Sooner or later everyone encounters a situation in which the stakes are high and the outcome is vital. And even top performers can crumble when faced with such extreme pressure. Consider the CEO who panics in a desperate attempt to shore up his company’s earnings, the veteran politician who grows overconfident and loses to the upstart candidate, the quarterback who carries his team to the Super Bowl but falls apart in the final quarter. All of them choked.
But then there are the performers who thrive under such conditions: the ER doctor racing the clock to save someone’s life, the lieutenant who leads his platoon to victory after an ambush, the young attorney who refuses to be intimidated in court and wins the crucial case.
These people are clutch. Their ability to overcome extreme pressure consis- tently and beat the toughest odds fascinates us. How do they do it?
According to financial reporter Paul Sullivan, clutch performance does not stem from an innate ability. It’s a learned skill — the art of operating in high-stress situations as if they were everyday conditions. Some of the most experienced and talented performers lack this skill, but Clutch shows that anyone can develop it.