Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
Looking Back to Go Forward
It’s common practice for professional and even amateur coaches to review game film to identify areas of improvement for their players in both their individual movements as well as nuances of how the players interact together when facing another team. The higher the ranks you rise, the greater importance is placed on film study to improve your own play but also to learn the tendencies of your opponent.
When young players begin to watch film, they focus on watching to see themselves. To see what went right and to share their success with others. As a coach, it is one of the more difficult challenges to keep them focused on where they need to improve instead of using that time having fun & reveling in their glory. As a coach, you need to balance the need to improve, with keeping them engaged and motivated. To provide feedback in such a way as it is desirable and not as a criticism and a way to weaken their confidence.
Just like any learning opportunity, the power is in the question and how the player responds. Players should reflect on the questions and improve their ability to assess the situation and identify pathways forward. Why did that move work? What else could have you done? Where were your teammates? What did you see?
When I was much younger, my dad and I would spend hours reviewing games to look for areas of improvement and to learn more about how the game should be played. I have since enjoyed doing the same thing with my own kids which I feel is one of the reasons they have been recognized for having high basketball IQs. They didn’t just play the game but studied the game in an attempt to understand the best way to play.
What is interesting is that the biases you have in real time, still translate to film study. It’s evident when you see the Twitter posts after a big game and a questionable call is being fanatically supported and challenged depending upon the fan’s allegiance. When you don’t have any skin in the game, it is comical when you see the instant replay and quickly realize the bias of the fans. But what about when you are the fan?
In work and life, we have a tendency to make snap judgements as well due to our preconceived opinions. Our surroundings and life experiences shape our perspectives. You see the results of silos showing up as people look for reasons something failed. Our sales team blames manufacturing for not making a quality product. The manufacturing team blames R&D for not designing a good product. Then R&D blames sales for not providing clear requirements. Every group jumps to their reasoning based upon their own biases.
Outside of sports, film study is a little rarer. Instead, you review control charts and quality records in manufacturing. Programmers review code and perform desktop simulations. Finance departments perform audits. Teams across all industries use a Lessons Learned approach to breakdown situations to gain an understanding of what went right and what went wrong. Basically, the KSS of Keep doing, Stop doing and Start doing.
Performing a lesson learned process can help shed light on the real problems that exist that are creating some of the symptoms that people are clinging to that support their biases. A systematic problem-solving method allows you to peel back the onion, to dig deeper and get to some of the fundamental challenges. Performing a simple 5 Why, that keeps asking more questions quickly causes the biases to fall away and add clarity to the team.
Years ago, we experienced an increased scrap rate in production. Our intuition focused on operator error and the need for training. The corrective actions taken did help but not to the degree that was expected. So, we formed a problem-solving team to Peel the Onion. Digging deeper we were able to narrow down the problem statement and get beyond the symptoms. We were able to look at both the individuals and the processes with a critical eye. Knowing that we were only looking for the problem so we could correct it moving forward, there was a renewed openness and willingness to look more closely. Finding improvement areas and putting in corrections not only allowed us to eliminate the scrap, but it also enabled us to improve yield on other existing and future products as we built the improvements into new processes and included them in our Design Failure Modes.
Whether you are using film study in sports or a quality audit in manufacturing, taking the time to review past actions - not for the sake of the actions - for the benefits you gain from that review is what will allow you to improve Beyond Today.
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Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.
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