The Gymnastics Life
I just started reading the book "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek, and thought it would be beneficial to share my thoughts and how it applies to the business of gymnastics and coaching. I think all of us as business owners and coaches want to know how to inspire employees (and athletes) to take action.
Chapter 1 starts with this:
"On a cold January day, a forty-three-year-old man was sworn in as chief executive of his country. By his side stood his predecessor, a famous general who, fifteen years earlier, had commanded his nation's armed forces in a war that resulted in the defeat of Germany. The young leader was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. He spent the next five hours watching parades in his honor and stayed up celebrating until three o'clock in the morning." p. 11
Like me, you may have assumed he was describing John F. Kennedy. That is until you get the date, January 30, 1933, it was Adolf Hitler.
His point is, we make assumptions based off incomplete or false information. Our behavior is affected by assumptions. He uses the example of a flat earth. During this period there was little exploration. People then realized the earth was round and exploration has no limits. (p.11)
He then asks you to consider organizations; how they're formed? why decisions are made? why some are successful and others are not? And, do we just assume we know why? (p.12)
"No matter your definition of success-- how we go about achieving our success is very similar. Some of us just wing it, but most of us try to at least gather some data so we can make educated decisions." (p. 12)
He then illustrated a friend who invests stocks with his own money. When he does well, he claims it was because of his ability to pick the right stocks, if he didn't do well, it was the markets fault.
"Sometimes when things go right, we think we know why, but do we really?" p.13
"We read books, attend conferences, listen to podcasts and ask friends and colleagues -- all with the purpose of finding out more so we can figure out what to do or how to act. The problem is. we've all been in situations in which we have all the data and get lots of good advice but things still don't go quite right." p. 13
He continues that our decisions are based off data, and sometimes we ignore that data and make decisions off our gut feelings. He says, "the dance between gut and rational decision-making pretty much coves how we conduct business and even live our lives."
He ends the chapter with a story about two car manufacturers. One in America and one in Japan. The American company had a line worker at the very end that had a rubber mallet to tap the doors to make sure they fit perfectly, the Japanese did not. The confused American company asked how they made sure the doors fit perfectly the Japanese company responded, "We make sure it fits when we design it."
The Japanese company engineered the outcome from the beginning. They didn't need to employ someone to tap the doors nor to buy rubber mallets. What the Americans did with the rubber mallet is a metaphor for how many people organize and lead, we basically hammer around and place short term solutions that don't solve the situation.
As gym owners, managers, and head coaches we always make assumptions. Towards customers, staff, and athletes. Do you just assume that other gym businesses and teams are successful because of a,b,c and things are not going well with you because of x,y,z? Or a certain athlete can't get a skill because of this or that? If something goes wrong do you blame it on a certain staff member before assessing? Or maybe overlooking employees for particular rolls when you should have delegated?
Ask yourself, are you just chucking it or have you engineered the end from the beginning i.e. do you have systems in place for every roll and every task in the gym? Is it detailed enough that each staff member can flourish? Are you communicating with your team staff so you all have the same goal and are on the same page (yearly outline)? Are you talking with your athletes and their parents? Are expectations known and set? Are daily lessons made for your classes all the way to your highest team level?
I think if you looked under the hood you will see that most successful gyms and teams are doing this whether they know it or not.