Coaches spend time thinking about and communicating what we are for; what we stand for, what we’ll fight for, what behaviors we want to see.
We don’t spend time thinking about what we’re against. What are some of the things that people say, do or require that you disagree with? Maybe you do some of these yourself without really knowing why?
If we know what we’re against we can figure out how to unteach that thing, and use a negative to make things positive.
What are you against?
What is integrity? It’s on the lockerrom signs, gym banners and tshirts that list core values of teams across the country.
Most won’t have a strong and clear definition.
I say it’s integration of who you are and what you do.
Knowing what you believe in is key. The central values like trust and communication have a critical role in every team. The core of who you (an individual or a team), is not a reflection, it is WHO you are or want to be.
We communicate well and trust each other. Those are core values.
What you do, the behaviors that are demonstrated are one’s true legacy. So, we work hard to identify the things we’ll do in order to be true to our values, the “who” of who we are.
When we live our values…when the actions reflect those values: that’s integrity.
Recently, I’ve been taking the time to think critically about the things that I have taken as gospel as a coach over my career. Like goal setting, for example.
For many years I spent time talking to teams about SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, timely, although there are many other versions of the SMART acronym). I believe that if one is setting a goal then it should have many of these characteristics, and yes, having outcome goals can be a motivator.
However, in recent years I have come to discount the value of hard goals and focused myself and my teams on the behaviors needed to be the kind of team we’d like to be. Often, outcome goals are a consideration (“what behaviors do we need to do in order to get what we want?”), but not always.
The best behavioral discipline comes when the things a team says they want to do on a regular basis are a reflection of who they are–their values–as opposed to what they want to have at the end of the day.
Too often goals can be used as a crutch. We sometimes make excuses to justify behaviors that are not championship caliber. We say that as long as we get where we want to go, it’s not that important how we got there. Untrue. Behaving in a way that’s outside one’s values, whether the values are stated and clear or not, is never a way to feel good about where one’s going.
Have some un-goals. Determine what you’d like to be on a regular basis and start doing those things and see where you end up.
There are lots of ways to “know” how programs are doing. Watch them play, read about them on social media, hear from those close to that other team…
It’s easy to judge the good and the bad from afar, and we can assess the issues that can plague any group or team just by watching the sideline, dugout or even the way they play.
Of course, the scoreboard tells us a lot, too. We “know” the good programs and those that are struggling.
Many coaches (and players) spend time looking at other teams’ cultures and concerns, but how often to we run an assessment of our own?
Having a system of program hygiene in which you thoroughly dig in to see how you’re actually doing in all of the phases of the game that you value is a key to long-term success.
Knowing the areas that matter to you – your core values – is crucial, and then having a way to assess how you’re doing is the crux of maintaining success. Having an idea of what matters is just half the battle: knowing how you’ll assess is the only way to actually get that piece done.
What’s your system?
Do you view happiness as a goal? Do your players? Can happiness be an end state?
“I’ll be happy when we win ______,”
“I’ll be happy when I’m a starter,”
“That team seems so happy!”
All of those are may be true, however, we also know that we don’t just show up and say, “let’s do everything we can to be happy”.
The truly successful coaches, players and teams name goals to strive for and then get to work ID’ing the steps to be taken, the things that will or might hold them back, and the factors that could come into play along the way.
Only at the very beginning, and end, of a journey are we “doing the goal”.
The middle is about the work.
Coach, what is your team culture all about?
Not, “what is the culture of your team?”, but, “what does ‘culture’ mean in your program?”
Is it a set of values or a way of being?
Is it up to the coach or this year’s team? Or, a bit of both?
Do players value the program culture? Should they?
What about recruits?
Does it involve everyone close to your program? Just players? Players and coaches? What about fans, trainers & strength coaches?
Or, perhaps it’s more of a je ne sais quoi spirit, something that you know when you see it or are around it, that the team exudes when the members are together.
If it’s that, how do you define it to outsiders if they ask?
Regardless of what you want your culture to be, you should work to know what it is.
Leave your comments here or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What might you do differently? What should you do differently? Have you thought about “making a change” in any area?
It’s worth thinking about as a part of your #10minsaday of working ON your job in addition to the hours you spend working IN your job.
Anyone can change when they have to. It’s harder to change before you have to, to disrupt your “norm” even when it doesn’t seem to be broken.
Disruption need not be life-changing, or program changing, but if you don’t make an effort to think about things that might enhance your success or efficiency, the subtle improvement ideas might not show up on their own.