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Issue 373 - "Judge Progress on Performance not Results" (Jack Clark Part Four)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 9 Issue 373
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Jack Clark is the University of California's varsity rugby head coach. His teams have won 28 National Championships in 33 years compiling an overall record of 758–96–5 an .883 winning percentage. The amazing consistency of Coach Clark's teams is driven by an environment where the focus is on constant improvement that is judged on "Performance not Results". Clark put it this way: "We have a performance culture where the byproduct is winning, versus 'We're all about winning.' That's not really how we think." Whether it's a sports team or a business team Clark believes continual improvement requires a Daily Training Environment or DTE. In a podcast for the Orrick Law firm Clark put it this way:
"The high performance teams that I've seen have a really strong daily training environment, a DTE. Organizations with a really strong DTE measure everything. In that high volume prep training period, they're measuring things; they're ranking people; there competing. They create what is almost contrived competitions. All of that creates, I think, a hardened edge which allows people to go into competition with more confidence and more readiness.
In a strong training environment, you decide exactly what the lessons are and explain the aims of the activity. You rep the activity—if you will—by way of demonstration, and then rep it again under escalating pressure, and you create a real learning experience, almost to fail, if you will. Then you put a little bit of summary on it and people typically walk away with experiences which will really benefit them when real competition comes along."
Not by coincidence Coach Clark's approach was the same as Coach Wooden's. In an interview with Jan Stenker for Unconditionally Strong Clark discussed his approach to a cornerstone principle his Performance Culture embraces: "Improve Relentlessly":
"We believe in constant performance improvement. We say it's not just enough to win. If you go back to legendary basketball coach John Wooden's Pyramid of Success, you get performance over results. We believe that. We should be getting better from week to week, month to month, match to match. There are two kinds of teams. There are teams that are getting better and there are teams that are getting worse. There really isn't that much in between.
We kid ourselves that there are plateaus somewhere, but really, if you're not getting better you're most likely getting worse. We have to be able to document that we're getting better. It can't just be what's the score, because the level of the opponent plays a part in that, and the conditions plays a part. It has to be performance-generated data, not results generated.
The currency that is exchanged in any high-performance team, whether it's business or sports, is performance in the moment. Not your potential, not what you did last year, but what are you doing right now."
How do you measure performance improvement?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




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Application Exercise




'I want a chance to show what I can do,'
He sighed when others seemed to pass him by;
'There are great problems I could master, too,
Somehow, I never get the chance to try.

Give me a chance to show what I can do,'
This was the burden of his daily whine;
'I might achieve success as well as you,
If opportunity were mine.'

One day they bade him fill another's place,
Another's work they offered him to do;
He grumbled and a frown passed o'er his face,
'I am not paid to do the work of two.'

Edgar Allen Guest (1881-1959)






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