…maybe it still sucks. Coach, you should constantly be asking questions and setting up assessments. “How will we know?” is a great question to ask whenever making plans or adjustments. You need to know how you’ll know if it’s good!
Perhaps it’s purely outcome questions like “did we win?”. However, maybe you win with a bad plan. In that case those simple outcome questions don’t get the job done and won’t work so well the next time. If you ask questions like:
-was our communication up to our standards?
-did we work hard on the things we said were key?
-were we mentally tough?
-did we support each other like we said we wanted to?
you give yourself a chance to improve your processes.
When you have the questions determined in advance you can really know where you stand and how to improve, incrementally, on the things you say are most important. You’ll have consistency of process and things you can measure.
You can manage what you can measure. Tweaking the stuff that’s not broken to be even better is how teams and players really improve. Usually, if it ain’t broke it’s probably does not suck, but it still deserves a look. Have a system to make those looks means regular assessment, built-in productive communication and consistent opportunity to improve.
…and he is us. Walt Kelly’s Pogo cartoon characters had many insights and this is one pertains to coaching quite often–usually we are our own biggest problem.
We get in our own way a lot and sometimes we don’t even know it, or admit it. Take a look at the things in your world that you consider problems and ask yourself if you’ve been totally clear with yourself and everyone around you as to what is important and what is expected.
There is no such thing as over clarifying.
I’ve read lots about the power of positive thinking. I consider myself a real optimist.
There’s lots of doubt in all of us, however. Even after 27 plus years of coaching at the college level I’m often found wondering how big my next failure is going to be. There is so much that can go wrong.
Our players have plenty of doubts as well. We encourage them to “stop thinking” we tell them all about strategies that allow them to consider the positive outcomes…
One of the simplest ideas is that of replacement thoughts. Don’t fight the negativity with more negativity (“stop being negative!”), simply replace that with something else.
The replacement thoughts don’t need to be the inverse of the negative, just something different. Choose your thoughts. Be in control.
I found that for years I would make plans, make more, put a few in place and end up loving or scrapping them based on any one of a number of factors. However, it was not until recently that I realized I was not getting the most of my ideas, or more truthfully I didn’t really know how I was doing.
I needed an assessment scale to know. It needed to be consistent and ask the right questions. For me it’s a simple green/yellow/red scale. The measure is well-defined everybody understands the language and we know where we stand.
Now that we always know how we feel about the plan and the outcome we can decide if we need to improve the plan, improve how we execute the plan, both or neither.
That knowledge is really powerful. Through regular implementation we can constantly improve our processes.
When making plans, ask “how will we know?”, and measure at the end of the work. Good questions will lead you to better plans next time.