New Book Shows How Average Performers Can Become Superstars

Nov. 22, 2006 – Have you ever wondered why some people are so much more effective than others who undertake similar tasks in equivalent circumstances? What do the high performers do differently? The Winning Companies: Winning People research programme examines how people operate in important areas such as building relationships, bidding, pricing, purchasing and exploiting know-how.

Over 4,000 organisations from smaller firms to major corporations have participated in the University of Lincoln programme led by Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas. Some 2,000 of these have contributed to studies to identify critical success factors for key business development activities. The findings are remarkably consistent across sectors, professions and different sizes of organisation.

Because most success factors are attitudinal and behavioural, investigating teams can distinguish the approaches of high performers or winners from the practices of low achieving losers. The results are summarised for the first time in ‘Winning Companies: Winning People’ (Kingsham Press) *.

According to Prof. Coulson-Thomas, ‘The book is good news for people and organisations who would like to raise their game. It provides a compendium of the differing approaches of winners and losers for those with ambitions to build successful businesses and achieve their full potential. It can be used as a tool to identify losing behaviours that need to be addressed’.

In many sectors leading competitors have similar offerings, technologies and systems, recruit from the major business schools, fall for current management fads and employ the same professional firms. Yet examine a particular area of operation and huge variations of performance are evident. Why is this?

The Winning Companies: Winning People research programme ranks participant’s attainments in relation to outcomes achieved from the most to the least successful. The approaches of high and low achievers are then compared to isolate critical success factors that explain the differences of attainment.

Coulson-Thomas finds that: ‘Identified winning ways can be quickly adopted. Every participant in the research programme could boost performance by embracing additional critical success factors and adopting more winning approaches.’

The Professor reports: ‘Winners don’t work harder or cheat. They approach challenges and opportunities differently. Pioneers build critical success factors into the processes for key activities and adopt cost effective ways of helping people to emulate the winning ways of high performing superstars.’

Companies that excel at certain activities usually perform badly at others. Coulson-Thomas believes: ‘Were companies to adopt winning ways across the board overall productivity and personal satisfaction would increase by an unprecedented amount.’

Much corporate expenditure does not relate to critical success factors and winning behaviours. Prof. Coulson-Thomas reports: ‘Almost every company visited during the research programme was found to be devoting considerable resources to similar initiatives that would make little if any difference to outcomes achieved in areas covered by the investigation.’

Many companies are not aware of critical success factors and successful approaches to key activities. Most companies are unaware of why they are not more successful, and sometimes struggle to identify their superstars and winning behaviours that others should adopt.

Coulson-Thomas believes there is a huge opportunity to improve individual and corporate performance: ‘Even high performers could do so much better. In relation to competitive bidding the superstars in the top quartile of achievement are only very effective at less than half of the identified critical success factors.’

In addition to the ‘Winning Companies: Winning People’ book bespoke benchmarking reports can be generated that offer comparison with average and high performers and highlight areas to concentrate upon to match the achievements of superstars.

Professor Coulson-Thomas has helped over 100 entrepreneurs and their business development teams to build their businesses, reviewed the business development activities of over 100 companies and spoken at over 200 conferences and corporate events in some 30 countries.

*‘Winning Companies; Winning People, the differing approaches of winners and losers’ by Colin Coulson-Thomas (ISBN 1-904235-58-1; Price £19.95) is available from Kingsham Press: Tel. +44 (0)1243 779378; Fax. +44 (0)1243 779078; or on-line from

Details of reports presenting critical success factors and winning ways identified by the research programme and related bespoke benchmarking reports can be obtained from Prof. Colin Coulson-Thomas by Tel: + 44 (0) 1733 361 149; Fax: + 44 (0) 1733 361 459; email: and via or from

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