PERFORM 587 - Elite Performance Development
18 August 2011

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Where Business meets Sport

The dream began when my father took me as a 7 year old to play as a very junior member of an under 12 Sunday football team in Brighton.  My sporting debut at the highest level saw me represent Cambridge University against Lancashire (my one and only first-class cricketing appearance).   It culminated in September 2005 in Milton Keynes with a 586th and final professional football match.  

Hence the name of my company - Perform 587.  Where the lessons of elite sporting performance are transferred and applied into a commercial setting.  Where business learns from sporting experience.

I am the only professional footballer of the modern era to be educated at Cambridge University, where I obtained a degree in software engineering.   The journey that I followed allowed me to enjoy a professional football career spanning 17 years, four promotions, three relegations, a play-off victory at Wembley, play-off loss at the Millennium Stadium, an ever-present season in the Premier League with victory at Anfield, defeat over Chelsea, being sent-off at Manchester City and humiliation at Old Trafford with a 9-1 loss. I captained QPR under Ian Holloway, an experience in itself!  I also spent 5 years as Academy Performance Manager at Tottenham Hotspur FC.

So what factors led to the fulfilment of my boyhood dream and how did it happen?  Was it in my genes?  Was it the environment in which I was brought up?  My belief is that, yes, these play a part.  But I have identified other contributors to my success and I know that these can be reproduced effectively in whichever field they are needed.

  • Have a vision

Something challenging but attainable, something exciting, something that you believe in.

  • Structure the journey

The overriding ambition may appear daunting.  Break it down into manageable parts and the journey will be more achievable.

  • Enthuse the journey - love the process

Bring enthusiasm and joy to the process.  Ambition will flourish and other distractions will fall away.

  • Live your values

What's your moral compass? What's the line you won't cross? Inner calm contributes to the quality of decision making and inherently to the quality of life.

  • Dedicate to the journey

Believe the dream and pursue it with a relentless energy. But balance the journey with the other parts of your life as this underpins and supports your effort.  Balance is the key.

  • Share the dream with trusted allies

Delegate, involve and acknowledge the contribution of others.  Insecurity limits the depth of success.

  • Be flexible on your journey

Be resilient along the journey - it won't all go to plan.  There are many inspiring stories of sports people overcoming adversity to succeed.  Lance Armstrong is perhaps the seminal example.

Since finishing my time in sport, I have investigated, interpreted and generated these markers of performance.  They are backed by personal experience and anecdotes.  They are supported by my own development and qualification as an NLP Master Practitioner. 

This is the basis of Perform 587; the objective of my organisation is to pass on and nurture the principles of success to individuals who have ambition in a business environment.

To find out more about Perform 587, please contact Steve Palmer by email ( or by phone (+44 (0) 7872 543 482).