Sustaining Executive Performance - Ideas for Leaders

Sustaining Executive Performance

How the new self-management drives innovation, leadership, and a more resilient world

About Author/s:

Steven P. MacGregor is a practice-based academicwith more than 10 years experience in world-leading research on sustainability and innovation. A former national duathlon champion he has trained with Olympic athletes at Stanford where he was a visiting researcher, andwith Tour de France riders and Ironman winners. He runs the Leadership Academiy Barcelona (LAB) an executive training program focused on health and performance.


The connection between good health and good mind goes back to the dawn of time. The Roman poet Juvenal coined the phrase "Mens sana in corpore sano" in the first century AD. Before that the Ancient Greeks believed that the mind was strengthened by athleticism. Plato was a famously good wrestler.

Core Idea

MacGregor has researched this ancient wisdom and in his coaching and executive development work brings new knowledge to today's leaders about this connection between health and sustainable executive performance.

'Whole person' development is increasingly more accepted as vital, as oppposed to just developing people from the neck up. The links between what you eat, how you exercise and critically how you sleep all now empirically show their impact on how you think and perform as a knowledge worker.

MacGregor also draws on scientific studies that show the influence of modern work practices, particularly electronic devices, on how we live our lives and so perform. He highlights the importance of recovery as part of peak performance regime – top athletes spend far more time in recovery, letting their body restore itself after performing, than they do in peak performance – why should executives be any different with their minds? And yet, most managers and leaders spend their days flat-out and then recover only with a glass or more of alcohol late in the evening, probably infront of a screen.

A key element of the Sustaining Executive Performance approach is also to build resilience. Every executive knows that they will be knocked back, out-maneuvred, disappointed at times through their careers – and the ability to bounce back is vital.

The SEP program takes you through five steps: Move – Recovery – Focus – Fuel – Train.


This highliy readable book draws on the history of health and performance from the ancient Greeks onwards, but focuses on case studies of orgaizations that have grappled with putting more sustainable, people-centred work practices in place – such as Unilever, Marriott Hotels, and Mars.



Also, why not also listen to our podcast with Steven MacGregor? (Subscriber only content)

  • Title: Sustaining Executive Performance: How the new self-management drives innovation, leadership, and a more resilient world
    Author/s Name/s: Dr Steven P. MacGregor
    Publisher: Pearson
    ISBN: 978-0-13-398-700-3
    Publishing Date: January 2015
    Number of Pages: 236

Author Knowledge Rating: 1-5 (based on their years of experience, academic expertise in subject areas, and exposure to cross-functional thinking in the area)

Readability: 1-5 score(1=dense and v academic; 5=frantic; page turner)

Appropriate Length: (1=could have been written in 25% of the length;5=could have been longer)

Core Idea Value: (1=nonsense (or entirely esoteric); 5=game-changer)