The Importance of Admitting Mistakes

Developing a Culture of Honesty

Morgan Housel writing at the Collaborative Fund unpacks the importance of admitting errors in building trust:

An important point here is defining what brutal honesty means. A culture of honesty is usually seen as the ability to call out your co-workers – especially those below you – when they make a mistake. This is good, but can backfire if taken too far. Excessive criticism smashes morale, causes defensiveness, and is often rooted in your own insecurity. A smarter culture of honesty is when people feel comfortable revealing their own mistakes – especially managers and those at the top. Trickle-down honesty.

Last week I reviewed Black Box Thinking a book that takes a deep look at mistakes and how to grow from them.

Read the entire article The Power of Brutal Honesty here.

Weekend Reads: Is Your Workout Working?

It’s snowing here.  I was heading out for a hike, but my little car can’t handle the roads.  So, it’s a good time to get my weekend links out.

Healthy Coach Links

From Science Daily,  Is there such a thing as an emotional hangover?

From The New York Times No such thing as non-responders

Among fitness scientists, these people are known as “nonresponders.” Their bodies simply don’t respond to the exercise they are doing. And once discouraged, they often return to being nonexercisers.

But an inspiring and timely new study suggests that nonresponders to one form of exercise can probably switch to another exercise regimen to which their body will respond. And a simple test you can do at home will help you determine how well your workout is working for you.

Also, from The New York Times,  A Guide to Better Sleep

Wealthy Coach Links:

From Get Rich Slowly The Power of Compound Interest

You can make compounding work for you by doing a few simple things:

1. Start early. The younger you start, the more time compounding has to work in your favor and the wealthier you can become. The next best thing to starting early is starting now.

2. Make regular investments. Don’t be haphazard. Remain disciplined, and make saving for retirement a priority. Do whatever it takes to maximize your contributions.

3. Be patient. Do not touch the money. Compounding only works if you allow your investment to grow. The results will seem slow at first, but continue on. Persevere! Most of the magic of compounding returns comes at the very end. Compounding creates a snowball of money. At first, your returns seem small; but if you are patient, they will become enormous.

From Jason Zweig, Fees Really Do Matter

From The Irrelevant Investor, Looking for the Next Amazon

Investment book I’m reading:

workout working

The Wise Coach Links:

From Harvard Business Review: Decision Making

From Positive Coaching Alliance: Topics for Discussion

From Player Development Project: Learning Dynamics

Learn From Mistakes. Your Own and Others.

Black Box Thinking

Mistakes are inevitable. The ability to learn from mistakes is not, yet it is a critical factor in our growth and success as professionals.
I just finished the book Black Box Thinking: Marginal Gains and the Secrets of High Performance by Mathew Syed. I recommend it for anyone interested in examining more deeply our failures, our successes, and the intersection of the two.

The “black box” in the title refers to the little black box in every cockpit that informs the airline industry on the cause of each accident. The point is to improve future performance, eliminate error in critical moments and to encourage growth and development based on those errors.
He sums “Black Box Thinking up this way:


“It is not about literally creating a black box, rather it is about the willingness and tenacity to investigate the lessons that often exist when we fail, but which we rarely exploit. It is about creating systems and cultures that enable organizations to learn from errors, rather than being threatened by them.”
learn from mistakes
Photo by wbaiv

One thing, this book brings many disparate ideas together. You may find yourself wishing that it went a bit deeper on a certain point or feel unsatisfied with Syed’s interpretation. I decided that for any idea I was particularly interested in the book served as a starting point for my investigation not an ending point. This is the same way I feel when I read many of Malcolm Gladwell’s books. For example, Gladwell introduced many people to the idea of deliberate training, but he also created an incomplete picture of the concept which you would know only if you hear/read about deliberate training from Anders Ericcson himself. But that is a topic for a different post.

Back to the topic at hand.

Continue reading “Learn From Mistakes. Your Own and Others.”

Social Capital Helps Build Stronger Teams

Grow Your Social Capital

social capital helps build stronger teamsHere’s an interesting article from the business world on how social capital helps build stronger teams.  Margaret Heffernan, writing at, points to social capital as a key to building a successful team.

So, what exactly is social capital? She defines it as “the trust, knowledge, reciprocity and shared norms that create quality of life and make a group resilient.”

Continue reading “Social Capital Helps Build Stronger Teams”

Health and Fitness Links: Recovery, good bosses and sleep

Recovery: Hard workout? Get social

The concept is relatively simple: being in a positive social environment following a hard effort works to balance one’s endocrine system faster than if they were alone, as a 2014 study from Imperial College in Great Britain found when they looked at moderating stress reactivity in professional rugby players.

Photo by Moyan_Brenn

Continue reading “Health and Fitness Links: Recovery, good bosses and sleep”

Sunday Links: Focus on the Learning Process

*Carol Dweck interviewed in the Atlantic elaborates on the idea of growth mindset including a look at false growth mindset

False growth mindset is saying you have growth mindset when you don’t really have it or you don’t really understand [what it is]. It’s also false in the sense that nobody has a growth mindset in everything all the time. Everyone is a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. …So I think we all, students and adults, have to look for our fixed-mindset triggers and understand when we are falling into that mindset.
To find out that teachers were using it in the same way was of great concern to me. The whole idea of growth-mindset praise is to focus on the learning process. When you focus on effort, [you have to] show how effort created learning progress or success.

Continue reading “Sunday Links: Focus on the Learning Process”

A Coach’s Influence Beyond the Field

Coach's influenceWhat is a coach’s influence?

I just came across this lovely tribute in Runner’s World to cross country coach Elmer Swanson written by his student, running legend Amby Burfoot.

Here is his description of Swanson:

A good throwback, despite the nasty chewing-tobacco habit, which he gave up a year or two later. Elmer was a gentleman, a family man, a great storyteller, and an always-reassuring presence….

We Wesleyan runners particularly appreciated his warmth, calm demeanor, and unswerving dedication to our pursuits….

In November, 1966, I took the first plane trip of my life with Elmer and attended my first National meet (Wheaton, Illinois), then called the NCAA Small College Cross-Country Championships. “Have fun and hurry back,” he said just before the start, a remark he repeated to thousands of Wesleyan harriers through the years.

He goes on to describe the critical role coaches have in player’s lives. Check it out .

Swanson,who had not been a competitive runner himself, coached an impressive array of successful athletes, including Jeff Galloway.

The article in Runner’s World led me to the time Burfoot wrote about another coach of his who he credits for much of his success in running and beyond.


Peter Drucker

"The best way to predict your future is to create it" -- Peter Drucker

Peter DruckerIf you are interested in running a business it will be helpful to read a little Peter Drucker.  Actually if you are running a team he would be a great resource. There is more for coaches than anyone credits.

Drucker, one of the few business management writers I enjoy reading, organizes his thoughts clearly and effectively.

Continue reading “Peter Drucker”