During my 12-year-old daughter Annie's recent piano camp, I rediscovered a universal lesson useful for everyone young and old. A great performance, just like superior results in any area of work or life, does NOT just magically appear. It's the end product of tremendous effort — pursuit of passionate purpose in itself.

Whether you're giving a speech, making a point at a meeting, convincing teammates to take the right course of action, striving to close a sale, or playing a Sonata, these PRACTICAL POINTERS apply:

PURSUIT involving: Preparation, Persistence using a 'divide and conquer' approach, Practice, Support of a community of people, and Performance
ASSESSMENT of Progress and Celebration


Consider Annie who attended the Suzuki Institute Music Camp in Beaver Creek last week and performed Muzio Clementi's Sonatina Opus 36, No. 3 with the Faculty String Quartet. This remarkable event started when Annie's passion for piano playing was combined with the purpose of performing in the honor's recital. She pursued this goal by preparing — relearning the piece by dividing the movement into sections, sections into phrases, phrases into measures and then conquering them note by note. She mastered first the right hand, then the left hand, and integrated them together. This required consistent, daily practice. Constructive feedback from her teacher helped her get ready to create the audition video. Other people, like her parents, also supported the effort. Next, the Suzuki Institute's teachers reviewed hundreds of audition tapes and selected Annie's.

Yes! This was an exciting accomplishment and progress toward the end goal, which further ignited her passion, clarified her purpose, and set off the next round of pursuit — more practice with her teacher and a performance coach and preparation with the proper attire. When we arrived in Beaver Creek, there were special rehearsals reviewing every detail of staging, entering, bowing, breathing, coordinating with the string quartet, testing the 9-foot Steinway grand piano, and final polishing of the piece with a master instructor.

Finally it was time for the real thing. It's no surprise that Annie gave a magnificent performance receiving great applause and many compliments. Afterwards we celebrated with peach pie and ice cream! This positive experience greatly built her confidence and she's now ready for the next step.


If each of us only took all of these steps in preparing for performances in work. Having worked with many coaching clients — both organizations and leaders — to help them successfully pursue their goals, I have seen the extraordinary results this approach can bring, whether it's building an entrepreneurial venture, launching a new product, making great presentations, or anything else you're passionate about.

Let me know about your own performance successes. Here are some I've been involved with:

Boundless Corporation, a leading supplier of lithium-ion battery packs. TMS helped them revise their business plan and present it to their Board of Directors for review and approval. This was a performance unto itself!
iCAST, a non-profit helping communities implement sustainable development. TMS helped them take their strategic plan to a new level, receive approval from their Board, and begin to execute the plan.
Five Teleconferencing Companies. TMS built and ran Customer Advisory Councils and Forums which strengthened customer relationships and generated revenues for all of them.

by Theresa M. Szczurek (


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