Greetings from Charlotte, NC!
I hope you had a great week back after Thanksgiving.
Before we get into the newsletter, I want to share something with you from Tread Athletics, the company I work for.
Last week, we had 3 new employees start with us and the entire team brought a ton of energy all week.
With so much uncertainty in the baseball world right now, it’s a breath of fresh air to walk into the facility each day and be surrounded by so much energy and drive.
But even as we grow, we’re still looking for A-players with a wide range of skillsets who want to come build something special. People who want to build something unlike what anyone else has done before.
Sound like you?
We want to talk to you. And the best way to do that is to submit an application.
Now, where was I?
Oh yeah, that’s right. The newsletter!
I’m excited about today’s issue.
If you have half as much fun reading it as I did writing it, I’ll call it a success.
Let’s go 👇
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The most recent articles from my blog.
1. Satisficing: Why Coaching is More About Good Enough than Best (4 minute read)
Back in the 1950’s, economist, political scientist, and cognitive psychologist Herbert A. Simon introduced the idea of satisficing. In his Nobel Prize in Economics acceptance speech, he said that humans use satisficing in two distinct ways:
- To find an optimal solution for a simplified world
- To find a satisfactory solution for a more realistic world
Satisficing is what we do when instead of trying to find the best solution, we accept a “good enough” option. For example, instead of buying the best television earlier this year, my wife and I settled on a $300 Vizio that is good enough for our television needs.
We satisfice much more than we think, and I think this is a mental model that all coaches ought to have in their tool belts.
2. How I Write My Newsletter (40-minute YouTube Video)
On Saturday, a small group of newsletter readers joined me for a live writing session where we wrote today’s newsletter.
We talked through my writing process and discussed topics like:
- Why my writing “process” starts away from my computer
- How I generate the ideas that go into my newsletter and articles
- How I use a “slow burn” approach to writing that allows me to effortlessly produce new ideas
- And how I change my process depending on where I’m at with idea generation
The full recording is up on YouTube, which you can check out whenever you have the time.
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Coaching Ideas from a British Ad Man
The best book I read in 2020 was undoubtedly Alchemy: The Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life by Rory Sutherland, British ad man.
Sutherland writes through the lenses of marketing, psychology, evolutionary theory, but as I tore through its pages, I couldn’t help but notice the crossover between his ideas and what we do as coaches every single day.
Below, I’ve included some of my favorite highlights from the book with the coaching application.
1. You can never be fired for being logical
The problem that bedevils organisations once they reach a certain size is that narrow, conventional logic is the natural mode of thinking for the risk-averse bureaucrat or executive. There is a simple reason for this: you can never be fired for being logical. If your reasoning is sound and unimaginative, even if you fail, it is unlikely you will attract much blame. It is much easier to be fired for being illogical than it is for being unimaginative.
My take: Has our obsession with “data” put coaches/front offices in this same situation? Where the only coaches who keep their jobs are the ones who unthinkingly bow to the data (whatever that means)?
2. When you’re not sure why something works
I make a very simple point here: the fact that something does not work through a known and logical mechanism should not make us unwilling to adopt it. We used aspirin to reduce pain for a century without having the faintest idea of why it worked. Had we believed it was made from the tears of unicorns, it would have been silly, but it wouldn’t have made the product any less effective.
My take: The most important thing in coaching is that something works, not that we have a complete knowledge of why.
3. Focusing on what a player feels
For a business to be truly customer-focused, it needs to ignore what people say. Instead it needs to concentrate on what people feel.
My take: One of the most important things we can ask ourselves in reflection is, “What does it feel like to get coached by me?”
4. On what makes a placebo effective
For something to be effective as a self-administered drug, it has to involve an element of illogicality, waste, unpleasantness, effort or costliness. Things which involve a degree of sacrifice seem to have a heightened effect on the unconscious, precisely because they do not make logical sense. After all, eating tasty, nutritious food is unlikely to signal anything to the immune system, since it doesn’t feel out of the ordinary; drinking something foul, on the other hand, carries a greater amount of significance, since it is something you only do under unusual circumstances.
My take: We want athletes to struggle to achieve something. We don’t want everything to be easy for them. To maximize effectiveness, a drill should be unpleasant, require effort, or somehow be costly (showing up at unusual hours, for example). This is all signaling to oneself and can go a long way in making the intervention more psychologically effective.
Said differently: If the athlete remembers the cost, they’re more likely to be all-in on the solution.
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Did you miss last week’s most popular links?
Take the Turkey Out of the Oven by Taylor Pearson (7 minute read)
The Big Lessons From History by Morgan Housel (14 minute read)
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That’s all for today’s newsletter.
As always, I appreciate you giving me some of your precious attention.
Here’s to a great week,