|Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 8
|Craig Impelman Speaking | Championship Coaches | Champion's Leadership Library Login
MANAGEABLE BITS - (TONY LA RUSSA – PART FIVE)
During his 33 year career, Hall of Fame baseball Manager Tony La Russa became the third winningest manager in the history of professional baseball. La Russa did a great job of improving and motivating his teams over the grind of a six month season.
In his book One Final Strike La Russa described his process:
"Because we play a 162-game season, we want to create a sense of urgency throughout that long span of six months of grinding. You need to create urgency in April because you can't wait until September to win. So how do you create that sense of urgency? How do you bring the same level of intensity to a weekday game in April in front of 5,000 people as you bring to a weekend game in Chicago or St. Louis with 40,000 screaming fans? It's about the series; the goal of each series is to win it. If you do that, you keep the intensity up no matter who, when, or where you are playing. To achieve this goal, we coached this idea of manageable bits: a three-game series, do this; another three-game series, do that.
Every off-season I spent a lot of time reading all kinds of books—on history, on leadership, on management—and one of the concepts I'd picked up over the years was about goal-setting. If you want to lose forty pounds, you have to start by losing a certain number every week. You use small, attainable goals that add up to the whole.
I've heard people who run marathons talk about the fact that not all 26.2 miles of the race will "fit" in a runner's brain. They say that if you try to cram it all in there, you end up overstuffing your brain and not allowing it to function properly. So some runners think of a marathon as a series of four ten-kilometer races (a marathon being forty-two kilometers long).
Part of a winner's philosophy is that there's a win somewhere in every loss if you search for it."
By setting small, attainable goals that add up to the whole, La Russa created an environment where he could coach progress and adjust on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. He did not wait until the end of the season or half way through it to adjust and improve.
You need small attainable goals to coach progress and adjust. If you keep doing what you're doing you will keep getting what you're getting. As Coach Wooden liked to say: "Don't mistake activity for achievement."
These principles apply to your most important coaching assignment: "Coaching Yourself". The best performers and coaches are very self-critical and constantly evaluating their own performance, making adjustments and constantly improving over time.
Do you give your team members small attainable goals on a regular basis?
What are the incremental goals you have given to the worst free throw shooter on your team or the worst sales person in your business?
Do you give them to yourself?
Are you learning from the results and adjusting as you progress on a regular basis?
Yours in Coaching,
A Snowflake Falls
One night I saw a snowflake fall,
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