John Eliot

Author, Overachievement; Coauthor, Help the Helper

Combining inspiration and brain science to achieve extraordinary performance.

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Biography

Dr. John Eliot helps leaders achieve extraordinary levels of performance with a combination of inspiration, education and scientific tools for performance enhancement.

John's newest book is Help the Helper: Building a Culture of Extreme Teamwork (with coauthor Kevin Pritchard). John remarks: "What is it that makes truly special teams so special? In every industry there are one or two companies that are remarkable places to work — where being part of the group makes you tougher, more confident, and more energised than you could or would be by yourself. Help the Helper will teach you how to build a team like that."

His previous book, Overachievement: The New Science of Working Less to Accomplish More, combines the latest research in cognitive neuroscience with his own leading-edge work with high performance leaders, from executives at Merrill Lynch and top surgeons at the Texas Medical Center to artists at the nation’s leading Shepherd School of Music. John explains why traditional strategies for performance enhancement, like goal setting, relaxation and visualisation, just don’t work for most people and offers his own counterintuitive alternatives.

An award-winning athlete himself, Dr. John Eliot serves as a professor at Texas A&M University, where he teaches classes in human performance, sport science, and organisational design. During his time as an Aggie, the school has won nine national championships. He has also served as a consultant for the athletic departments at Stanford University and the University of Virginia, and he was the director of Rice University’s program in management and performance education, where his “Elite Performance” class was a perennial campus favorites.

John also serves on a number of boards, including the Methodist Hospital, the Texas Medical Center’s National Coalition for Drug-Free Performance Enhancement (which he presided over), and the Eliot School in Needham, MA; he has advised the president of Dartmouth College and two U.S. Senators. He is the cofounder of The Milestone Group, a performance evaluation and consultation firm.

Working with the MLB Alumni Association, Dr. Eliot launched the Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown Series — charity games featuring Hall of Famers playing with all the rules, equipment, and traditions from the inception of professional baseball in the 1880’s.

Raised by Olympic ski coach Rick Eliot, John won a Junior Ski Championship in Nordic Combined in Lake Placid in 1980… at the age of eight! He was Phi Beta Kappa at Dartmouth and All-American in both baseball and rugby.

John is a dynamic, enthusiastic speaker who, with his groundbreaking scientific approach, transcends the usual motivational speech to truly transform his audiences’ potential.

Client List

  • Houston Astros
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Goldman Sachs
  • NASA
  • The Texas Medical Center
  • Washington Capitols
  • USA Baseball
  • The Dallas Cowboys Golf Club
  • USA Track & Field
  • Xerox
  • Hospice of America
  • Texas A&M University

Credentials

  • Adjunct Professor, SMU Cox School of Business Leadership Center
  • Consultant, Stanford University & Stanford Athletic Department
  • Former Director of Performance Psychology, American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays
  • Former director of the Leadership & Performance Psychology Program, Rice University
  • Ph.D. in Health & Human Performance, University of Virginia
  • Phi Beta Kappa and Senior Fellow, Dartmouth College
  • Honorable mention, All-American honors, Rugby
  • Bill Koch Ski Champion in Nordic Combined, age 8

Books

Help the Helper

Building a Culture of Extreme Teamwork

John Eliot and Kevin Pitchard

What is it that makes truly special teams so special? In every industry there are one or two companies that are remarkable places to work — where being part of the group makes you tougher, more confident, and more energised than you could or would be by yourself. Help the Helper will teach you how to build a team like that.

Penguin (September 2012)

Overachievement

The REAL Story Behind What it Takes to be Exceptional

John Eliot

In Overachievement, Dr. Eliot offers the rest of us the counterintuitive and unconventional concepts that have been embraced by the Olympic athletes, business moguls, top surgeons, salesmen, financial experts, and rock stars who have turned to him for performance enhancement advice. To really ratchet up your performance, you’ll need to change the way you think about becoming exceptional-and that means truly being an exception, abnormal by the standards of most, and loving it. Eliot will teach you that overachieving means thriving under pressure-welcoming it, enjoying it, and making it work to your advantage.

Writers of the Round Table Press (14 April 2011)

Overachievement

The New Model for Exceptional Performance

John Eliot

"As Dr. Eliot has discovered through years of cutting-edge research in cognitive neuroscience and real-world coaching, techniques such as goal-setting, relaxation, visualisation, stress management, and flow just don't work for most people. He's proven that at high levels of business, medicine, entertainment, and sports, relaxing when the pressure is on is the wrong way to go."

In Overachievement, Dr. Eliot offers the rest of us the counterintuitive and unconventional concepts that have been embraced by the Olympic athletes, business moguls, top surgeons, salesmen, financial experts, and rock stars who have turned to him for performance enhancement advice.

Portfolio; Reprint edition (1 May 2006)
Portfolio (7 Oct 2004)

Topics

John tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

Overachievement

John shares keys to improving performance including:

  • The Mindset of An Overachiever — thriving under pressure, welcoming it, enjoying it, making it work to your advantage. Overachievers do not follow the rules we’ve all been taught: they tend to think that goal setting is for couch potatoes, "hard work" is overrated, and all those eggs belong in one basket.
  • Flipping Psychology Upside Down — focusing on creating happiness and success instead of the traditional medical/clinical model of finding "problems" and trying to eliminate "abnormality".
  • New Analytics — putting away the pencil and paper personality tests and standardised performance measures. They will only leave you stuck reinforcing the norm. If you want to pass your competitors, you have to evaluate the intangibles of individuals and groups, triangulate character variables, and get to the bottom of the question, WHY? And you have to go beyond decorations, rewards, and promotions when it comes to creating a winning workplace atmosphere.

Videos

Exceptional Thinking

Feedback

A global consumer electronics company:
JOHN WAS EXTRAORDINARY…it was one of our best sessions in years…he knocked it out of the park...I may want to book John again in Oct. for a Leadership Team Meeting…small team less than 15 executives.

John Eliot was TREMENDOUS. As a management group we debriefed after and in 25 years of guest speakers, could only come up with Colin Powell and Stormin' Norman as speakers were #1 and #2 to your #3! And that was the comment from all: "Geez, aside from Colin and Norman this is the best we have ever head. I personally speak to two employees a day for at least 30 minutes each and for the 6 people I have spoken to in those conversations, I have asked them all what they thought of the meetings and without exception they all called out either "John Eliot" by name or "the guest speaker" was awesome.

So, John, your message was extremely relevant to our audience, extremely well received and meaningful. I and the audience could not be more pleased and we’ve discussed how to integrate you more, [our leadership] and I feel strongly that more business units need to hear your message.

So, John, I can’t be any more thankful or give you any higher praise for your contribution to our meetings.

A global business process advisory firm:
The comments on your presentation have been overwhelming positive. You clearly made an impact on the audience. I've got a pocket full of cards from people who would love to have books.

Again, thanks for being here and making a difference!

Some further comments: Audience loved him. Best received speaker in the conference. Held the attention and was very animated. Right on target. Might bring him back for the next one.

Participant, internal Deloitte Consulting-sponsored event:
I really did enjoy your stories and your beliefs on becoming a higher performing individual. I have already implemented those ideas in my everyday life and in my current activities. I have already begun to see differences In my performance and my attitude towards new challenges.