Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Critical thinking

Hey all,

On a totally different note than this thread today, I want to talk about one thing: I have an idea.
I have an idea for a GPS app on my phone. What on earth am I going to do with this idea?
I am just going to come out and tell you because I trust all of you. Let's say you are using your GPS to drive through a town you don't know. The GPS doesn't tell you if the roads or this town is very safe. Do you know what I am saying? This way that the GPS is taking me might be the quickest but it doesn't tell you that there were 16 car jackings in this one mile area last year.
This would be good to know if I am driving my family around trying to find a gas station.
Well, what do you think? Should I go global or what?

The Smiley Silly Bandz thing was going fairly slow. We were getting $25 orders. But things changed yesterday.
I had an orthodontist call up and told me he wanted to buy every thing we had. So he just bought 150 packs. Now that is what I am talking about!!!
We have decided to make another order of 10,000 (I know leap of faith). We are going to put 500 in a jar and start selling the jars for $99.
Now this one...I AM going global.

Okay, lets move on shall we?

Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. They asked me if I would help coach my son's 6th grade basketball team ... and I said "yes".
I should tell you that I am already assistant coaching for my 1st graders flag football team, which is twice a week (he is also in soccer twice a week for one more week). I do a Bible study on Monday night. My daughter is in swimming two to three days a week. But other than that I am not really doing anything.
But 6th grade basketball is the next level. It is not the rec league that practices once a week, for an hour, and has a game once a week and the season is over in 4 weeks.
NOOOOO, this is practice four days a week, for two hours, with 2 games a week and the season lasts 2 and a half months. What have I gotten myself into?

But I said okay and I am doing it ... there is no turning back.
So we are on the second week of practice. I thought the first week went pretty good.
It is all the same kids I have been coaching since they were in kindergarten. I feel like I have some investment in them. There are only two kids that I didn't know already.
One of the players I don't know is the best player on the team (and he knows it).

I don't know if you know this but I am a talker ... I know HUGE shock to all of you.
I talk before, during and after the drills. If I see something that needs to be tweaked in the way someone is doing a drill, I will mention it and move on.
Dribble with your left hand more,
Set you foot and then go straight up for that shot,
Good effort,
Your shot looks really good,
I need crisper passes,
Use the pick, don't just go around it,
Come on run harder,
You play like you practice.
Things like this...

So this really good kid was doing a drill and I told him, "You did a really nice job on that drill."
And he stopped and said, "You know that is the first time you have encouraged me."
At first I thought, "you're a punk, move on."
I thought he was trying to manipulate me.
I mean, I don't know him well, so I didn't know if he was being honest or if he was just being a punk.
So like most things, I brought this back to work.
I was telling my assistant about this.
And she said, "Yep, you are critical."
"WHAT?!!", I said, "What do you mean?"
She said you are not much of an encourager.
Then my front desk person who was not minding her own business and eavesdropping said, "No, you are not."
And I look out of the room and she was shaking her head and saying like she was sorry, "You really are not."
I was shocked. We are a family and they all know how much I love them.
But these two were telling me how I am not much of an encourager but very critical.
Then I brought it back to my wife and talked to her about it and she looked at me like, "DUH!!"

So I started to think...
I think I get it from my dad. My dad was and still is very critical of me.
I know he loves me and I love him but that was the way he was brought up. And this is the way I was brought up.
But I didn't think it was me.
Okay, wait a minute ... I know it's the way I treat my wife. I tell her how sorry I am that I am this way with her (sometimes she gets the grouchy me).
But I didn't think this was the way I was with my kids and my staff.
So back to my discussion with my staff; they started getting on me about my coaching and how kids are fragile and they need encouragement and blah, blah, blah.
I have always tried to be an encourager to my own kids and the kids I coach.
What is wrong with being critical? At least what is wrong with being constructively critical?
But I guess, they are telling me, some things might get lost in the translation.
So when I say, "you are not going straight up with your jump shot", the kid hears "Why are you even on this team, you suck and you will never make anything of yourself in life."
What is wrong with being critical?
Should I say, "I really like you, you are a really good kid and I really like you and in fact a lot of kids like you, but you are not going straight up with your jump shot".
So we can't be critical anymore? Aren't we trying to teach them about life?
Are they really all trying to be NBA players? No, they are playing basketball and learning about life. And life, let me tell you, is not full of "attaboys" and "great jobs, people really like you."

So when can we be critical?
Lets just say you are in a game and you are down by 25 points. Is this the time to start busting some balls or do we still have to consider their feelings?

Now I get the whole thing about being less critical but...
But that was the way I was coached and I turned out okay.
Coaching back in the 80's is much different than now. My coach screamed at me so much and got so up in my face that spittle got on me.
Now you all are gasping right now at the horror. But you know what ... the military does it and they ain't doing so bad at making boys into men.
You know what you say when a kid drops out of high school and is kind of trying to find himself. "Yeah, that kid needs to go into the military."
Because the military isn't all about feelings, it is about getting work done.
Okay so maybe the military might be a little strong and the all-feeling thing might be too easy ... so maybe somewhere in the middle might be "just right".

At work, I started to say something like, "That was a really nice temporary but the margin could be a little more flush on the facial. Here let me show you what I am talking about."
Is this okay?
I walked around today and told everyone they were doing a great job and they all looked at me like, "What is up with you and what do you want from me?"

I don't know, and it just seems so fake when I do it. I swear I am trying to do it with feeling.
I guess I am just wired in a different way. Like, other than being an alcoholic, I thought the Great Santini did a lot of things right (If you haven't seen the movie ... go get it right now).

I definitely think, and don't kill me for this, I think women have it a bit easier than men.
We are hunters and killers ... you have seen the cavemen movies.
What do you say when you in are in touch with your feelings? You say that you are in touch with your feminine side. Why would we say this? Because girls are about feelings. Men are all about punching each other and seeing who can pee farther.
This softer way of doing things is tough for guys. Now I know I am generalizing but...

I see myself getting in a little bit of trouble so I am going to stop while I am ahead.

What is it like with you?
Are you a touchy feely boss (not that there is anything wrong with that)?
Are you a critical dentist?
Do woman have it easier?

Do you coach? What is your coaching style like?

Talk to you on Friday,
No what I meant to say is, "I really like you all and it was great being with you today. Have you lost weight. I will talk to you on Friday because you are such a good person."


Cynthia Becker DDS MAGD said...

Maybe this is a little bit of a guy thing. My husband is practice administrator and I spent the first 10 years going after him to soothe ruffled feathers because of how critical he was. (Once, he sent back reports because they were stapled on the wrong side and would not slide into his folders correctly) It also extended to me, the dentist, as to business decisions etc. It got to where I did not want to have real conversations with him because I left each one feeling like I do nothing right. When I told him this, his response was like yours....why waste time on stuff that is already going good...just fix the bad stuff and you need someone to tell you where to start fixing....if all anyone does is celebrate, nothing gets improved. My feeling is that you need to go to the middle. Compliment 2 times for every criticism, compliment in public, criticize in private and keep them separate to keep from appearing goofy, like those tags on the end of the blog. If it is hard to find good stuff to compliment, it tells you that you are used to only paying attention to the 'fixable' stuff. BTW, women dont have it easier, just different. Women share too much with women bosses, from personal medical stuff to every detail of their relationships and every creak and groan of pregnancies. They are not usually so candid with male bosses, nor do they expect to be cut any slack for it. Seems like the "girl club" expects you to understand and sympathize. I have been the boss for too long as I can say most of the time I DO NOT! I am penalized for being too direct with hurt feelings, and if a guy were to say the same thing, it would be business as usual. Not a bad thing for your staff to be honest though. They obviously were ok with you as you were or they would not be there! Ease into any change to avoid the hairy eyeballs and enjoy the big rewards for small changes due to personal insights! Cynthia Becker DDS

Terri Bocciardi said...

John, you're a GREAT coach! (speaking as the mom of one of your players for a very long time.)


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