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Entrepreneurship & High Performance – with LEGEND Oliver Kahn

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“The philosophy of high-performance-teams”.

The Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and the House of Entrepreneurship organized the Annual Keynote conference today at the Springbreak fair “Entrepreneurs’ Days” at LuxExpo – The Box.

Michel Wurth, President of the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce welcomed the audience with the message:

“Goalkeepers and coaches share the same responsibility of leadership, to help their team to perform at their best, while minimizing damage and always keep moving forward.”

Etienne Schneider, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, stated:

“To succeed, we need a TEAM.”

To be at the top, Schneider said, we let us be inspired by the best, and left the stage to Oliver Kahn, three times world’s best goalkeeper and former captain of the German national football team. Khan delivered a very interesting keynote, titled: “The philosophy of high-performance-teams”.

For top performance, apart from the standard list of achievements, such as; constant practice, always try to beat your best, have inspiring targets, believe in yourself etc., we need one more factor. Many are those who say “but, I do all that, and I still can’t improve my results, sell more, make more money, have more freedom”, or whatever it is we want more of. Instead or reaching the goal, we end up with frustration, and in some cases: burnout.

“Today, for the long run and sustainable high performance, we need a feeling of satisfaction.” – Oliver Kahn

Skills and qualities are important, of course, says Kahn. But adds that, in order to reach the very top, we need to humbly want to BE THE BEST, today and tomorrow. A question one must answer to reach the top is: “What do you need to do today to be your best tomorrow”?

Kahn shares that the day his career as goalkeeper ended, his life went from being in the bright spotlights, and then someone pulled the plug out. Complete disorientation and no sense of direction. What do I do now? An excellent piece of advice from Kahn is to prioritize having clarity on THE BIGGER PICTURE of your life. In a new environment; new job, new career, new family setting, new challenge of some sort, your “great skills” may be worth nothing. Kahn shared a very powerful situation of how after his career he was invited to comment on an important game, only to discover that his great skills, such as being ready to fight, physically strong and courageous to lead, served for nothing behind a camera in a TV studio.

One part of sustainable top performance is to be flexible and ready to always develop ourselves further.

Find the answer to the question; what is it you want to do? And then take it to the next level with: WHY? Why is it important to you? Sometimes in life, we have to be ready and willing to redefine ourselves to gain new ground, like Kahn had to when he’d played his last game.

To be THE BEST, we have to OBSESS about wanting to be the best, or we simply won’t be the best. Not obsess in a negative way. But as a strong passion and love for something! To beat the competition, be ready to do the unexpected, and go beyond the normal. That will set you apart from the rest.

Going for top performance surely involves you doing something you do very well, AND – make sure you do something that is of great value for people around you. Kahn shares: “A great thing to do is to support the younger leaders, who have their challenges ahead. Be there to encourage them and pour into them”.

What is the result you want?

This is not an easy question to answer. Most people don’t have a clear answer to it. When you make an effort to finding YOUR answer and get crystal clear on what it is you want, you make it easier for yourself to actually hit your target. If you’re not sure about what you want, it’s like trying to shoot at a moving target. You may hit, if you’re lucky. But how will you really know you hit the right target, if you’re not sure what you want to begin with!?

Two common factors for all top performers is that:

  2. They always HAVE A PLAN.

Many of the younger generation seem to think that they will do well without a plan. That they perform better on impulse, “living life to the fullest”… But it’s the same as not having crystal clarity on what you want. How the heck will you hit your target if you don’t know what it is, and you don’t have a plan on how to reach your goal?

When you have defined what you want, you will automatically be more productive. The clarity will become your driver, you will want to reach your goal faster. This is not rocket science: it is easier to take action when we know what action we need to take!

How come then, if it’s so “easy”, that most people don’t achieve what they say they want?


We are fearful of the failure that might come if we take a risk and try. This is a thought most minds is familiar with: what will people think if I fail? Sometimes it’s of great help to put things into perspective, so how about this for a change of perspective?

“One billion people watched me fail.”

Playing on a national team, and being watched by fans from all over the world includes both being a hero if you win, and the discomfort of all those fans knowing about your “failure” when you don’t win. It’s an art to develop the skill of learning from our failures, and have the courage to try again. Do it better! It’s less painful and much more comfortable to learn from our successes, but of course, the biggest power comes from learning from our failed attempts. Finding courage again after “failure” is difficult, and it’s what sets the successful people apart from those who can’t find the courage to try again.

“When you fail, always find the courage to try again!”

At the peak of your success, stay WIDE AWAKE. Keep looking for opportunities to grow and improve, find better ways, smarter, faster. If you want to have sustainable and long term success, you must always be willing to give your best. The hidden pain of those who are always “on top”, is that they always work hard for that success, they always bring their A-game and always plan their next best move.

A high performer always considers themselves to be at the beginning of a journey and always strive to get further.

Oliver Kahn concludes his keynote with these three key points for sustainable peak performance:

  1. CLARITY: you need to know exactly what it is you want and WHY you want it.
  2. PRODUCTIVENESS: always plan your work and work your plan, without burning your candle from both ends, and show your courage.
  3. HABIT: make it a habit to create sustainable peak performance results.

“Do what makes you feel fulfilled!”Oliver Kahn

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