- Talks with the players take place on the floor during practice in the moment- not in meeting rooms after the fact.
- Coach Wooden's most common technique was a five-second-scold (verbal displeasure) or reconstruction, a criticism followed instantly by how to do it right. He believes that a coach (leader) makes a mistake by being a nice guy to get his team through difficult conditioning. With a whistle in hand, he becomes less the friendly grandfather and more the rigid military officer.
- Coach Wooden always ended practice with a smile: joke, pat-on-the-back, lightness, hope. He cared for his players like they were his children.
- Concentrate on fundamentals; instruct constantly on these in small sound bites. 75% of his communication carried information. Repetition here is critical.
- Intensity is as important as self-control and discipline in anything you seek to achieve.
- Eliminate ego. Convince your team that they can best serve their self-interest by subordinating personal pride to team effort.
This challenges me to ask myself:
- Where and how do I change performance on my team?
- Are my scolds and reconstruction equal and clear? Am I biased to passive aggressive suggestions or unpredictable criticism?
- Am I stumbling over the common leadership temptation of being likable? Do I hold people accountable? Can I switch between roles of benefactor and enforcer when needed?
- What are the fundamentals for the jobs I lead? What are the fundamentals for the job I have?
- Where is ego getting in the way of performance for those I lead and myself?
As I've taught this year, I've struggled with the learner's energy in the classroom. My learners are overwhelmed with work, running between multiple priorities and projects. Their brains are drained by three in the afternoon, partly because they cannot resist constantly checking their cell phones and laptops. 20 years ago, Peter Senge said that if the US business world had to learn calculus to survive, they wouldn't have the concentration necessary to do either. My students believe that what I'm teaching is critical to their success, yet they still can't stop and focus. Look at the research in the table below - our attention span is only slightly better than a goldfish's.
I challenge myself to:
- Use less words and be more concise in all communication.
- Clearly describe what's wrong and how to make it right. Don't pretend nothing is ever really wrong.
- Coach individuals and they become teams. Be vigilant about the culture you are building, not just the behaviors.