For the C in perfeCt, let’s consider if Counting is a better approach for slowing your Bias to Action and execution… or as my Dad would say, Put your Brain In Gear before putting your mouth in motion
Counting before Action cures the Bias of perfeCt to execute… you
“Johnny try harder!!” One of the shorter members of our team was not able to keep up with the boys as they were becoming young men. His parents were hoping their voices would “help” him to be a more PERFECT player… and I could Count on it making him execute worse. He knew that there was no way to catch these bigger kids, and eventually, he left the team. Having been short my whole life, I understood, but that didn’t make it easy for me…
… so much of my management training came on these soccer fields. Watching young people learn how to become a team was a MasterClass in human behavior. You can see results without the masks that “adults” put on to hide what is still the same “kid”. I could see it clearly as plays and drills were executed – what I said vs. what they heard vs. what I meant vs. what would actually work… I could Count on almost instant feedback to clarify and clean up my communication skills.
Can you Count on Acting when you are not perfeCt?
Returning to the album from yesterday, on today’s track House has mastered his instrument to perfection again, achieving some of the best slide moments with his National Duolian resonator from the ’30s. He was invited to play at many festivals, and he loved executing in front of crowds that he never had when he started out back in Mississippi. He had loved seeing his influence spread over new generations when Wilson’s Canned Heat played Woodstock. He wouldn’t know but years later as we said on Monday, Jack White and White Stripes covered this song, with the same primitive caveman spirit (but plugged and distorted) in their De Stijl. All from a man who executed out of time, with skills that were not “right” but with emotion that has still been hard to match.
Acting – after Counting – is the Bias for perfeCt
A key tenet of Design Thinking is a “Bias for Action” – or as I would often say “DO SOMETHING”. Not focusing on PERFECT, Design Thinking recognizes that multiple incremental steps will execute towards a solution that will be closer to what is needed. It could be an excuse or a crutch for my lack of attention to details, but a good Design Thinking plan actually has enough process and structure to improve with each incremental execution. And… I have added, for me, one additional process that has helped tremendously – Count. As in “Count to 10” before you speak, Act, or execute.
Another use of the word Count that is helpful is to look around you and Count to see if you have the right Team around you. There were many games as the boys continued to grow, drive, and discover other activities. I would be standing on the sideline wondering if I would have 11 players to execute this PERFECT game plan. Often I would have to adapt to those players that were available, and it was less than perfect, but much more fun, to be candid. We had all gotten past the “Travel Soccer’s” moniker of focus on “Just Win Baby”. It was the joy of the game that we all had rediscovered by leaving that negative, Biased, executing mindset in the parking lot.
Count on “Acting as if” you know that executing doesn’t need perfeCt
One of my favorite phrases from all kinds of Coaching I have done is “Act As If” – the plea to Count on your positive voices, and follow those notes. Muting the negative PERFECT phrases, and looking to Bias your Actions to what you can and should do next. That is the PERFECT antidote to what we all hide in our heads: the Death Letter Blues.