Key Takeaways:

  • Cornerstones of Confidence
  • Change & Time
  • Pay Attention to Discrete Actions

Previously discussed from Losing Streaks were concepts of doom loops or feeling stuck in the middle when perceived as failing. Part II of the book pertains to getting out of a downward spiral through the foundational Cornerstones of Confidence. Subsequently, each chapter incorporates a case-study approach to illuminate the application of each stone. What was really interesting to read about was the dynamics of change and time in relation to the cultivation of confidence. Regardless of the industry; teammates or CEOs likely already understood the challenges that the organization already faced to improve. It was the anticipated commitment that was the burden. Or it was the self-motivation to embrace the change necessary to turn it around. All of these decisions were an accumulation of discrete actions generating confidence in real change, or increase in value. This can all take a toll mentally because of just a momentary lapse and start to fall back into the pitfalls of poor decision-making. What we come to find out is the momentary lapses are the revelations of real confidence. Resolve is the litmus test.

Cornerstones of Confidence

  • Accountability
  • Collaboration
  • Initiative

There are slap-signs or graphics in any locker room with one of these words mentioned as a core value emphasized within a program. If there isn’t, there should be. Subtle cues play are influential to the psyche. A lot of the initial steps for new head coaches or CEOs of struggling organizations found a common dull aesthetics to the workplace. For the Philadelphia Eagles it was a front office without windows and lack of training facility that didn’t seem better or worse than the recreational club down the road. Business offices that required key access for every floor insinuating a closed-door policy and entitlement complex.

But, putting motivational typography doesn’t change behaviors. They are intended to act as consistent reminders for the behaviors that have been modeled. Therefore, it isn’t about what we know rather the application of the concept.

They might understand the issues in theory, but be unable to do anything in practice – a gap between knowing and doing.

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This is a distinguishable trait among leaders; effectively closing the gap between what we understand to be right and doing the right thing consistently. There are a lot of elements that can be disruptive or distracting that act as impediments to our success. Consistency is paramount.

Change & Time

I always appreciated the quote – more so after I graduated – from the coaching staff that I played for in college explaining to the team that, “What is built for years can be torn down in minutes.”

Destroying confidence can take minutes, while restoring confidence can take millennia (or so it seems to impatient investors).

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The cultivation of confidence takes time. To be a better shooter takes hours of purposeful reps. To be a better team takes weeks into months of practice during a season. Yet, one bad performance can have a devastating instantaneous impact. It starts with accountability:

  • Straight talk about problems and expectations
  • The courage to admit responsibility for problems
  • Open dialogue and widespread communication
  • Clear priorities and attention to details
  • Performance feedback – the mirror of accountability

Various turnaround tasks operate on different clocks. Bold strokes are fast and can be done by one powerful person; long marches to change culture and behavior take more time and the commitment of many people.

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The analogy to the best athletes and the best teams was clear: paying attention to discrete actions – a turn of the shoulder here, a difference in the stance there – that could provide the margin of victory.

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A coach’s responsibility is to identify the actions necessary preparing an individual/team to be successful during competition. During the instructions (actions) within a drill, activity, or scrimmage are the building blocks for confidence. The connectivity of those actions with the rest of the team represents the collaborative component to creating positive momentum.

Restoring peoples confidence in one another requires four kinds of actions:

  1. Getting connected in new ways through new conversations
  2. Carrying out important work jointly
  3. Communicating respect
  4. Demonstrating inclusion (that everyone is part of the picture)

For example, within our program, we incorporate Packline Principles which inherently promotes cutting off the baseline to limit rotations. The discrete action of a closeout impacts the entire team. As soon as the on-ball defender opens their hips towards the baseline and the weakside is forced to step over to help, our defense’s confidence has slightly been chipped. The recovery is key and likely more revealing of the confidence level of our team.

Confidence in one another produces the collective will and determination, the shared knowledge of everyone’s potential contribution, the generosity and the reciprocity that convert individual effort into joint success.

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Initiative is a byproduct empowered from the confidence displayed following said mistakes. The scrambling situation is an example of taking the initiative to recognize the pass out and containing first move then next pass.

That’s the virtuous cycle of initiative and performance: Effort increases, problems are solved, receptivity to change increases, and innovations surface – so winning is easier, and winning reinforces initiative.

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