AITC Weekly Connect – Walk beside high performers

At the AITC, a site meeting happens once a week for every year level. Here, information is delivered to young people about an upcoming event or employment opportunities. Recently it was asked “why is it important to have good people around you”?

The response that came from a particular Year 11 young person was very insightful.  

Mimicry is a crucial component of the learning process, and it begins at a very early age. As an illustration, if you watch an adult and a 3-month-old baby interact, the adult will stick their tongue out, and the 3-month-old will reciprocate. This usually is followed by laughter or smiles from both the adult and the 3-month-old.

Sport on TV presents another case where mimicry plays out. We’ve all marvelled at the skill and coordination of some of the nation’s finest athletes as they work towards winning or achieving. In particular, the cheer of approval that rains down from the crowd as they perform ‘feats of brilliance’ in their chosen sport is particular captivating. This then turns into ‘us’ trying desperately to accomplish what was seen on TV. Even to the point where we comment our way through the play, yearning to achieve and mimic the finery of skill and coordination witnessed on TV – albeit, a more clunky re-enactment. 

From the high performing to the simple, mimicry is a learning tool we all use. Moreover, these mimicked behaviours are further condoned and reinforced by the crowds that witness and surround us. 

Turning back to the site meeting. The insightful line provided by the young lady in Year 11 was clear and powerful, “you are the average of the five people that you hang out with.”

In other words, the high performance and the simple behaviours played out by individuals will be the group’s average. However, suppose the individual mimics the behaviours of those within the group. In that case, those behaviours of the individual will be the ‘feats of brilliance’ achieved by the whole group. Put simply, you are only as good as the group you hang with. To have this understanding at such a young age is incredibly powerful 

Making a choice to associate with the particular group will affect the performance behaviours of the individual. Suppose an individual is high performing, along with the rest of the group members. In that case, the behaviours of the group will be high performing. If the behaviours of the individual are low performing, then these low performing behaviours will impact the group.

It is crucial to understand that the group an individual associates with needs to collectively strive for high performing behaviours. If members are not engaging with such behaviours, then those individuals impact the group as a whole – “you are the average of the five people you hang out with”. 

The call to action is a simple one. First, find a group or individual who wants to be high performing. Then, continually challenge those who exhibit low performance to improve. Challenging the low-performance behaviour takes courage; however, challenging those individuals will encourage them to choose. The individuals will either; disassociate themselves from the group and leave, or they will rise to the challenge and further bolster the group’s position as a high performing group.