LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Fill a banquet room with professional, Type A personalities, put them under the whip of Trevor Moawad, director of the Athletic & Personal Development program, give them a timed task, then stand back and watch the fun.
Perspiration breaks out on brows, faces turn red as the blood pressure rises, gales of nervous laughter sweep the room. And there's lots of trash talking -- at the appropriate time, of course.
Moawad brought his message of continual self-improvement, mental toughness and a positive outlook -- the same message that IMG uses to help world-class athletes get even better -- to the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance meeting at the Polo Grill on Wednesday.
"I don't know if a great attitude works all the time, but I know a bad one does -- negatively," said Moawad, whose father, Bob Moawad, was an original contributor to "Chicken Soup for the Soul."
The need to get a little better every day applies to people of all ages, Moawad said, quoting the late Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's:
"When you are green you grow, when you're ripe you rot."
Part of any organization growing stronger is the leader who is able to share the responsibility, Moawad said.
Often the difference between exceptional performance and good performance is the leader who instills a set of behaviors and habits that allow players to perform consistently, especially under pressure, he said.
"We are human becomings, not human beings," Moawad said.
Then there was the pop quiz he gave his audience, actually a grid of numbers, in which participants had to cross out a certain number of selected numbers in 30 seconds.
So far, so good. The next time participants took the test while a partner watched. And in the final and third time, participants took the test while their partners razzed them.
Results varied, but proficiency often fell off in the heat of competition.
Warren G. Simonds, vice president/chief marketing officer of Willis A. Smith Construction, said he scored 6 on the first test, fell off to 1 on the second under the scrutiny of a partner, and rebounded with a 7 on the third round, the one noted for the trash talking.
"I had to focus more," Simonds said of the adjustment he had to make to the stepped-up pressure.
Marc A. Simms of RPM Business Advisors said many of the tips offered by Moawad are similar to how he advises clients.
"You are what you think about. The only thing you can control in life is what you think about," Simms said.
The power of the subconscious and positive thinking was one of Moawad's themes.
"Whatever I am saying is my reality," Moawad said.