Monday Morning Edge (08/17/2020)

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Greetings from Chandler, Arizona!

Before we get into the newsletter, I have some exciting news!

This morning, I am pumped to announce the launch of the brand new Monday Morning Edge Online Community!

The community exists to help coaches accelerate their careers by sharing their ideas online.

This community will provide you with the tools you need to overcome the resistance of sharing your ideas and build a strong online presence that creates opportunities for you today, tomorrow, and decades into the future.

I wanted to keep this part short, but if you’re interested, you can learn more and join the Monday Morning Edge Online Community over on my website.

Even with that exciting news, the newsletter must go on. With that in mind, here’s what we’re going to cover in today’s newsletter:

  • What it takes to get hired at SpaceX
  • 12 practical ways to practice thinking
  • Why goals aren’t about the future
  • What made Michael Jordan different
  • And why sensible people passed on a $2 Ed Sheeran concert (and what coaches can learn from that)

Book of the Week

I recently picked this biography up after starting Wait but Why’s Elon Musk series and have really enjoyed it.One part that really stuck out to me was the author’s description of SpaceX hiring process. He wrote:

“Like many tech companies, SpaceX subjects potential hires to a gauntlet of interviews and tests. Some of the interviews are easygoing chats in which both parties get to feel each other out; others are filled with quizzes that can be quite hard. Engineers tend to face the most rigorous interrogations, although business types and salesmen are made to suffer, too. Coders who expect to pass through standard challenges have rude awakenings. Companies will typically challenge software developers on the spot by asking them to solve problems that require a couple of dozen lines of code. The standard SpaceX problem requires five hundred or more lines of code. All potential employees who make their way to the end of the interview process then handle one more task. They’re asked to write an essay for Musk about why they want to work at SpaceX.”

Clear writing is clear thinking, so it shouldn’t shock us that the world’s most important entrepreneur wants an essay from potential hires. While he’s certainly screening for traits like ambition, drive, and dedication to SpaceX’s mission, Musk also uses the essays to analyze the way potential hires think.

The same can be said for coaches today. It’s not enough to just be a good technician, whether it’s as a sport coach, S&C coach, or trainer. The higher up you go, the more clearly you need to think and the more important your ability to communicate effectively (often through writing) becomes.

That’s why I think more coaches should share their ideas online. By creating something for public consumption, coaches are forced to clarify their thoughts on a topic. A rarely-talked-about benefit of writing is the clarity of mind that you get on a topic after you’ve written about it.

Musk knows this. The people with jobs to offer coaches know this. So, what will you do about it?

Articles of the Week

How I Practice at What I Do by Tyler Cowen

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me how I thought about evaluating coaches, specifically self-evaluation.

I responded with some cobbled-together thoughts, and quickly realized that I didn’t really have a coherent thought on this.

I’ve since thought a lot more about this, and while I don’t have a perfectly clear idea in my head, I’m getting there.

I think the most challenging thing that sticks out to me regarding coach evaluation is finding ways to shorten feedback loops.

Because you’re reading this, you likely participated in sports growing up. One great thing about being an athlete is that the feedback is often immediate. The shot went in or not. The pitch was a strike or ball. You hit the ball or didn’t. Each repetition provides feedback which helps you learn at a rapid pace.

But for coaches, it’s not that simple. The feedback loops stretch out longer and longer, and the feedback becomes less objective, making it more difficult to learn quickly.

So, the way I see it, a key component in becoming a better coach is to shorten the gap between action and feedback. The smaller the gap, the faster you can learn. The faster you can learn, the quicker you can make changes to become better.

And Cowen offers 12 strategies that you can employ to do just that.

If you’re interested in this topic, you might also like: Learn Like an Athlete by David Perell

Goals shape the present, not the future. by Derek Sivers

A short, thoughtful blog post by Derek Sivers on the nature of goals.

“Some goals seem great. They impress your friends (“I’m going to bike across India”), satisfy an old wish (“I want to go into space”), or are good for you (“I’m going to lose thirty pounds”). But unless it changes your actions, right now, it’s not a great goal. Find another variation that excites you.”

If you liked this, you’ll also like Sivers’ recent The Knowledge Project podcast interview.

The Legend of Michael Jordan

I restarted The Last Dance last week and it made me think of this collection of incredible MJ stories.

My favorite story comes from Atlanta Hawks legend, Dominique Wilkins.

“I remember, Michael Jordan walks into our locker room, suit and tie. I’m like, What in the hell is he doing in our locker room?
Is he coming to the training room?
So he walks by me and he said, “Lace ’em up, it’s gonna be a long night.”
I’m like, “Did he just come in our locker room?” I didn’t know what to say.
I was shocked.
He had 60 points that night.”

Man, MJ was just different.

Random Bit of the Week

Ed Sheeran $2 Peep Show (Video)

Imagine that you’re taking a stroll through your favorite city’s downtown.

A man walks up to you and offers you a chance to get a 1-on-1 concert with one of today’s greatest musicians for $2.No brainer, right?

Except in this case, many otherwise-sensible people decided to pass on a private Ed Sheeran concert for less than a Starbucks Latte.

The salesman in the video looked…questionable. The building wasn’t welcoming. It was sold as a “Peep show”, not something that has the best connotations around it. And above all of that, who in their right mind would charge $2 for an Ed Sheeran concert? All of the signs point to this being a scam.

Except it wasn’t.

​When I watch this, I’m reminded of how context is often the most important thing in coaching, leadership, and life.

For us as coaches, we need to consider what I call environment-demand fit.

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about Coughlin Time. For Tom Coughlin’s teams, timeliness was of the utmost importance. Meetings started five minutes early, and if you weren’t early, you were fined $1000.

Now, it wouldn’t make any sense for Coughlin to hold his players accountable to this rule if all of the clocks in the facility were off. What would happen if the clock in the cafeteria ran 3 minutes slow but the clock in the meeting room ran 2 minutes fast? I’m sure some coaches would still demand players to be there 5 minutes early, but the fact of the matter is that the environment (the clocks in the facility) don’t match up with the demand (timeliness).

This mismatch creates unnecessary psychological stress on players and coaches alike. It’s a much better idea to just fix the clocks and keep the rule.

Your turn: What do you think? What are some areas where you’ve seen poor environment-demand fit before?

I want to hear from you! DM me on Twitter and let me know what you think.

That’s all for this week. Thank you so much for reading.

If you want to discuss something in this newsletter with me, reply to this email or DM me on Twitter.

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Thank you so much.

Until next week,