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.
Resilience and failure are hot topics. We ask how to bounce back, to embrace the opportunity to fail and try, try again, and we praise the growth mindset that pushes us to do hard things.
The world complains that, “Kids aren’t allowed to struggle,” and we lament the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality. For sure, coaches and parents should indeed embrace their kids having chances to fail.
I’m all for it.
However, I’m a fan of success as well.
Reaching a goal or doing something well is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. It’s not important that every milestone have a party upon completion, but getting things done–being successful in achievement–is not the opposite of learning from failure.
Here’s to getting better and moving forward!
How often to you or your players use the words or phrases,
“We’ll know when we get there”
All of those wishy-washy phrases really mean “probably not,” or some version of: “if I fail, it’s because I really never said I could/would”.
Pay attention to how often you say or hear language like that and see if you can move these out of your world. I bet that the simple act of paying attention makes you more decisive.
And, I bet you’ll find greater efficiency and lower anxiety along the way.
Is “Common Wisdom” simply a self-fulfilling prophecy? Can we simply make something–especially something bad–happen just by expecting it?
Or, perhaps, there IS a wizard behind the curtain who makes sure that things come to fruition when we say that they will!
Many of us fall prey to the “that’s just the way it is” mentality when we allow ourselves to underperform. The idea that we simply don’t have the time, money or other resources to do what we’d like to do…that’s too easy in my book.
Coach, you choose what to pay attention to. You can make different choices.
Things are generally not predetermined.
Find a way to be your own Wizard.
“Be present,” “listen with your heart,” and other phrases have become popular throughout our busy world. We move so fast, and do many things (at once) that listening to others often seems like a challenge (perhaps because we don’t even know how to listen to ourselves).
Create the conditions for better listening. Stop and make time to listen with all of your physical senses, and also actively practice putting judgement aside and get to the feelings and perspective of the speaker.
Why are they saying what they are, and what do they need from you? Often, it’s simply to be heard.
What if i’m wrong? What if she gets mad at me? …I might feel badly afterwards.
We resist the DEMAND that we talk out loud about our concerns, needs and commitments. So often the need for safety and calm rather than storm overrides the demand that good open, honest and direct communication will provide relief and a chance to move forward.
Let’s make practicing honesty and communicating our needs, and simply what we think–even if we might not make everyone (even ourselves) happy–a part of our team training. Start with the coach.
We admire the people who have “made it,” been “successful”: make the most money, have the most happiness, win the most games…
We point to those people as role models, teach their tactics, employ their strategies, read their books. Usually we’re fired up and maybe it even works for a time. However, we seldom can bring their stuff into our stuff at a level that really makes a difference for us because we have to think about using someone else’s language. The time it takes to translate makes it stilted and removes the flow and often the efficacy.
Create your own dictionary and teach the language to your people. Once everyone in your organization speaks the same language without exception and looks at the world through the same lens you’ll be able to take big steps.