Monday Morning Edge (09/14/2020)

Greetings from the new home of Monday Morning Edge: Charlotte, North Carolina!

Jess and I had a successful 4-day, 30-hour journey across the country last weekend and we successfully arrived in our new home Monday afternoon.

In case you didn’t know, we moved to Charlotte because I took a new job with Tread Athletics. That began on Tuesday.

It was a good first week. The work is fast-paced, challenging, and the team is great. I’m thankful for the opportunity and excited about all that’s to come.

With all of this transition, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about routines and schedules.

The core principle of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is that the species who are most fit to a particular environment are the ones who survive. What worked yesterday won’t necessarily work in today’s environment.

Without the ability to adapt, you’re going to get left behind. As Brad Pitt (playing Billy Beane) says in Moneyball, “Adapt or die.”

Which leads me to what we’re going to talk about today:

  • Why becoming an anti-coach is the best way to adapt to a changing world
  • How coaches can best schedule their day
  • Why asking questions is the best way to get players to trust you

New from the Blog

How to Become an “Anti-Coach”

Last weekend, I posted this thought on Twitter:

caption for image

A lot of coaches added their own anti-coaching principles and I enjoyed the interactions that followed.

It seemed to resonate with the coaching community, and it made me think a little deeper about this topic which I put down in this short blog post. Which you can read right here:

Idea of the Week

From: Maker vs. Manager: How Your Schedule Can Make or Break You by Farnam Street

In the professional world, we can bucket the kind of work being done into two broad categories: maker and manager.

A maker is someone whose output is a tangible thing: new code, a piece of writing, a song, or a painting or sculpture.

A manager is different. According to Andy Grove, the manager’s sole responsibility is to maximize the output of those under his or her influence.

Makers and managers are very different types of people, which requires two different kinds of schedules–an idea brought up by Paul Graham in 2009 in Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule.

The basic idea is that a maker needs long blocks of time for them to take on ambitious projects and see it through to a good stopping point (or completion). Interruptions from a meeting can derail their entire day.

Conversely, a manager’s schedule is broken up into smaller chunks full of meetings, “putting out fires”, and reactive work. A manager’s day looks scattered, and it often is. That’s the nature of the job.

This distinction is important. As Graham notes in his original essay, a huge source of conflict in organizations comes from the two types of workers not understanding and respecting the other group’s scheduling needs.

Which brings us to an interesting point. What does all this mean for coaches?

Coaching: Maker or Manager?

The answer to whether a coach is a maker or manager might seem obvious. Manager.

We manage players, other staff, and resources. Our days are generally filled with meetings and people. Because of the scattered nature of coaching, we come to the conclusion that we’re a manager and therefore adopt a manager’s schedule.

But I don’t think that paints the full picture.

I think you can make the argument that coaches aren’t just managers. We’re also makers.

Think about it: you’re the maker of your culture. You write a practice plan each day. You breakdown film and produce actionable talking points to help your team get better.

Coaches aren’t just managers. We’re also makers.

And when we think about what this means for us, it suggests we need to be careful about how we schedule our days.

The Hybrid Schedule

One appropriate scheduling model for coaches is what we’ll call the Hybrid Schedule.

Instead of having your entire day filled with manager’s activities or blocking off eight straight hours for maker-type work, we need to make a clear distinction between the type of work we do and organize our day in a way that allows high output in both areas.

For example, you may block off 2-4 hours in the morning for maker work before your players arrive. Then, your next 6-8 hours are on a manager’s schedule.

This allows you to accomplish the type of work you need to do without suffering from the switching costs of going back and forth between different tasks.

This type of schedule is hugely important for coaches. Personally, I’ve long recognized that my best “maker” hours are either early in the morning (before 8:00) or after 4:00 PM. If I’m going to schedule my ideal day, it would include maker time in the morning and late afternoon with a chunk of time for manager time in the middle.

What about you? How might you benefit from adopting this Hybrid Schedule?

Random Bit of the Week

I loved the recent Knowledge Project podcast episode with Apolo Ohno. One part that stood out to me was Ohno describing how a mental skills coach used questions to gain his trust.

Ohno wasn’t always the mentally tough killer that we know him as from his Olympic days.

Like most young athletes, Ohno needed to hone in his mental skills to become the best he could be.

Team USA brought in a sports psychologist, Dave, to work with their short track speed skaters. And Dave used a great approach to connect with Ohno and help him become better.

Before weight training sessions, Apolo and Dave would play Badminton against each other. Now, Dave was a former college tennis player, so he usually won.

But Dave’s purpose wasn’t to win. It was to help Ohno see where he was holding himself back on the track.

I loved how he went about this, and think you will too.

You can listen to the 1-minute, 42-second clip right here.

That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading!

Take some time to read the articles and send me your thoughts in an email. I promise to read and respond to each one.

If you enjoyed this edition of Monday Morning Edge, you can share it with the coaches in your life on Twitter.

Have a great week,