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Finding Your North Star: Patterns, Purpose, and Performance with Dr. Ivan Joseph

Finding Your North Star: Patterns, Purpose, and Performance with Dr. Ivan Joseph

How can teams go from good to great? High performance organizations have one thing in common. They have a north star that grounds them — a guiding principle that goes beyond their mission statement, values, three-year strategic plan, etc. It defines who they are and what they do at their core. 

An award-winning coach, Dr. Ivan Joseph tackled one of this year’s most requested topics at Showcase 2024 — performance. Ivan has spent his career leading cultural transformation and building cohesive teams, serving as vice-president and director at four North American universities over the last 25 years. Drawing from his first-hand experience, as well as his background as a sports psychologist, Ivan shared insight into how leaders can disrupt patterned behaviours to optimize performance and enhance team cohesion.

“All of the speakers were amazing and I loved their messages. I really appreciated Dr. Joseph’s talk and know he would be a great fit for us in the future.”

Showcase 2024 attendee

Disrupting Patterns

As humans, we love a good pattern. They help us focus on what we’re good at. But to maintain high performance, we, as individuals and teams, need to be able to recognize these patterns so we can disrupt them when they stop serving us — when they limit our ability to innovate, to be excellent, to be exceptional.

The world doesn’t stand still, Ivan said, and neither can we. We have to be ready and willing to be flexible, or risk being left behind. How? It begins by recognizing our “good enough” work. When we feel that feeling, Ivan said, we have a responsibility — an obligation — to reconnect with the purpose behind our work, not just as organizations but as individuals. 

Align Individuals and Teams Through Purpose

Our purpose, or north star, Ivan said, serves as our guide when we become stuck. But aligning teams with purpose is only the half of it. True alignment means doing your part as an individual as well. “That’s where the magic happens,” Ivan said. Without that piece, misalignment runs rampant and that’s when you start hearing, “not in my job description.”

We see misalignment a lot in the recruiting stage, Ivan said. We’ll show new talent the shiny bits of our organization to get them in the door, hiding the wrinkles, the warts, and the blemishes. But it doesn’t take long for them to break free from the shadows.

High performing organizations recruit on the front end, Ivan said. They lead with their north star — this is who we are and what we’re about. Ivan experienced this firsthand while working at Graceland University. Located in rural Iowa, he was having trouble recruiting and retaining talent, even though it had a great track record of Olympic alumni. This was largely because it was located in the middle of nowhere, allowed no alcohol on campus, had no bars in town, etc.

Ivan didn’t shy away from sharing Graceland’s blemishes and his list of interested candidates went from 500 to 6. But those 6 people, he said, were talented in terms of loyalty, trust, and work ethic, and his team became national champions.  

“Engendering trust and loyalty begins with who are we and what are we about. And when that purpose is reinforced not only are we able to disrupt the patterns, we’re able to achieve excellence,” Ivan said.

Prioritize Social Cohesion

Alongside purpose, relationships are crucial in optimizing performance. “Many studies have been done on how we can predict who is likely to win a championship,” Ivan said. “Everybody guessed the team with the most money, the team with the most talent, the team with the most all-stars. No, no, no. It’s the team with the most fist bumps, high fives, chest bumps, gestures of love and affection…”

It’s important to leave space for social cohesion, to take a break from tasks and foster connection. Ivan likes to start each of his meetings with 10 minutes of conversation, including something as simple as, “who here prefers cats over dogs?”

Practice Affirmations

While fostering team performance, it’s equally as important to focus on our own performance. What we tell ourselves counts, Ivan said. We are going to fail in life, but the failure doesn’t matter as much as what we tell ourselves about it.

There will always be people telling you that you aren’t enough, Ivan said. Don’t add to that conversation. If an athlete makes a mistake, he continued, you’ll see them clap, take a deep breath, or point to disrupt any negative talk. Replace that talk with affirmations.

This is not voodoo or superstition, Ivan said, this is a scientifically backed performance enhancement. Saying just three affirmations a day can make you 17% more productive, solve complex problems 27% faster, and increase your sales by 27-33% year over year.

Hire Dr. Ivan Joseph to Speak at Your Event

With decades of experience leading teams through change and cultural transformation, Ivan understands firsthand the stress and resistance humans naturally experience during times of uncertainty. In his dynamic and engaging presentations, he shares specific strategies to help leaders and their teams move past fear, set higher expectations, and overcome failure and setbacks.

Ivan leaves audiences inspired and hopeful while sharing entertaining stories from his life’s work of bringing people together, bringing out the best in them, and help them to overcome overwhelming odds and achieve unprecedented levels of success.

Contact us to learn more about Dr. Ivan Joseph; his Showcase 2024 topic, “Finding Your North Star: Patterns, Purpose, and Performance”; and what he can bring to your next event.