Key Takeaways: Inside-Out

  • Character Ethics vs Personality Ethics
  • Power of Paradigm
  • Maturity Continuum

But shortly after World War I the basic view of success shifted from the Character Ethic to what we might call the Personality Ethic. Success became more a function of personality, of public image, of attitudes and behaviors, skills and techniques, that lubricate the processes of human interaction.


Character Ethics vs Personality Ethics

Author, Stephen R. Covey comes off as highly intelligent, yet very relatable – despite originally published in 1989 – citing timeless examples related to parenting, sports, and organizational leadership. As always, our objective is to take from any readings and identify ways to apply them to our field of coaching.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is about a principle-centered, character-based, inside-out approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness.


The first chapter titled ‘Inside-Out’ infers true change takes place from self-reflection of our own character as opposed to surface adjustments to our personalities to assuage judgment from others. Character Ethics is a principled approach to self-improvement and interpersonal effectiveness; while Personality Ethics are seen as manipulative actions to achieve short-term objectives. To immediately pull basketball into the conversation, an expected issue for any coach throughout a season is playing time. How each coach determines playing time often is a collection of the A’s: Attitude – Aptitude – Ability. Communicating to the players how playing time is earned or why rotations have been allocated the way that they are can reveal Character Ethics versus Personality Ethics.

If I try to use human influence strategies and tactics of how to get other people to do what I want, to work better, to be more motivated, to like me and each other – while my character is fundamentally flawed, marked by duplicity and insincerity – then, in the long run, I cannot be successful.


Power of Paradigm

When there is a misunderstanding between coach and player on the amount of playing time during games, it is often a discrepancy of perceived value. The coach evaluates a player during a variety of activities on/off the floor that gives a level of confidence to the staff when making decisions for playing time and during what situations. For us coaches, there are preferable characteristics from our athletes that give us the confidence to play certain athletes over others during the course of a game or season. This approach could be considered our paradigm for success as it relates to determining playing time in order to win basketball games.

For our purposes, a simple way to understand paradigms is to see them as maps. We all know that “the map is not the territory.” A map is simply an explanation of certain aspects of the territory. That’s exactly what a paradigm is. It is a theory, an explanation, or model of something else.

  1. Basketball Skill: Most often is the loudest first impression
  2. Dependability: Any deposits (e.g. punctuality, play retention, effort, cleaning locker room, etc.) to increase trust
  3. Emotional Intelligence: Fancy way of coachability & leadership

Above, are my top three characteristics for what I often use to determine playing time throughout the course of a season. That is my paradigm for playing time. The book discusses paradigm shifts when revelations occur from being exposed to new information or alternate perspectives. For example, punctuality has always been very important to me in depositing into the bank account of dependability for future possible playing time. But, since working at the high school level I have lost count of the number of instances where home life has impacted an athlete’s ability to attend practice on time, or even at all. Now, my standard is still my standard. However, there are uncontrollable elements involved for many that can open my eyes to challenges some of my student-athletes face attempting to participate in extracurricular activities.

Maturity Continuum


Dependence is the paradigm of you – you take care of me; you come through for me; you dind’t come through – I blame you for the results.

Independence is the paradigm of I – I can do it; I am responsible; I am self-reliant I can choose.

Interdependence is the paradigm of we – we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities and create something greater together.


The last thing that we will cover from the first portion of the book is the maturity continuum. Thought this was a great model for team dynamics. Consider the team you are coaching, what does the maturity continuum look like with that particular group? To maximize the potential of any group comes with the maturity and comprehension of the interdependence from each other, which inherently combines the best of everyone working towards a collective mission. Early on in a player’s development, there is often a dependency from the coaches to teach skills, habits, and situations from the game. As their IQ expands from experience, so does the interdependency of team-building instilling accountability for help-side defensive principles or unselfishness to optimize shot selection.

Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won’t be good leaders or team players.


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