The Greatest Teacher

How do you perform under pressure? How do you perform under emotional pressure? When something goes wrong, you’ve failed, how do you react?

As a basketball coach I have to admit that I have had experiences when things were not going right and things got emotional, and I didn’t respond in the best way. If a referee makes a bad call in a basketball game that has a negative impact on my team at a key point in the game, will it make things better for us if I lose my mind on the ref? Is there a chance if I scream and yell that maybe he will apologize and change his call? Of course not.

But on the other hand what negative could come from it? To begin with, that negative emotion is absorbed by my team. I’m showing my team, through my actions, what is acceptable. The referee isn’t going to be looking to give me any breaks or do me any favors going forward, maybe even beyond this one game. 

I’m not writing this to talk about basketball referees and how you should react if they make a call you don’t agree with. What I want to look at is how we can take all of our experiences, both good and bad, and learn from them so that when we face a similar circumstance in the future we will be prepared to deal with it in the best possible way. 

Whether we are in a team environment or as an individual we can look at both our good and bad experiences and learn from them. In both cases there are emotions tied to the experience that we need to be able to work around. In a positive outcome we may be flooded with positive emotions that give us the false belief that everything went right and we don’t have to think anymore about it. In a negative outcome you may feel that nothing went right and you don’t even want to think about it anymore. But the reality is that we have much to learn from both outcomes that can transform our futures.

As an individual, as a family, as a business or as a team this is an exercise that could have a major impact on your future outcomes. 

After an event, either positive or negative, take the time to learn from it. Capture what the situation was, what are the facts? What about it wasn’t great and could get better? What worked? Strategize about how to make sure it happens for the better next time. 

Dan Sullivan talks about “The Greatest Teacher”  in his podcast INSIDE Strategic Coach. He suggests making three small boxes on a piece of paper to work through the situation:

  1. What Worked – This should open the flood gates and allow everyone to appreciate the there were things that worked
  2. What Needs to Improve – Here you can identify the problems, the things that didn’t work, so that you can improve on them for the future
  3. Strategies for the Future – This will make you alert to all situations in the future. You may not have an identical situation, but by going through this exercise you will be aware of how you can apply this experience to others situations in the future 

Dan says that by going through this process you can create a positive momentum for the future and not be bogged down by the past. 

In my basketball example I have two opportunities to go through this. First I could sit down with my assistant coaches and have a discussion and secondly I could go through the process with my team. This would allow us to look at the situation and the outcome. It would allow us as coaches and as a team to strategies on how we would react to a similar situation in the future which will hopefully bring us a better outcome.

Today in the entrepreneurial world failure is often looked at almost as a badge of honor. We hear the quotes: 

“Fail Fast”

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again”

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success”

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something”

The last quote in this list is key because for anything good to come out of failure, we have to learn from our mistakes. Otherwise, failure is just failure. 

As I have mentioned earlier, this is an exercise that should be used after both successful and unsuccessful outcomes so that we can learn from each of them. But this is an exercise that will allow us to look at our failures to learn from them so that we can be successful in the future. 

“Your experience when you’re having intense [positive or negative] emotions is the greatest teacher you can possibly have. Channel it and you’ll always come up with amazing breakthroughs.”

– Dan Sullivan

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Book Quote of the Week 124

Two are better than one if two act as one.

And if you believe that two acting as one are better than one, just imagine what an entire team acting as one can do.

Coach K.

Book Quote of the Week – 120

“There are five fundamental qualities that make every team great: communication, trust, collective responsibility, caring, and pride. I like to think of each as a separate finder on the fist. Any one individually is important. But all of them together are unbeatable.” – Coach K.

 

Book Quote of the Week – 115

“The second reason deep practice is a strange concept is that it takes events that we normally strive to avoid – namely, mistakes – and turns them into skills. To understand how deep practice works, then, it’s first useful to consider the unexpected but crucial importance of errors to the learning process.” – Daniel Coyle

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Day Before Vacation Productivity

Last week I was talking to someone about work and an upcoming vacation he had planned. He expressed to me how productive his week had been because he knew what he had to accomplish before he could leave on vacation. It made me think of a post I had written back in 2013. After reading it again this morning I thought I would post it again. It was a copy of an email that I had sent out to my team:

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Team,

We have talked a lot about productivity and time management over the past year.  We have included it in our education meetings, I’ve sent our Dave Ramsey podcast and we’ve included it in our Monday morning meetings.

Last night I witnessed something that got me thinking about this again.  Tia had just finished practicing piano and was sitting at the table looking very stressed.  Tammy asked her what was stressing her out. From there the floodgates opened up and out came all the things she had to get done in the next few days with some tight deadlines: French test, write a paper about her experience in Africa, create a video to use at the piano recital, pepare to present in front of the Rotary Club,  basketball practice and… That was when Tammy stepped in.  She said she needed Tia to list out all of the things she needed to get done and the deadlines for each.  She also needed to figure out which ones she could have help on and who could help her.  Wow, this was starting to sound like real life Ramsey!
This got me thinking about our buddy Zig Ziglar and his “Day before vacation” teachings.
Zig asks the following questions:
  1. As a general rule, on the day before you go on vacation, do you get two or three times as much work done as you normally get done in a day?
  2. If you can learn why you are that much more productive on the day before vacation, and then repeat that process on a daily basis without working any longer or harder, does it make sense that you will be more valuable to yourself, your family, your company, and society in general?
  3. On the night before the day before vacation, do you take a sheet of paper and say to yourself, “Now tomorrow I’ve got to do…,” and then make a list of things you must do?… In its simplest form, that’s goal setting and it’s critical.  Next, did you organize your must-do list in the order of importance and accept responsibility for competing those tasks?
The day before we leave on vacation Tammy and I both have our to-do lists.  On that day both work related and non-work related things get completed efficiently.  This all happens because you have a deadline and you need to focus to get things done.  This is what Tia is going to experience over the next few days.  Her French test, the Rotary presentation, piano recital and all the other things coming up are going to happen if she’s ready or not.  So she needs to focus and prioritize to make sure she does well at all of them.
Going back to Zig and his day before vacation example, he says: “On the way to work the next day your self-talk was upbeat and centered on what you were going to get done.  You arrived at work on time so you were punctual. You immediately started to work, making you a self-starter.  You were highly motivated and optimistic that you were going to finish every tak you had set for yourself.  You were enthusiastic about your work and decisively moved from one task to the next, making good choices as you did so, even if the next job on the list was disagreeable.”
I love his example related to unpleasant tasks. “An ol’ boy down home said it best, “Friend, if you’ve got to swallow a frog, you just don’t want to look at the sucker too long.  He ain’t gonna get no purtier!  As a matter of act, the longer you look, the uglier he gets.” That’s the way unpleasant tasks are.”
“As you move from task to task, if someone tried to interrupt and talk about last night’s television program or last night’s game, you disciplined yourself to stay on task and not be distracted from your job… Since there was no “tomorrow” for you on each job, you persisted until you completed each one…. and momentum built with the completion of each task…. Perhaps the most exciting part of this vacation scenario is the fact that your co-workers instinctively picked up the pace [as well].”
If this approach works so well on the day before vacation, or the days before a test, a presentation or paper is due, won’t it work just as well every day?
A big part of this is in the planning.  When you plan things, the odds of their happening go up substantially.  If we plan our months, weeks and days we will be more productive and balanced.
Tia spent the evening writing about her experiences in Africa.  She’s made her list and has prioritized it.  She’s an achiever, not only will she get everything done, she will do it all very well.  But if Tammy hadn’t told her to pause, make a list and prioritize that list her stress would have stayed high and her productivity would have been low.  Plan your days and act so you don’t spend them reacting.
For more great stuff from Zig Ziglar find one of his books here on: Amazon.

Book Quote of the Week – 021

“To be clear, the main point of this chapter is not just about assembling the right team – that’s nothing new. The main point is to first get the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) before you figure out where to drive it.”

– Jim Collins

Your Team Needs Intentional and Effective Communication

dave_ramsey_entreleadershipOne of the things that I have prided myself with in my company is our team communication. It would make me proud to hear someone else from our team talking to a new employee or a potential employee and tell them how great our team communication is.

But the other day I received a call from one of our team members that had some concerns. His concerns had caused some problems between him and another team member. The problem is that as we discussed the situation I came to realize that the entire situation was created because of some poor communication from me.

In Dave Ramsey’s book,EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches he says, “One of the hallmarks of winning companies is they are very intentional and effective at communication.”

For the success of a company and a team we must always be reminding ourselves about the importance of intentional and effective communication.

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Western Canada Summer Games 2015 – Wood Buffalo Alberta

We had the opportunity to spend the last week in Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) Alberta at the Western Canadian Summer Games.  The organizers of the event did a great job. Each event was well organized and the facilities were great. The opening ceremonies were great to watch!

The purpose for us to be at the games was to watch our daughter, Tia Heggie, play with the U16 Basketball Alberta women’s team. We are very proud of Tia and her team. They fought through some tough games and finished fourth overall.

These are some highlights of Tia in her first three games

Father / Daughter / Basketball

My greatest love is my family.  Along with that, something else I love is basketball.  Fortunately, I have the opportunity that I can enjoy both of them together quite often.  My son, Daxon, just started organized basketball and I am able to spend some quality time with him in that setting.  My oldest daughter, Tia, caught the basketball bug a while ago.  She’s only in the eighth grade right now, but I have had the opportunity to be involved with coaching her for four years now, whether it has been in the club ball setting or the school setting.  

Over the past few days I’ve been able to see where Tia’s love and dedication to the game have brought her.  She made the final cut that qualified her to tryout for Team Alberta this weekend and I am very proud that she made the team.  The coaching staff and the team are great.  This is another opportunity for her to push herself and take her skills to another level.

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U15 & U17 Boys and Girls Team Alberta 2014