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Entries for the 'Clutch by Paul Sullivan' Category

Thought Leaders Unpacked -> Clutch #1: Focus (Part 1)

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

thought-leadersAs I speculated in my post of October 28th, I have now indeed selected Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t by Paul Sullivan to read for our next Thought Leaders Unpacked™ series.

I have selected it for my own sake more than anything else. While I believe it holds great value for all of us who consider ourselves lifelong learners, I am looking forward to taking the spotlight of Sullivan’s insights and shining it on myself.

I’m not so concerned that I might not show up well against the characteristics of “clutch” performers as I am with my ability to be honest about where I need to learn and improve.

Chapter #1: Focus

As we dive into the first chapter on Focus, I am initially struck by Sullivan’s method of using a single story to explain what all his research on focus reveals. I suppose I expected multiple stories making the multiple points. Once I settled in with his style, I became absorbed with his content.

My first take-away came from distinguishing between focus and concentration. I would describe concentration as paying attention to one thing at the exclusion of everything else. She was concentrating so hard on her spreadsheet that she didn’t hear her phone ringing.

Focus, on the other hand, I would describe as paying attention to one thing and seeing everything else in its light. She would not approve the corporate retreat (more…)


Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I heard Paul Sullivan speak yesterday at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica. The subject, of course was his book, Clutch: Why Some People Excel Under Pressure and Others Don’t.

While much of the audience wanted to cling to a romantic definition of “clutch” that was significantly different than Sullivan’s, I thought he did a great job of carving out a specific angle that both set the stage for his research into extraordinary performers as well as make “clutch” performance attainable for anyone.

Specifically, he is examining how some people can continue to do what they are capable of doing on an ordinary basis under pressure. The key being, “do what they are capable of doing on an ordinary basis.” This is not a book on heroics, luck or extraordinary achievements.

I’ve already purchased my copy and am considering using Clutch for my next “Thought Leaders Unpacked” series so that we can think through Sullivans observations together.

He works his way through five characteristics of “clutch” performers.

  1. Focus
  2. Discipline
  3. Adaptability
  4. Being Present
  5. Fear and Desire

He also offers three reason why others do not perform well under pressure.

  1. Failure to take responsibility
  2. Overthinking decisions
  3. Overconfidence

Keep your eyes and ears open for my decision about the next book we study together in “Thought Leaders Unpacked.” Clutch looks like an interesting, practical, and encouraging option.

If you are in Los Angeles and not attending the Milken Institute’s free forums, you are missing out on a great resource. They invite extremely interesting people to introduce their latest books in the context of an open forum. There is time for Q & A and always a book signing.
Thought Leaders Unpacked” is a regular column on this blog where we read a key book together, and I post my reflections on one chapter each week. My reflections are my own and are intended to generate conversation, catalyze additional thinking and encourage mutual learning.