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Archive for December, 2009

Circumstances and You

Have you heard the commercial that begins, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing?” I’m not even sure what the commercial is selling (probably clothing), but it reminds me of what they say in Juneau, Alaska, where it rains an average of 220 days per year. “You never cancel anything because […]

Measuring What Didn’t Happen

Today’s post will be brief (as well as late) because windy weather in this areas is causing spotty internet service. Someone sent a link to a New York Times story on Penn State volleyball coach Russ Rose, whose team is enjoying an historic winning streak. Rose keeps two types of statistics: the traditional ones on […]

What the Tiger Woods Story Teaches

If nothing else, the Tiger Woods sage proves one thing: No one has it all. Tiger certainly seemed to. He had money, fame and a new family. But now his image is in shambles, and who knows how he will move on from here? Whatever happens, the story brings to mind the two biggest mistakes […]

Total Investment

We’ve called in an expert. Trying to coach our middle school basketball team as best we can, we got an instructional video starring John Wooden. Wooden, legendary coach at UCLA, did not disappoint. Before mentioning even one word about dribbling or shooting, Wooden defined success. He said that to him, success means being able to […]

Stress and Driving

A recent report points out a link between stressful jobs and traffic accidents. It says that doctors crash the most. It was a relief (and a surprise) not to see coaches in the top 10 of accident-prone jobs. The job seems stressful enough to me. And if stress doesn’t affect coaches on the road, you’d […]

The Power of Immediacy

Years ago, there was a man in our office who had to test his blood every time he ate anything. At first that sounded like a great inconvenience and burden. However, it also brought great opportunity. After all, this man received immediate and constant feedback on the result of his actions. This came to mind […]

A Key to Motivation

Few paragraphs could ever teach more about motivation than the following one, written by Geoff Colvin and appearing in the acknowledgments section of his book, “Talent is overrated.” This book would not have been written if my “Fortune” colleague Jerry Useem hadn’t walked into my office and and asked if I wanted to write something […]

Flying Against Conventional Wisdom

Today I’m headed to Santa Clara, Calif., to attend a coaching clinic. I’m excited not only about learning more, but about the trip itself. After all these years, travel by air remains a source of awe. It was in the month of December in 1903 when Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first controlled powered […]

Theory of Improvement

Not long ago I heard a coach complain that his players do not take the basics they learn early in practice and put them into the games they play later in practice. They do not take them into real games, either. This is a common lament, and it comes from failure to understand a principle […]

You Can Choose to be Great

My friend Jim recently told the story of a service station attendant in Watertown, N.Y., where summer lasts about two weeks and the winters are brutally cold. This particular attendant offered full service — windshield, oil check, etc., no matter what the weather. Most people would have filled the tank, collected the money and then […]