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High Performance Teams with Phil Glasgow

Feb 13, 2023

Phil Glasgow is an incredible individual. He has worked in High Performance sport for 20 years supporting teams and athletes at major events including 3 Olympic Games, 2 Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup.  He works with the Irish Rugby team. He also has a PhD and is heavily involved in research.

In this episode Phil shared some absolute gold. Phil works in the corporate sphere too, so if you’re interested in learning more about performance mindset and mastery, this is the episode for you!

Get your pen and paper ready!

My Key take aways from this episode were:

  • A good leader helps to charter the course. Leadership is about moving a group of people forward, towards a shared destination, and enabling them and yourself to be the best that you can be.
  • In order to perform, you need to make sure that you have systems, planning and evaluation tools in place.
  • Greatness cannot be achieved alone. Success looks like well connected people who talk about "we" more than they talk about "me". We need to continually ask ourselves how we can be better together and continue to improve together.

Full Transcription:


Phil Glasgow, James Laughlin 


James Laughlin 00:00 

Welcome to lead on purpose. I'm James Laughlin, former seven-time world champion, musician, and night executive coach to global leaders and high performers. In every episode, I bring you an inspiring leader or expert to help you lead your life and business on purpose. Thanks for taking the time to connect today on investing yourself. Enjoy the show 


James Laughlin 00:39 

How much time do you invest in your brain? Well, look, our brain dictates so many things. It's our largest asset. We've got to look after it, right? But often we're putting things on our skin and we're doing all these other things that care for our bodies, but our brain dictates so much. I came across a product a week ago called Flow State and it's made such a difference. And look, they offer functional mushrooms that sharpen cognition, they really boost energy, and definitely strengthen immunity. And they actually use one of the key ingredients, it's lion's mane. Right? So, the lion's mane is popular among real peak-performing athletes and those wanting an edge. It's known as the brain mushroom. And it's currently being studied extensively for its nerve growth factor potential as a means to ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's and for treating inflammation in the body. Look, the thing I love about these products, they don't taste like mushrooms, you can mix them in with your tea. They're a great replacement for coffee, but I actually love the P.M. Mushroom Blend, the evening one. It helps me sleep. And to know that my brain is getting extra nutrients is just the next level. The one thing that's really important for me is what's in there. So, they've tested heavily at Hill laboratories for heavy metals, pesticide residue, and microbial, and also Massey University for active compounds. So, I urge you, if you love your brain, and want to go the extra mile to nurture it, head on over to flowstate.nz and you can use the coupon code lead on purpose to get 15% off. 



James Laughlin 

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get home. And I think what I am eating tonight is the last thing I want to do. I don't know what to cook, I don't know what's in the cupboard or in the fridge. And it often leads to poor choices like ordering some takeaway. So recently, Carolyn and I started eating green dinner table, and it's absolutely amazing. After a long day, when I'm knackered, I know that when I get home, there's going to be a great recipe and all the ingredients I need right there in the fridge. And look, I absolutely love it. I've been doing it for several months. And it means I don't have to think at the end of the day. And I just know that I'm going to get good, nutritious, wholesome food. And look, it's plant-based, which has so many benefits. So, if you're a meat eater, perhaps you might want to start on maybe just three, a three-day plan. So, you've got three evening meals for you and your partner or you and your family depending on what option you want to go for. But the food is delicious. It's so nutritious, and it means we don't need to think. And as leaders of families, teams, and organizations, what we put in our bodies is just so crucially important, so I urge you to go and check it out and I want to give you 20% off your first order. So, you can go to greendinnertable.co.nz and use the coupon code purpose. 



James Laughlin 03:51 

It's an incredible honor to welcome the first Northern Irish guest. Yes, I've got a fellow northern Irishman joining us today. So, hopefully, you'll be able to understand us both as we connect with our dialects. But Phil Glasgow is an incredible individual. He has worked in high-performance sports for over 20 years supporting teams and athletes at major events including three Olympic Games, two Commonwealth Games, and the Rugby World Cup. He works with the Irish rugby team. He's also got a Ph.D. and is heavily involved in research. He's going to share some gold with you today. He does a lot of work in the corporate sphere as well. So, if you're wanting to learn about performance mindset about mastery, today's the day. Sit back and enjoy the show. 


James Laughlin 04:57 

Phil, a huge welcome to the Lead on Purpose Podcast. 


Phil Glasgow 05:03 

Hey, James, super to be with you. And really great to join you today. 


James Laughlin 05:08 

I'm so excited. It's the first time I've had a fellow northern Irishman on the show. 


Phil Glasgow 05:13 

Hey, it's good to connect with the Northern Irish diaspora. And I hope people can follow our accents. Okay? 


James Laughlin 05:24 

I love it. Look, I just thought, the knowledge that you have the wisdom that you bring to the table, and the level you perform, it is just phenomenal. And for us to get a moment to share that space with you. I mean, we're all very fortunate. And the listener that's listening right now probably has a pen in hand ready to take some of those golden nuggets. So just to get the ball rolling. I'd love to ask you what comes to mind when you think of leadership. 


Phil Glasgow 05:49 

Okay, it's, a good one because, in some sense, leadership is everywhere. But over the last few years, there's loads of different things and different opinions and thoughts around what leadership is and people's use and, and a really basic level. I think when we're talking about leadership, the first thing to think about is people. And it's really because it's about taking a group of people on board towards a shared destination and enabling them and yourself to be the best you can be. And that ultimately, leadership is a function of that group, a thing that emerges as a consequence of being part of that group, to help the group and achieve something great. And for me, that's leadership, you can add on a lot of the other things that are still in the skills or specifics around what helps you do that well, but at the fundamental piece, it's about a group of people working together to do good things, and someone helping to chart that course. 


James Laughlin 06:47 

That's phenomenal. I love to thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate it. And in your life, if we go to your personal life, say as a young child, or a young man growing up, where have you seen that? Have you seen that around you whether it's at school, within the family, or something that you've been a part of where you've seen great leadership? 


Phil Glasgow 07:03 

Yeah, I think I think sometimes, and I guess, if I had spoken to you 10-20 years ago, I might have seen leadership as a title, a thing. Do you know that by virtue of Do you have a specific job or a role, I think as I've reflected more and been involved in this space, I think then looking back at my life, you realize that leadership was in lots of places, and really good leadership demonstrated that I guess, first of all, in my home, you know, work my, I think my dad, big, typical Northern Irish quiet, big, quiet country, man, you know, who quietly lead. But when he spoke, people listened. And so, I think that that even reminds me, I and I often come back to the leadership is not in the volume of words, isn't it, it's about action. And also, making sure that when you say something, it's something that's worth listening to. So, take time to really listen. So, I guess that was, something somebody was saying, maybe I could learn from my dad, or speak less. But that's something that I've observed and was really quite striking and surprised me at times that whenever people tell, my dad had said something that people really listened to. And then you see certain people as you go through the schoolteachers, they're the ones who would really firm, but fair, the guys that you didn't mess with, but you knew they were on your side to do that really stood out as examples, and you wanted to please, you want to do the best for who you wanted to. And actually, they asked you to do stuff you followed versus the others who were in command and control. And, you know, let's face it as a teenager, it's going to rebel against a little bit. So, you see these examples of some of these things through life and then working with some really great cultures over the years. Even when I was playing sports as a kid, I great the cultures and people I played with. And I think as I'm talking to you even, I think he just keeps coming out is that that people hope people lead that I really respect and respond well to is their way of leadership was an embodiment of who they were. And it wasn't a performative thing or a thing that was about getting people to do what they wanted. It was actually about the good of the group, I guess, which brings me back to where we were and how I would view leadership a little bit. Yeah, for sure.  


James Laughlin 09:18 

Yeah, there's a real congruence there between Yeah, what you could see that leader how they carried themselves by they were inspiring others to carry themselves and it was just so congruent the whole way. 


Phil Glasgow 09:27 

Yeah, yeah, for sure. And then I guess then as you go through your life and career as you interact with certain people, you see these traits show up time and time again, you know, with some great sports coaches or worked with some great academic leaders or business leaders. There is that sense of the ability to connect with the individual but have some clarity and not be afraid to make difficult calls but also take time to really understand. Being firm and fair. Do I think all of these things reflect even scenarios we chat, I can see that, you know, people I'm working with right now who are good leaders. And I see similar traits. But the other thing that even as we're talking, let's start over a couple of people who are really passionate about something was started, like, they really care, you know, what matters. It's not just a thing to do. And I think some of the best leaders that I've worked with, and I've observed, many of them are flawed, like the rest of us, like everyone is. So, it's sort of like being perfect. Everyone's got everything. But in that, it could be because of their intent, and the congruence and their passion for something, but covers a multitude of stuff, doesn't it? 


James Laughlin 10:44 

Of course, it really does. And, you know, in your current role, so if you don't mind share a little bit more about where you're currently working, and what's exciting about the leadership that you see within that. 


Phil Glasgow 10:56 

Yeah, so I guess there are, like many people in this space, a bit of a portfolio of things, but there was the largest component of what I do right now is working with Irish rugby. And I work across the whole system within Irish rugby. So, I guess, as a bit of background, before we deploy this into the context of what a performance for many years has been, I started off working as a physio clinically, and then over 20 years, worked in various leadership positions in that and also went through some academic development. And then as I shifted away from the clinical component into how you build a performance system to support performance really well. And so, as we're working with Irish rugby, at the minute, it's about the art performance support system. So, I lead the performance support system, Portugal program for Irish rugby. And it's how do we bring all of those the team behind the team and the coaches together with the players in the service of performance, so the performance sits at the middle, we're all wrapped around that. And so, my job, as I helped develop the performance support program with our key pillars around that, then is to ensure that we get good alignment, good coordination of people working together, and should we clear what we're doing to identify good performance questions and lead that so to build a system, a way of working that coverage across all of the provinces and national team. So, that's a big chunk of what I do. And then the other side of it then is a, I work as an executive coach across a range of domains and do some stuff with healthcare, a lot of stuff in business, tech, support leaders and leadership development, and really getting to spend meaningful time with people to help them be the best they can be. And through that whole coaching space, and the nice thing was, I think those two sides of what I do massively complement each other. I'm still involved in some research and postgraduate research and sort of working with some Ph.D. students as well. So, I always like to have that thing around evaluating why are we doing what we're doing. How can we make a better type of thing in a structured way? So that's probably the combination of what I'm doing right now. 


James Laughlin 13:11 

That's incredible, how rewarding and great the work that you're doing and such important work. And I think about that system, you talked about the performance system of Irish rugby. So obviously, I'm sitting here in New Zealand, I've got a number of friends who play professional rugby, and some of them for New Zealand, and there's a great admiration, and there always has been, and I've been here 15-16 years, and there's a great admiration for what goes on in Ireland. And the level of rugby and the level of professionalism, the depth that Ireland has really is particularly the last five and six years, the depth is starting to show. So, in terms of developing a performance system, if there's somebody listening right now, who runs a professional sports team, or who runs an organization in a corporate setting, how would they go about approaching creating their own performance system? 


Phil Glasgow 13:59 

Yeah. So, I can share with you a little bit of the process of how we've gone about it. I think the first thing I'd say is that in and across Irish rugby as there as many of our systems, whether they're sports teams or businesses, there are lots of really good people doing lots of really good work. And, from time to time, the secret sauce happens, and you maybe work really well together to do something great. But the question is, then how do you make that the norm, the habitual thing? So, I guess that was the same with Irish rugby, lots of really good people wanting to be good with sets, but how can we, you know, pull together and ensure that we're all aligned in the right way? So, I pulled together a group with all the heads of all the different areas together to really start to review and reflect on what we are going to do. Let's look at previous strategies. For example, let's look at the best examples outside of discipline around the world. Can we see any key themes or key areas emerging We think are really important? And so, we identified five key pillars and on that, and I can come back to them. But then the key thing with this, and I think this was the real keep it around, creating a program that was off the organization, and that man had a greater chance of success. What we did was pull together people from across the whole system. So, every team, so we're all of the four provinces and national teams from every discipline. So, whether that was a nutritionist, coach, whatever, and at every level, so, you know, I knew relatively novice nutritionist, for example, underhand coach setting, and we created some groups and adopted a very intentionally a dialogic approach, which was, how can we get in have a conversation, we had the group facilitators to facilitate good conversations and allowed the erode each of these core areas, all that information to emerge. And then the job of facilitators was to identify where those areas of convergence, where their key points can be probed with good questions to really get from that, get our teeth into it. And I guess then, in the lab, what we find is that when there's a real richness, and what we find, and if we start talking about getting that cognitive diversity in the room, so we're really getting from every area, so our five political body, mind, people place and research and innovation. And so how can you do those things really well? And then from that, I guess my job then was to synthesize all of that information back together, and then create, what are some of the big themes? So, are there common themes coming from everyone around how we do things? But then, what would that look like then if we put flesh on the bones? To try and limit and then create a, rather than a strategy or, or a specific linear process to say, okay, would not rather what we do, how do we do it, then? No, what does this mean when we limit it along with specific tactics? So I think that's a very long answer, James, but in that one, it says, take time to understand what are some of the things that seemed to be important for you in your area, you know, so for us with body, mind, people, place, research, innovation, then engage with the group with get that cognitive diversity, don't go in with an agenda, but allow the information to come and facilitated with good dialogue allowed to emerge. Look for trends and convergences and similarities, identify those and then build a system around that, because then when you present it, people will be, I recognize that because it's ours. And so, as you try to develop a system, it's the system of the group, rather than one person saying, I've looked at everything, and this is what I think you're going to do, which are two very different things. So, as it's a very long-winded answer there. 


James Laughlin 17:48 

That was beautiful, I don't really thank you for sharing that. And I truly believe that it's really good self-evaluation, is the seed of self-mastery, and really evaluating on those pillars, if we took those pillars, you know, what does that look like in terms of going back and revisiting and measuring oneself or the organization against those pillars? 


Phil Glasgow 18:08 

Yeah, and it's a really good point, I would agree with you, you know, it's, you know, the better we know ourselves and can reflect on that and learn to pay attention to what's important. So, we learn what are the things that we got to give our attention to, and things that actually we think might be important, but aren't so important, if you'd like, and so when, in going back into that, then thinking around those pillars we did was identified, we asked each of the subgroups that we went through that to identify your key recommendations or key tactics just start to develop what we will do develop and embedded in that was let's take something really straightforward, like the body part with the body is essential in sport. So, what is a world-class rugby player look like? We've got that. How do we develop world-class rugby players? What system is required to provide that? So, things like, do we have a line to prove clearly prove performance program planning for each player with clear physical outcomes that we want them to achieve? And targets? We got an integrated approach between national and provincial staff there. And so, when we reflect back, we say, well, let's see this person's plan. What are their targets? Are we monitoring their progress over time? And is there clear integration between national and provincial teams as a way of reflecting where we are? And if there isn't, why is that? Is there a very good reason for that whole what's going on? So that's a really simple example. But then you just got to expand those principles and apply them to each of the other areas too. 


James Laughlin 19:44 

Fantastic. And what are some of the greatest challenges and obstacles with such a massive system? 


Phil Glasgow 19:55 

I think the biggest challenge is always going to be challenging. immediately springs to mind. But for me, the biggest challenge is not people's intent or recognition and saying, Yeah, this is important, and we got to do it, because everyone will listen to that we talked with, yeah, let's do that's, that's great. The challenge is always the busyness of performance when we get caught up in doing stuff day in and day out. And so inevitably, when the pressure comes on, and this plays outside of sport to clearly, business life, generally, when you've got a game next weekend, and you're busy, it's hand down, and do the thing that's in front of you. And the ability then to lift your head up and get out of the weeds and see what we need to do and think, is there a better way of doing this? Can I connect with other people more effectively, most people will revert to their area, or their domain, or their land and do it really well. And so actually getting people to stop, lift their heads up, connect with the wider group, and say, can we do something collectively becomes a challenge, not because they don't think that's important, but because of the sheer just pressure and busyness of life. So, my role is often about being really intentional about creating those opportunities to ensure we get alignment and coordination. I think, I think for me, that's the first thing, the second thing, then that that comes in, it's just, you know, people, isn't it, you know, you know, people with different views, different opinions, different priorities, and then working with people too, to say that this collective ownership and purpose around this is what's important, and this is why we want to do it. And so, for me, those are the two things, helping people to lift their heads up and see the wood for the trees, and recognize that we're better when we work collectively. And then the second thing is just, the interpersonal component of getting everyone on the same page and getting consensus and getting on them and creating a safe space for people to really give their opinion and contribution. 


James Laughlin 21:57 

Amazing. Seriously amazing. And I think about this performance system. And I guess one thing that springs to mind is for you, what does success actually look like? If that system of high performance was to just be in high gear. What would success look like? 


Phil Glasgow 22:15 

Yeah, that's a great question, James. And I think it's a great question. Often ask yourself at times is, what does success look like for me right now? Or what does success look like for, say, us as a system or for any of us? To me? This is what it looks like to me. And again, hopefully not too long will find an answer. There are three big things that I think I would say if this were working well, you know, I always think when we're answering questions, what would you see? What would people be doing? What would it feel like? Yeah. So, which is very different to will win a World Cup? Yeah, or will do that. Because if it's a reductionist thing to that you lose the essence of what it is the winning their matches, they can't, not what the program is there to help develop and increase your chances of winning miniature tournaments. So, as a bit of a preface to that, what I would say is I would see people who are well connected, they're connected with each other, they look and say, they realize that they can't be good on their own. For me, it's impossible to be great on your own. I absolutely believe that. And so, it's about the collective. So, people struggle to look at things in the sense of they talk more about us than I listen, what can we do, rather than what can I do? So, we start to see their sense of identity in the collective. Number one, I think, then what it is, is that it's very active and performance-oriented. So, it's not that we're here having a great time together as a bunch of buddies and that's all good and we stop there. But it's actually known, what can we do? And then we're clear on what good looks like, we're clear on what it takes to win and how do we do that together? So, our activity is driven by performance, rather than my preference, or the things that I enjoy doing? Yeah. And then what we do I think the third piece fits really nicely with that is how do we continue to get better and improve together? So, let's reflect, learn, adapt, and review. And how can I then push things forward and learn from each other? So, we get good quality conversations, which are about constantly making ourselves better. So, for me those three things are what you see if it's working well, we're connected, we think about ourselves as we rather than an I collective, we, we're then doing that and using our collective energy to achieve great things together and deliver stuff on our activity is driven by performance on our collective goals rather than an individual one. And then we have a mutual working together to review and reflect to get better. That's what it looks like and it's good. 


James Laughlin 24:39 

It's fantastic. And a couple of things, as you shared that really resonated with me and the whole idea of focusing on the route, not the fruit, and you talked about, hey, you know, it's not about winning the world cup. It's you know, that's the fruit there. That's the World Cup. The root is focusing on process focusing on culture. You're focusing on people focusing on behaviors, skill sets, and mindsets. And that came across as really strong as what you just shared. And the other thing that came across as like, a part of that process of focusing on the root is this continuous commitment to mastery. So, I'd love to explore if you're up for it. Let's talk about mastery. 


Phil Glasgow 25:20 

Yeah, anyone who knows me knows that that's, we'll start talking about mastery. It's something I love talking about you. I've always been, I've been fascinated by it all my life, I really have actually tell you where it started. So, you'll see behind me, you'll probably see part of the thing written on the wall, Seamus Heaney, who, who grew up just a handful of miles away, Nobel laureate board from Northern Ireland, grew up a handful of miles from where I grew up. And he studies, poor grade school and everything, but there's a there's famous poem is called digging. And there's a line in it, you know, he talks about, you know, he describes his father digging, okay, and there's this line with, you know, of how his father's dignity, by God, the old man could handle a spear is one of the lines in the poem. And then it finishes with the cord that's actually on the wall behind this is between my finger and thumb, the snot pie and rest and take with it. And growing up, I'm a country boy. And I can remember years ago, when I was a kid growing up, and my dad was digging. So anyway, I really identify with a lot of that. But my dad was taken, I can remember digging as well. They're really struggling, James. Been really hard, what is going on look at him. And it's effortless. It's like podium motion. But I remember, my dad said, you hold the spear like this, you know, apply the pressure to the log of the spear in this way. And actually, as I started to put it into practice, as he taught me, oh, hang on, there's an easier way to do something. When you could talk to someone, there's a skill. And actually, when you learn and master this thing, this thing then goes from feeling like work to feeling like something that is easier, and they're smooth, and there's a beauty to it. And so, I can remember that being quite impactful for me. And that I feel like that is the mantra of my life is like, I'm not taking what I have in my hand this pan that sets my hands Snug as a gun, I'll take with that, and he'll eat with that. It's you know, and he could humble a pen. Yeah, in the sense that he became a Nobel Laureate. And so that idea of taking time to really understand what you're doing to become a student of your craft, to constantly go, I think in a dialogue with your environment, and the tools and the materials that you're using to understand and say, how can I become really good at this? And who do I need to listen to? How can I get better at that? And so that is something that just really resonates with me. And so, when I see people who are good at what they do, I want to say, well, what are they do, I want to, I love to watch them, whether that's a craftsman making something, whether it's, you know, someone making cocktails and throwing things around, you know, that you see whether it's a sports person or a leader. When you see people who've taken time to really master their craft, will walk us into and how do you begin, and for me, that he began to understand that, and then you realize, I guess, coming full circle back to that idea of the day, and you realize that the spear became an extension of the person. And so, the thing that you do becomes an extension of who you are. But it doesn't define what you are. 


James Laughlin 28:43 

I love that I see them as they are still powerful. What you just shared. And a couple of things came to mind as you shared that one was, you know, musician, sometimes you'll see a musician play, and you'll be like, whoa, that instrument is part of their body. And when they're playing, it's like they are one with the instrument. It's an extension. Same with the great athlete Serena Williams, just like that tennis racket belongs in her arm. 


Phil Glasgow 29:08 

Absolutely. Yeah, that's a really, that's a really great thing to do sort of spotlight there, James. I think, you know, the musician and, and Serena Williams who think of those as a good example, then what that does, it gives them the ability to express something of who they are, and to interact with the world in a different way that they wouldn't have been able to do before. The other thing and I'm doing a project at the moment with Professor Seamus Kelly from university colleagues in Dublin, and then also Professor Sean Dorrance Kelly. They're no relations whose dinner philosophy at Harvard and we're looking at the phenomenology of high-performance environments and that idea of what it means to be really good at things and these guys have looked a lot around Heidegger and mastery and craft and so on. But there's one thing that Sean would often say is that when you become a master and something, said, The World reveals itself to you in a different way. So, what I'm saying is Serena Williams sees stuff on a court in a tennis match, she's planned, she sees that all experienced in a different way than I will, and she feels different things from the head of her racket than I ever could, because she's become more attuned to your environment, and are able to pick up on the little subtleties. And then that enables you to interact and express yourself in a very different way. 


James Laughlin 30:42 

That's incredible. And I mean, I can relate to that from a musical standpoint of being a young drummer in Northern Ireland and learning what that was about and playing with bagpipers and figuring out all these basics. And then to a point where you're doing it for years, you're mastering skills to the point where you're thinking of the smallest of dynamic articulations, and how that feels and how that comes across. It's yet very, very much a journey of mastery. 


Phil Glasgow 31:06 

It's one of my favorite quotes. I really like this. There was an Austrian pianist in the last century called Arthur Schnabel. And he was famed for his performances. And it was, and it was asked about, you know, what was at the heart of his ability to perform in that way. And it's great, he, his response was the notes, I handle like anyone else, to put the spaces between the notes, that's where the magic lies. Wow, I go to that, or so. And so, for me, it's learning to pay attention to the spaces between the notes because everybody's got the same notes. But he, how do you put them together in a way that then creates something in the hole that is more than just the sum of the notes? 


James Laughlin 31:57 

100%. And that's when you shared that with me felt like I've listened to you speak. And for the listener that's listening right now, I know, there'll really love what they're hearing, but I would urge them also, to go and check out your website, I will put a link in the show notes, but and check out some of your public speaking performances, you're a real orator. And the space that you put in between your notes in between the words that you use, it's so powerful. And I feel like as a person listening to what you have to say, you make such an impression, not only because of the words you use but because of the space. So, it's interesting that you bring that quote to the conversation today. 


Phil Glasgow 32:33 

I appreciate it very kind to say that first of all, I appreciate that. And I guess it's anyone who's good, if you think of great sports people, great rugby players or, or musicians, artists, you know, they learn to pay attention. There was a great article last year, in the Sunday Times, you know, the UK, Sunday Times magazine. And you had Hockney, you know, the artist who's in his 80s lives in France. And the title of you knows, that was on in the magazine, and it was a dry couple minutes. And you notice more with each year, I thought isn't that great. And as he described it, and why he continued to paint in his 80s and produce some great work. He said, as he continues to paint, he notices new things and little things, noticing more with each year. And I think that then the way to become really good at anything I believe in terms of to master is learning to pay attention to the things that are important to the really good things and as we reflect, we think well what's important here? And we learn that sometimes think wisdom is the ability to know what to overlook and what's not important. And if you don't, we're going to tell a story of research we did a few years ago at Ulster University as a visiting professor, there was some research we did at Ulster, looking at golf coaches. So, we got some good golfers from our part of the world. So, what we did, there was some research, looking not so much at the golfers but at the golf coaches. And we looked at expert golf coaches, and novice golf coaches, and used some eye tracker software to look at what the coaches were looking at and record the good what the coaches were and the feedback that they were giving to the golfers. Wow. So, what we saw with the novice coaches, is they looked at lots of different things. Their eyes looked at lots of points. And they gave a lot of feedback, a lot of instruction. We took the expert coaches, and they looked at fewer things. And they looked at them for longer, so they knew what to pay attention to. And in their feedback. They give very simple, very short, clear advice on one thing and so the expert coaches look at a few things you know what to pay attention to. And their instruction was clearer and less sort of dispersed. Whereas the novice guys were looking at lots of things and giving lots of information. And that resonates with me in my own journey. And what do you observe often, you know, we think we got to, we got to win and over a coach. We have got to change everything, got to look at everything. And for me, it's learning what to pay attention to, and then saying, how can I change the important things? 


James Laughlin 35:34 

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James Laughlin 36:46 

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James Laughlin 37:51 

Hmm, well, that's gold. And it's interesting that you explained the novice coach and the expert coach, I almost my mind caught the novice coaches and started thinking of them as a consultant like I'm here to solve. I've got all the answers like just listen to me. So true. Versus the coach, the expert, the guy that's asking one question, rather than giving you the feedback, maybe just asking you one question that really gets you to think about one specific aspect. 


Phil Glasgow 38:16 

Yeah, and that's, we think then, you know, of coaching in its broadest sense, whether that is in sports coaching, or whether it's executive or personal coaching. Actually, what you find is that it's the same there aren't people who pay attention, they listen to what you're saying, then, and they start to say, oh, I think this is the important space. Let's pull there a little bit more. Here's, here's where the changes are. And actually, listening more, I'd say less, I think was the hallmark of many great coaches. 


James Laughlin 38:45 

Yeah, yeah. And I'm with you on that. You know, Steve Hansen, formula with the All-Blacks great example, wouldn't say much. But when he did, you know, it was focused on some really key metrics. Marty, who's running the Canterbury rugby here in Christchurch at the minute, the same thing, where it won't say lots and lots and lots of things, but we'll focus on some real key metrics. And when he does speak, you know, there's real power to it. So absolutely resonating with that 100%? 


Phil Glasgow 39:10 

Yeah, it's and, you know, that's it's not a bad approach to life generally, isn't it, you know, to take time, really pay attention. There's, there's another quote, I can't remember who said, I think it was William James, I'm not sure in a book in the late 19th century who, who said, no, this isn't 18th. 19th century, which doesn't mean as you know, he said, our experience of the world is what we agreed to give our attention to. And so, we live in it more than ever, you know, I don't want to sound like the old guy. But more than ever, there are so many things vying for our attention, you know, our phones and payphones and so on. And so, what I choose to give my attention to will determine my experience of life. And it'll also determine my ability to get really good at anything, and how I react and interact with the world, or I am in the world. And so that's a thing a bit to think about where we're giving our attention to what's important here and take a little bit of time. And then as I reflect, on my experience, my life bit in the last year, what's experienced my growth, pain? Where have I been addressed my attention, you know, and I think it's, it's a nice way to reflect in terms of giving, keeping our attention focus when we need to, and then open in a way to maybe get new exposures in the right things. And at the right time, I think that the thing around how we give our attention is really key. 


James Laughlin 40:40 

Yeah, and I really feel like your actions always reflect your priorities. No matter what you say, it's what you do, where you're placing your attention and your focus, and your time. That's really what your priorities are, right? 


Phil Glasgow 40:52 

Yeah, yeah. And I guess that's the important statement, that's, it's a really good way to put it is that you know, because I've given my attention, or that's the thing that I prioritize, and that's how I'll be in the world if you like, and, and so, you know, to me, then if we want to change how we are in the world, the place to start is, we change what we give our attention to.  


James Laughlin 41:14 

Yeah, that's so powerful. And in terms of the concept of mastery. So, for the person that's listening, right now, they could be applying that too if they're an athlete, it could be a planet, they're if they're a leader in a business, it could be a plane of air, but where else can mastery show up in your life? 


Phil Glasgow 41:29 

I'm very much of the thought that mastering is almost a way of being rather than that. For me, it shows up in everything, whether that is in parenting, whether it's in two projects that you're trying to do around the home, do you know that you're trying to master to do that? Well, but also then, in, you know, in our work, in how we interact, perhaps with people that you're managing or coaching? Really pentester? How can I get good at this and reflect? And I think about some of the things that we see. So, there's, there's a few different models that talk about mastery, one that I like to look at and use and the Sean Kelly, who mentioned from Harvard that we work with his mentor was Hubert Dreyfus, and who had written sort of famously the Dreyfus model, skill acquisition or mastery expertise. And so influenced by that, and the Dreyfus model is really quite nice. So, I like it, I wouldn't say it's the only model there. But it's really nice. Some of the things that may describe looking at people like chess grandmasters, or, or jazz musicians, chefs or artists, and so on, people who've mastered things. And they describe the traits of people as they move through these five stages to get to mastery. So, it's a really recommend, it's a really nice model for people who want to follow up and read, you know, as you go through the different sort of, from novice to beginner through to develop an expert read into sort of expert or master level. But what we see in people that are at a mastery level, is they're able, we're sorry, if we start at the beginning, people tend to start when they're beginning office, and obviously, they follow rules, and checklists. And if I see this, they do that. Yeah. And by the time you get to mastery, people will just look at it. And they'll, they'll go, Yeah, I can see, and I recognize, and I can feel it. And I know this is what I need to do, I need to respond. And so, it's, they see the big picture beyond the big picture view like they see the broader context. And they're able to, and this is really key, they're able to reflect in on and for action. So, before they do, they're reflecting on what have I said before. What am I saying no? And when they're doing it, and actually, in the act of doing what they're doing, they're able to say is, how's this working for me? Do I need to change it so they can reflect on their moment of actually doing it? And then afterward, there's a constant cycle of reflection, how did that work for me? What can I change, How can I use that information to help get better? And then it becomes something that they care deeply as the other big thing around experts, they care deeply about wanting to be good. So, for me, it's impossible to be good at something you don't care about. And until that, how that shows up in life, so it's something you care about, and something then that you really want to think about getting better. And then that adds to you to your life and becomes a positive thing. And you're not following sort of this checklist or rules all the time, but you're seeing the bigger context. Think that's the source of the state of mastering, and that can be applied in any context.  


James Laughlin 44:34 

Yeah, I love that. It's, it's interesting. I go back to performance as a musician when I was younger, and sometimes you'd have seven and a half thousand notes that you'd play in a bit of four- or five-minute period, and various dynamic articulations various tempos time-space, crescendo, diminuendo, time, signature tempo change. So, as I got better at that and developed those technical skills, I was then able to detach a little bit from the performance. And as you mentioned, I didn't know the details of this. But like I said, relating it to my experience, I was able to play a Swiss ruff, which is like four notes very quickly. But it's very detailed. And as I'm playing it, I'm like, oh, there's a bit of tightness in my right hand there. Okay. I've got it. I can just micro-adjust before that fourth note, and it's happening in a millisecond. But I'm first learning this Swish Ruff, it's very monotonous. It takes time. So laborious. And then after, right after the performance, there's this hot debrief like, oh, that was rough in the fourth part of that tune? And, yes, all the things that you said, I was like, yep, tick. That makes sense. 


Phil Glasgow 45:43 

Yeah, no, that's brilliant. That is such a great example, there, for me articulated really perfectly. And it is, it's amazing to think that you can almost have that perspective in the doing of something that for the novice doing, it's like, how do I even make sure I'm holding that stick in the right way? But when you get to that stage, you're feeling things that somebody else just can't feel, you know, and you're at, you're able to attend to stuff and respond in a way that other people can't. And when, when you try to describe what you're doing, it almost is impossible to really describe it. Because then you break it down into its constituent parts. And one of the coaches said are things that I like, and is probably perhaps often misquoted, or maybe it's a slightly different quote, I don't want to misquote or they're just two separate things, is, you know, a lot of code changes a lot of Gestalt type of approach to with coaching, but the film sort of Gestalt statement where is, and we often hear, you know, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Yeah. But actually, if we go to Gestalt, what they say is, the whole is something altogether different from the sum of the parts. Because when we put it all together, we create this thing that is completely different from that, because if we just put all the parts together, it's not that it gives us something more, it gives us something altogether different. So, the example I like using is, you know, I take some milk, some flour, and some eggs, you know, I can make a pancake. Yeah, the pancake is not more than the sum of the parts, it's something completely different. And I can't extract the parts from it. It's punk. Yeah, that's a great way to look at it. And so, when we put it all together, that performance of what you do is not just the sticking together of a lot of notes. It's it becomes a thing and often so I would actually argue that leadership is not all of these skills, just well, your communication skills, which are important. So, all these skills are important, but let's be clear, persuasion skills, coaching skills, thinking skills, strategic thinking, all of the inventory of leadership skills that we see over and over again, being a good leader is not just putting those altogether, it's something altogether different, where you draw on those things at the moment to create something that's different. And, if you try to reduce it to that, it ceases to be what it is. And your performance would cease to be a performance if you just reduced it to those things. So, it's not more than it's something altogether different bundles 


James Laughlin 48:20 

That's so powerful. The whole idea of the pancake is when you look at the key constituent ingredients, you'd like they look nothing like what the end product looks like, there's no- 


Phil Glasgow 48:29 

Yeah, for sure. And so, you know, and so human beings, you know, we're pancakes, it didn't really how was the metaphor, but you can see that we're not all of those constituent parts are something altogether different, you know, and you can't, you can't separate them out. And the minute you start separating out the parts, it ceases to be that you can't, he can't take it out of its if the context and the moment and in the world in the time. And that's what that reductionist linear approach to a lot of research and I think a lot of skill development often dies that no at the beginning, you got to make sure you got all those parts really good quality ingredients, for sure. And you think of the sports person, they can have lots of individual skills, they can pass a ball, well, they can, they can, you know, talk a well, whatever that might be. But what makes them good players is their ability to put all that together in the moment on the pitch in the game, isn't it?  


James Laughlin 49:28 

100%. Every single time. And something I wanted to touch on as well, was just the whole role that mindset plays in performance. And just what your take on the level of importance is, working on mindset at the high-performance level. Where does that sit with you? 


Phil Glasgow 49:47 

Yeah, I think you know, everybody, I've said everybody there but a lot most people and a lot of people be very familiar with, you know, Carol Dweck's book, the famous mindset book or you know, Growth mindset versus, you know, that sort of fixed mindset. And I think that's, it's a super book, if people haven't read it, it's a, it's a really super book, that she then takes examples from a really wide range of things in life. And she uses a lot of sports examples when she has that idea, I'm not good at this, I'm someone who hasn't got the ability to get better at stuff or, you know, I'm just, I'm just not that good at tackling. Therefore, I'm going to get stuck and be fixed in this space. Whereas we think, well, here's an area that I am maybe not as good at. So, here's an opportunity for growth for me to get better. And so, what do I need to hide? I respond to this challenge. And so, I think she synthesized a lot of really good research and articulated it really nicely. But then I think it's slightly different from a performance mindset. But it's a really important constituent part of a performance mindset is that I think the first thing is that everything is an opportunity to get better. Everything you do, I think a performance mindset for me is getting how can I be better today? How can we be better collectively? And I think the distinction and it almost goes back to what we were chatting about earlier on, is when you're really clear what is performance, what good looks like, we've got a shared understanding of that. And that then all my actions and everything I give my attention to is about making that better. And so, performance mindset for me then is one that we're constantly looking to improve all the time, not simply just to go out and perform. But in order to achieve that purpose we're there collectively. And so that then if that's the starting point, that percolates down to everything we do, and I think a performance mindset then is how can we make our environment better? How can we improve our changing rooms? How can we structure our day in a better way? What about our own interactions with my teammates? What about me, then how can I be better at the specific skills and the role I play within the team? How can I help other people get better to do so you start to see a performance mindset infiltrates everything? Worse, I think some people, at times I've heard this idea that a performance mindset is about being super focused just on yourself. And it's about working really hard and doing extra hours and, in the gym, or in the park or whatever, that can absolutely be part of it. But for me, a proper performance measure is to see and perform what it is, which is off the collective and off. And then if we do that, we recognize that you know, we're all or I might just be in this order, that means the whole team, we're all there in service of performance. And so hopefully, I'm not going off and two, four times it stopped me This is great. And so, I work for the UK Olympic sports system for 14 years. And, you know, was involved in the leadership group through Rio 2016, with Team GB there, and we were not good. We set up I started working on 2002, long time, 20 years, oh, my goodness, 20 years ago, on that, and we were trying to set up systems which didn't exist before. And in those days, and I still think still happens. And I understand why. And this could easily, particularly context, so hopefully it won't be that it was okay, we're all here, you put the athlete in the center. And then we're all around the athlete, in order to help the athlete, perform, I actually think it is it's different than that I think performance is in the center. And then we work with the support group collectively as a group as a team, and service of performance. And the athletes want to execute that performance at the moment. But it's not that we're doing stuff to or for the athlete, we do something with the athlete, and they're part of the team. They're side by side working together for this thing, which is performance. And then that changes every interaction with it. If that makes sense. 


James Laughlin 54:13 

Oh, that's mind-blowing for me. So, I think that all too often we put people on a pedestal and how dangerous that can be for individuals. But how about we put a performance on the pedestal? That's just so healthy, that's so measurable, we can all collectively, as you say hand in hand, work together to create the best possible optimal performance rather than the person on a pedestal. 


Phil Glasgow 54:42 

Yeah, that's so good. Such a good point. Because at times, then, you know, that's a tough place to be when people are on the pedestal, as I remember a few years ago, and I'll say well, Bonnell, we do is obviously Irish, the We were account with the Irish rugby team and bonobos and come to talk to the team. And they're really, really great to listen to. And a very wise guy really reflective. Really super. But there was one thing that he said, well, here's loads of things that he said, that really stuck with me. But one of the things he said is that, he said, no, it's not that we are great. The first thing he said was, well, I can't be great on my own to do because we need it, it's the band, and he made the other guys there in order for us to be really good. He said, that's not the work that we said, but from time to time, we access greatness. That's good. Actually, when you look at that data, that's almost like an ancient Greek idea. It wasn't that there were these people who were great. But you had this opportunity to access greatness. So, for me, a performance mindset is not about this thing. We pick this person unnecessarily. So, they're great on a pedestal. But collectively, we as a group, enable that person to access greatness. That's really powerful. really different, isn't it? 


James Laughlin 56:06 

Yeah. I love it. I'm great at that but you can tie Bonnell into that as a bit of a conduit, a bit of inspiration there. 


Phil Glasgow 56:14 

Yeah. And so, for him, then he said, well, then, when we perform at a concert, from time to time, you got those moments where we, at that moment, we do great things. But it doesn't mean something like the next day, whenever we go to ride the normal business that we regret. Yeah. Which I think is good, because it's healthy. We're not putting these guys on pedestals. So that whenever they're not great all the time, or they don't have to carry that burden, or none of us have to carry that burden. I don't think the pressure has to be great. But I can say, can we together do great things? Sometimes, that's very different. 


James Laughlin 56:50 

Very, very achievable, and very much a collective focus rather than an individualistic approach. 


Phil Glasgow 56:57 

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And, and then, you know, that's it comes back to the old Ubuntu, isn't it, you know, I am, is who we are person, as opposed to other persons as Desmond Tutu said, that ideas, it's all for the collective. And I can only be grid in the context of who we are, then know that starts to change. That's much healthier, I think. It enables us to recognize that at times, it'll pedal and flow. And hey, that's the joy of the sport. And, you know, anybody, I'm not a good golfer. But you know, sometimes with some of the things that can be so frustrating, you know, if you hit a really sweet shot, it's great. But the next shot can be if you're really terrible, you know, yeah, I know that. You do it for a really great shot, don't you understand that time I go, that was great. I don't all of a sudden, everything changes, because my next shots are terrible. That's the point we're in pursuit of getting more great shots each day. And that's, that's to me, the performance mindset is about a man's pursuit of doing more great shots every time. 


James Laughlin 58:10 

Yeah, I love that. And I love that you're bringing Ubuntu into it as well. So, I'm a big fan of Nelson Mandela. Obviously, that became a big part of his and Desmond Tutu's towards, and it's interesting. A former All-Black player of Pacific Island descent was asked, Hey, what's your purpose? And he went, oh, that feels weird to me. I'm like, What's weird? What's yours, what's your purpose is, I don't have a purpose for myself. Because I've never thought about my purpose in the world, it's about what's right for my family, my tribe, and my team, is, I just, fear that I've got something to contribute. My passion and my purpose are to just contribute to the greater good this is not about me. And I thought that was really cool that the idea of personal purpose, which there are so many books written on what is your purpose on this planet? 


Phil Glasgow 59:05 

Yeah, you remind me as you talk, and hopefully not going to fail here. So. So if we think of a broader concept of all things I'm hesitating, because hopefully, it's Yeah, he'll be canned and open. So, if we think of areas like that broader sense, what it means to be human and live well in the work, you know, is and because that's, I think that's all wrapped up in this too. But the whole idea of purpose and passion and why we're here and what we do is, then what I like to think is there's my story, there's our story, and there's the story. And this guy, Richard Rohr, who is read a lot of stuff he talks about, like, it's like, you know, an egg or I think more of like a Russian or buscador you know, so yeah, so my stories here, but it's always going to be encapsulated with North story. Yeah, because it's never independent. But actually, that then it sits within the story, the big story. And so, there is not my story without our story, or there's not our story, the story. And so, if I just focus on this one little thing in the center, I lose sight of the big picture stuff, if that makes sense. And so, as I can only fully express who I am, in the context of how I relate to our story and the story, and I think that's what she said, the player that you described from Pacific Island heritage was describing that his story was so caught up in the story and our story that it was indistinguishable from. And I think that's a much healthier way to be in the world because we would if we, I don't have the gravity to support the orbit of the world around me. It's like, it's, it's not about me. But it can't be about us. It can't be about the big-picture stuff. And so how do I contribute? And what's my role? What is the little part of my story, and how does that contribute to the bigger story? Yeah, we can do that. 


James Laughlin 1:01:06 

Phil, where do you just take that? I just think it's a beautiful place. And I think there's so much for the listener to take from that really simple way that buscador was the perfect way to explain that. And I can see that playing out at home, in the family setting where sometimes, as a 15-, or 16-year-old, it is literally all about me, right? Other places and on the sports field, other places in the corporate setting. I mean, that to me is just so powerful. The thought of theirs then there's the me that us the story that says really, I really appreciate that that's a great share. 


Phil Glasgow 1:01:39 

And one of the things then I say often I do particularly around some of my coaching practice or supporting some companies or on our own on how we make decisions, I'd say, you know, so, therefore, you know, what's a good decision, dear, a good decision, that one that's good for me, for you. And for the project or the company. Not all, not one of these things. So, we think that then that doesn't look good, because then if it's, it's sometimes people are forced to say they're just good for the company, and then I'm not coming out the wrong side of it, or it's good for the other person. But actually, if we can use real wisdom, if you like, erode what's good for me, what's good for you, and what's good for us, or the company or the project or the base, then I think we start to make better decisions. And it's what, this has been a really wide-ranging conversation, but it's what you are Aristotle, you use the term for a nice sense common term in your lineage in Greek in terms of for nieces and is that ability to deliberate well and have practical wisdom, and to make decisions for Estonia. This was the Greek word about the human flourishing of also having to live a good life, said sometimes no, that meant you had to do things that were challenging and difficult. What the furnishers resulted in things that were good for the greater good that Athens in the Greek world is really big. So that idea is how can I deliver it? Well, how can I make good decisions? How can he then ground it in the real world, and then it becomes more about me, and more about the Greek term as human flourishing, or my which is a word or with my flourishing. 


James Laughlin 1:03:20 

That's really powerful. I love that you're bringing all that into it and you're very well read and the way that you're able to articulate it means someone who hasn't read up on this, can really deeply understand it. I'm sure the listeners feel the same way. So, Phil, that's honestly a real talent that will take the wisdom that you haven't really applied to our modern, chaotic, Fallon world.  

Phil Glasgow 

It's been random.  


James Laughlin 

I think humans are random. So, it's perfect.  


Phil Glasgow 1:03:50 

It's been good. 


James Laughlin 1:03:51 

I'm just so grateful that we've had this opportunity. I don't feel like this is the last time we're going to speak. I feel like there are lots more conversations to come in the future. 


Phil Glasgow 1:03:59 

I enjoy it less. I really enjoyed chatting and I guess like, like all good conversations, they take paths that you don't always maybe anticipate, but absolutely enjoy. 


James Laughlin 1:04:13 

I've thoroughly enjoyed it, and I've got one. Just one last question, if you don't mind before we wrap up, for sure. If we were too fast forward to the end of your life, and we're hoping that's many years in the future, and it's your last day. In fact, it's your last five minutes. And a very young person in your life comes up to you who's very dear to you. It could be a grandchild or a great-grandchild who says, Hey Phil or Hey, granddad, how can I lead my life with purpose? What advice would you have for them? 


Phil Glasgow 1:04:45 

Great question it's nothing putting someone on the spot, I guess for me, there's when you were speaking there two big things immediately just come into mind. So, I'll go with what came to me as you said now. I think firstly, life is, first of all, most about people make it about people rather than about a thing, because it's in the collective people, we do things. And then and that's best then to say as you encounter your life on an everyday or in everything you do, say, how can I be useful in this space? And if we can finish our life, if you like, in that sense of going, it's been about people and enriched other people and I've been useful, then you'll have lived a good life. I absolutely believe that. 


James Laughlin 1:05:39 

That's just beautiful advice. That's amazing. Thank you for sharing that. I really, really appreciate your opening up and sharing that with us. 


Phil Glasgow 1:05:44 

No, pleasure, pleasure, and no, it's been great. I really enjoy it. Super questions will probably reflect and have a much better question our time. 


James Laughlin 1:05:54 

Well, I look forward to really connecting again and if we don't get to connect before the big shindig there in October of the World Cup next year, you know, best of luck obviously I live in New Zealand and I'm a kiwi now, but the other half of my heart is in Northern Ireland and Ireland, so I just speak shaitan for both teams to play to the absolute best 


Phil Glasgow 1:06:13 

Yeah, that's leaving it hopefully we're we don't meet in the quarterfinal again. We can leave it for later on would be the best thing for sure.  


James Laughlin 1:06:22 

Phil, thank you so much. And I look forward to speaking with you soon. 


Phil Glasgow 1:06:26 

Pleasure. Talk to you soon. Thanks, James. 


James Laughlin 1:06:44 

Thanks for tuning in today and investing in your own personal leadership. Please hit that subscribe button. And I'd love it if you'd leave me a rating and review. I've got some amazing guests lined up for you in the coming weeks. And leaders. It's that time to get out there and lead your life on purpose.