Monday Morning Edge (12/14/2020)

Welcome to the Monday Morning Edge newsletter!

Greetings from Charlotte, NC!

In ​On Writing​, Stephen King famously advises aspiring authors to kill their darlings — to remove all unnecessary fluff from their manuscript. But this word of wisdom didn’t start with King. It’s common writing advice that had been floating around since at least the early 20th century.

Last week, I shared my recent article on satisficing. As I was editing it, I made the tough decision to remove unnecessary sentences, paragraphs, and even one entire section that ultimately didn’t add to the article. Here’s one such passage:

As I’ve spent the last five years around the edges of the baseball industry, I’ve found that the general assumption is that more data = better decisions. Generally speaking, this is true. But it’s only true if we have a broad definition of “data” that allows for things that aren’t easily computable.
Data is not just the numbers collected by the sports scientists and iPad-wielding coaches. It’s also the amount of schoolwork the player has, the tough conversation you had with him about playing time three days ago, and the argument he had with his girlfriend last night that he just can’t let go of. Let me remind you of Reklaitis’ Law.

At the end of it all, removing the fluff made the article better, but it wasn’t easy. We become attached to our ideas (good and bad) and will fight tooth-and-nail to keep them around.

The same is true for coaches. How many times have you continued trying a drill, tactic, or communication strategy a little too long because you didn’t want to let your little darling go? I know I’ve done that more often than I’d like to admit.

So before we get into the rest of today’s newsletter, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What am I holding onto right now that I should really let go of? 
  • Is there something I can remove so I/we can focus my/our time and attention on the things that matter?

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Around the Web

​The best of what I’ve been reading, watching, and listening to​.

1. ​7 Rejections ​by Brian Chesky (2-minute read)

Earlier this week, Airbnb went public. The company is valued at more than $100B, which seems like as good a time as any to share this 2015 article from their CEO with examples of early rejections they faced from investors.

If you want to read more from Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO, Chesky has written a handful of short blog posts over on Medium, like this one on Peter Thiel’s advice to him after investing in the company.

​2. What Do I Mean by Skin in the Game? ​by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (6-minute read)

When people talk about having “skin in the game”, it often brings up the image of one-sided incentives. But that’s not how Nassim Taleb defines it. 

For him, skin in the game is all about symmetry. As he writes, “people should also [be] penalized if something for which they are responsible goes wrong and hurts others: he or she who wants a share of the benefits needs to also share some of the risks.”

I’ve been thinking about skin in the game as it pertains to coaching — specifically private development vs. team coaches. I’ve been wondering if there’s an asymmetry between the two or if each has skin in the game embedded in its own way. I can see both sides and haven’t gotten to the point where I can have an opinion.

What do you think?

​3. The Gervais Principle, or the Office According to “The Office”​ ​(20-minute read)

I debated whether I should put this article in here because it’s not all that relevant to coaching, but I enjoy the subject (​The Office​) so much I ultimately decided to send it.

If you’re a fan of ​The Office​ and want to read a deep-dive into the show from a management theorist’s point of view, you’re going to want to check this one out.

And if you like it, you can check out parts 2-6 here. (Warning: I haven’t read past part 1, so read them at your own discretion.)

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Satisficing: Why Coaching is More About Good Enough than Best​ (Blog Post – 4-minute read, 26 clicks)

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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,