Sunday, April 9, 2017


One of the most under-appreciated acts of preparation in the work place today is training.  If you think about the typical year for an athlete, they spend all year long preparing for just a few games where they will actually perform.  With each college basketball season, teams have 30 guaranteed games to play.  The amount of training that goes into preparing players for the season is happens daily throughout the year!

College Basketball Season Breakdown:

Off Season: May - July
Weekly Individual Training; Weekly Team Practices; Weekly Weight Training and Conditioning

Pre-Season: August - October
Daily Individual Training; Daily Team Practices; Daily Weight Training and Conditioning

Season: November - March
Daily Team Practices; Team Meetings with Scouting Reports and Game Plans; Weight Training a couple days per week; Games twice a week or more

Post Season: March - April
This is the time of the year every team has prepared for.  PLAY OFFS!  Win or go home.  The teams that win - advance in the regional and national tournaments.  This is the most important time of the year to every team.  

My question is, what if we prepared our employees in the same way that coaches prepare their athletes?  What if training our team of employees took priority to leadership all over this world?  Our businesses would thrive if they were being conditioned the way that athletes are.  Companies would have much higher morale and unity among their staff members IF the value in training was understood the way coaches use it.  

Think about it.  Coaches never schedule a game without first practicing.  So as a business owner, you cannot expect to put an employee on the job and expect high performance regardless of their experience or background without training them first.  No matter someone's credentials, they still need training on your company's expectations and processes.  As a coach, we don't say "this player was an All-American in high school so she/he doesn't need to practice."  Those kids still need to learn our way of playing the game.  They need to learn our system.  

In conclusion, I encourage all companies/businesses to review their value in training their employees with the following strategies:

  1. Train like a coach: Training should be consistent and practical.  Make each expectation clear and concise to your subordinates.  Coaches need to be present and engaged at all practices just like managers should be.  Keep expectations fair and attainable.
  2. Lead by example: Do not expect your subordinates to be organized and meet deadlines if you do not first give them all the necessary tools to succeed.  You cannot expect a person to make lemonade out of bananas - so give them what they need which is your example to them.
  3.  Give Feedback: In a post back in November, we published a blog about feedback and the proper way to execute Feedback.  Please read the entire post, but the overall theme with feedback is to not to give constructive criticism because it is still criticism.  Instead, the objective is to feed them the knowledge or insight necessary to complete the task.  Remind yourself that they are not to the level of comprehension that you are - so be patient with them.  You are a teacher of the sport so teach and re-teach them what you know.
  4. Affirm the good behavior to see it be replicated and reciprocated:  I'm telling you what I know!  When you give affirmations of correct actions, you will see it again and again.  Others will do it because they want to hear the same affirmations.  It will be reciprocated when players start seeing each other do the right things and acknowledge one another in their right actions.  I even had players tell me during a time out "good play coach."  This is the affirmation being reciprocated because I have set a tone that we don't just correct, we also uplift!  In running a business, your employees will mirror the behavior that is affirmed as correct.  Their confidence will increase as you acknowledge what they are doing right.  Still give necessary correction through teaching and training, but acknowledge what they have done correctly.