a still uncertain relationship with the rest of Europe. Below is some of our story so that you can be confident we can help you write yours.
ALP has been at the forefront of a number of major shifts in the last 20 years. First it was people centered management and coaching in 2001 – years before "coaching" was popular. Our founder, Jonathan Brown, was extremely lucky to start his coaching career with the people who literally wrote the book on coaching. After 20 years of supporting individual and organisational performance, he's now one of the world’s most experienced coaches.
In 2009, we shifted our focus to performance in extreme situations. This means we have had a focus on stress, resilience, well-being and performance (inc deep research into PTSD) for 12 years. Today the organisation combines those two coaching in high pressure situations with character based leadership– applying the research from life and death environments such as the military, first responders, medical teams and pilots to thrive in daily life.
Unlock the Entrepreneurial Spirit in your Organisation
The organisations most able to adapt are well resourced entrepreneurial businesses. We are committed to help organisations spread those the behaviours most associated with entrepreneurs throughout a business regardless of its size. For our founder, this is a personal mission.
“Being part of a business form some of my earliest memories – whether that’s helping in my uncle’s business or my mum's.
My uncle had a passion for entrepreneurship decades before Gary Vee and the current fashion for it. My mum became an entrepreneur by necessity. She had a need to feed three kids after my dad went walkabout. Her answer to that was to set up two businesses and work 14 hours a day to make sure we had what we needed to get on. She didn’t see herself as an entrepreneur. She just had a need that could only be met by an entrepreneur so that’s what she became. If you have to, it’s amazing what you can accomplish. Given that background, it’s no surprise I followed them. I was leading teams at 12. I learned at a young age that if you help people get what they want in ways they value you get to eat steak. If you don’t, you eat beans!”
A picture of Jonathan with his family. He’s the one in the bowler hat – preparing for a life in the city!
Trust is now your Super Power
Research and experience show that if you want to move fast, you have to have trust between people. Right now, leaders have a unique opportunity to reshape their organisations by capitalising on the trust gains that have come from all the changes your staff have made to deliver during a crazy year.
In small family businesses, the importance of the leader’s values are seen every day. Our founder’s experience working for Procter & Gamble, then one the world’s most respected values based companies, deepened this understanding.
What’s particularly exciting is that the US military has done a great deal of research into character-based leadership in the last 20 years. This research that is literally battle tested informs the advice and support we offer you. We are sure it’s advice you’ll come to trust.
The best news about the work in this area is that you can move much faster than was previously believed.
Save Time and Money Leveraging our Expertise
Challenging situations bring risks. The answer to this risk cannot be excessive caution as that merely delays the turmoil. Instead, it has to be engagement, mastery and focus. You get that from learning and practicing with people who have relevant experience. At ALP, we can help you do that as a leader. Most profitably, we can help you create a culture dedicated to high performance and mastery.
“One of the reasons why I am so passionate about creating positive environments is the benefits I have gained from them. For example, in 1994, I moved to Tokyo to study Japanese. I played judo as a way to meet people and was fortunate enough to achieve my black belt (1st dan) at a truly extraordinary judo club in Northern Tokyo. This was under a Yoda like teacher, Shimizu Sensei. He was in his 80s when I met him and had reached the extraordinary grade of 8th dan. This is two levels above the stage when your belt goes from black to red and white. At the club, there were two 7th dans and three 6th dan judoka. In the UK at that time, there was only one 6th dan and he was the head of British Judo Association.
All the players were committed to helping each other ensuring their journey to mastery improved the lives of those around them. My teacher had what I’d now call “fingertip intuition.” He could feel where my feet were from the feeling in my shoulders and would repeatedly throw me and then laughingly ask why he had done it. He’d explain and then we’d go again. Purposeful, tough and supportive. The essence of any culture that wants to develop sustained high performance. “
No one at ALP has 70 years of experience – yet! However, many of us have coaching since before there was a governing body. And as an organisation we have been specialising in what many call “resilience” since 2009. We have seen an empty field grow around us with people who decide they want to do the same. We have not moved from this specialty. Others have joined us. As Jonathan’s teacher will have told you, some things take time. Our clients find benefit in this experience as they can translate it into significant savings of money and time.
Being in the Room Where it Happened.
The second extraordinary environment was P&G (UK) in 2001-2004. Jonathan found himself leading P&G’s efforts to improve coaching and people management standards. This introduced him to one of the most important business trends of the last 20 years – research based coaching and people management.
At the time there were very few companies that specialised in it. The best was Performance Consultants who were the pioneers of business coaching in Europe. It was founded by Sir John Whitmore, psychology pioneer and former European Racing Car Champion, David Hemery, Olympic gold medal winner and David Whitaker, the gold medal winning coach of GB men's hockey in 1988, the first world title for a UK based team since England won the World Cup in 1966. It was an amazing time and delivering sessions with the founders had a massive impact on Jonathan’s coaching performance.
In 2004, Jonathan left P&G to found ALP. Early 2005, he joined Performance Consultants as a partner with a view to taking over the firm. However, fate had other ideas.
Jonathan’s first coaching program with David Hemery and Sir John Whitmore. Mind expanding in everyway!
Learning the Hard Way so You Don't Have To
Whilst becoming business partners with the founders of coaching sounded good, the reality wasn't so great. When Performance Consultants was split up in 2006, he went back to running his coaching business and running a property business. This was to offer Jonathan life changing lessons.
“In 2008, I suffered a burn out and near total collapse as I struggled to handle the effects of the Global Financial Crash. This is a picture of how I looked shortly before the crash. I was mentally and physically unwell – being depressed and weighing 240lb (111kg).
I realised that most of the conventional performance advice fails when you are in a genuinely turbulent situation. I had to find the right way to bring me back so I had the idea to research how people handle actual life and death situations. I then figured out how to make those ideas work in my (non-lethal) context.
In 18 months, I had completely reversed the damage I had done; lost an eye watering 30 kg (5 stone or 70lb in old money); recovered from a severe depression and set up my business for the next decade. To demonstrate and celebrate the recovery I completed two triathlons in a week raising $5500 for Great Ormond Street Hospital. (Picture two)"
Our Unique Battle Tested Approach to Corporate Stress
Jonathan’s unique insight – study the most extreme situations and then scale that back for day-to-day situations is the opposite of most other consultancies. Most suggest special actions for difficult situations. There’s no evidence to support this approach. The ALP approach means that when stuff gets real, your approach gets even better because it’s returning home.
This was the topic of Jonathan’s first book, Stress and Success – Fast Fixes for Turbulent Times published in 2013. The book articulated our unique approach to corporate stress – a way to build resilience, agility and high performance. It received a satisfying amount of critical acclaim. Tom Peters, the world’s first truly global management guru, and author of In Search of Excellence, said it was “extraordinarily provocative and excellently researched.”
Esports- the test site for a post COVID world
In 2016, Jonathan had just completed his second book. The research into the future trends that were shaping our commercial world had left him shaken. He was wrestling with the challenge of preparing his children for this much changed landscape. He stumbled across the emerging field of esports- professional video gaming, particularly a game called League of Legends. This started as truly crazy 2.5 years that was as crazy as it was successful. His team, the LG Dire Wolves, won four successive Oceanic Championships. And in 2019, he joined Fnatic as a trouble shooter and helped them make it to the Quarter Finals of the World Championships. This made Jonathan the first and most successful esports performance director in the World.
“After helping Fnatic have another miracle run at Worlds, I decided to return to business. What’s remarkable and extremely worrying is that many of the problems in this seemingly irrelevant space are now center stage in a post-COVID world. For example, undiagnosed mental illness is rife in that space. Also, few leaders do anything to help shape the community or the environment in which they operate. The standard of leader in that space is low and is causing massive problems. Values based leadership is almost non-existent. All these things are sadly things that mainstream leaders will have to deal with in the next few years. The struggle I had trying (and failing) to get esports team to change things means I have had three more years to think of ways to tackle these problems. It was immensely stressful at the time but I am now grateful as I can help leaders of normal businesses.”
ALP's 2021 mission: Help 100000 People Bounce Back Better!
Sadly, research and experience of crises show that people tend to fall over some time after a threat has passed. It’s when we feel safe to take stock of the challenge that we realise how much it has taken out of us. Our challenges are really only just beginning. This means that to lead the recovery, we need to be at or near our best. This isn't a time to despair but to get to work.
What’s fantastic is that our work shows that it’s possible to not only recover previous levels of wellbeing, but to return stronger. We developed our first recovery protocol in 2010 and can now do in 2-6 months what took Jonathan 18 months of experimentation. We are launching a series of corporate offerings – most of which will be online.
We are also running a series of free podcasts and seminars to help as many people as possible. We have secured the involvement of some of the world’s leading performance experts including a Stanford professor, one of the world's top evolutionary biologists, the world's most published military psychologist and co-developer of the world's largest psychological intervention, and the head of the world's biggest coaching program.
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