Weekend Links: The Art of Persuasion and More

Here’s some of what we’ve been reading this week.  Click each title to find the full article.

The Leader

Masters in Business Podcast: Robert Cialdini, author of Influence and Presuasion

RITHOLTZ: Let me give you a quote from the book which I find fascinating, “We all fool ourselves from time to time in order to keep our thoughts and beliefs consistent with what we have already done.” Why is the desire for consistency such a motivator of behavior?

CIALDINI: Two reasons one is we prefer to have our — for reasons of self concept to be consistent within ourselves, right? We want to see ourselves as reasonable, as logical, and rational individuals would be — would say one thing that would fit with the next thing we say, the other is the people around us want us to be consistent too.

And so for both of those reasons, internal status and external status, we want to be consistent and appear to be consistent in our environment.

Masters in Business Podcast

The World’s Worst Boss 

There are few good books on being a good manager. Fewer still on managing yourself. It’s hard to think of a more essential thing to learn.

Seth’s Blog

Ten Traits of a Drucker-Like Leader

Even worse than wasting your own time is wasting the time of others. Drucker reminds us that leaders can be their own organizations’ worst bottlenecks. “In a knowledge organization, if something sits in the leader’s in-box for two weeks, it’s like the line being down in a factory for two weeks,” says Wartzman. “No one would tolerate that.”


Managers Can’t Be Great Coaches All By Themselves

The first surprise: Whether a manager spends 36% or 9% of her time on employee development doesn’t seem to matter. “There is very little correlation between time spent coaching and employee performance,” says Jaime Roca, one of Gartner’s practice leaders for human resources. “It’s less about the quantity and more about the quality.”


Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Her mother-in-law once advised her that the key to a happy marriage was sometimes pretending to be a little deaf; Ruth has said the same applies to being a female Supreme Court justice. “When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best to tune it out,” she observed. “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”


Health and Fitness

The Power of the Lift 

From  the author of Endure one of my favorite books this year

That’s great news. Even better is that it doesn’t take much. The study’s main conclusion is that even one session or less than an hour a week of resistance training reduced the risk of cardiac events and death from all causes during the study, no matter how much (or how little) aerobic exercise the subjects were also doing.


The American Diet

“We have known from some small, not well controlled studies that the microbiome does change — and we have known for many years that adopting a Western lifestyle is associated with an increase in disease,” said microbial ecosystem expert Jack Gilbert, director of the University of Chicago’s Microbiome Center, who was not involved with the current study. “This brings those two concepts together.”

Washington Post

The Art of Coaching

Lessons from the All Blacks

In response, a new management team under Graham Henry began to rebuild the world’s most successful sporting team from the inside out. They wanted a fresh culture that placed emphasis on individual character and personal leadership. Their mantra? ‘Better People Make Better All Blacks’. The result? An incredible win-rate of just over 86pc, and a Rugby World Cup.


The NBA’s Next Great Coach

In his 15 seasons as an NBA player, Kerr played for elite coaches such as Cotton Fitzsimmons (832 career wins), Lenny Wilkens (1,332 wins), Phil Jackson (1,155 wins) and Gregg Popovich (1,022 wins). So he knows how great coaches operate. Part of what he has learned is the importance of perspective: Maintaining a sense of humor and playfulness by showing your team that, indeed, there is more to life than basketball.


You Can’t Measure Everything


You might like: Legacy

You might like: The Leadership Moment

My Next Book To Read

(The Coaching Conversation is an amazon affiliate. Every time you purchase through here you support this blog. We thank you for doing so. Of course, we also think the public library and your local independent bookstore are good choices as well.)

Quiet Power: Not Everybody Will Be the Same Kind of Leader

Do You Coach an Introvert or Quiet Athlete?

Do you coach an introvert or have a really quiet athlete on your team?  Perhaps you are an introvert yourself?

If so, you may want to take a look at Susan Cain’s books, Quiet and Quiet Power. I have read and can recommend the first.

Quiet reminds us to make room on our teams for the  introverted athletes without requiring anyone to change or to be self-conscious.

You don’t need to be loud to have the best ideas. Strength is not correlated to loudness. There’s an amount of light that is best for each person.  Allow the athlete to find and enjoy that light.  There is power is authenticity; power in quiet.

So if you coach an introvert perhaps just celebrate who she actually is without judgment or concern.

Quiet Power is on my list.

Look Beyond the Leaders

She also contributed a piece to the New York Times about the importance of followers in an organization.

She makes a compelling case that we emphasize the leadership requirements for all applicants and students ignoring the obvious–not everybody can be the leader.

“Yet a well-functioning student body — not to mention polity — also needs followers. It needs team players. And it needs those who go their own way.

It needs leaders who are called to service rather than to status.”

In the process she asserts by thinking of leadership in only one way we also hollow out the meaning of leadership.

“One young woman told me about her childhood as a happy and enthusiastic reader, student and cellist — until freshman year of high school, when “college applications loomed on the horizon, and suddenly, my every activity was held up against the holy grail of ‘leadership,’ ” she recalled. “And everyone knew,” she added, “that it was not the smart people, not the creative people, not the thoughtful people or decent human beings that scored the application letters and the scholarships, but the leaders. It seemed no activity or accomplishment meant squat unless it was somehow connected to leadership.”


“Not Leadership Material? Good the World Needs Followers”  (NY Times March 24)


((Disclosure:  The Coaching Conversation is an amazon affiliate. If you purchase a book or anything through here the blog makes a small percentage. Thank you in advance.)

Failing Your Way to Success

Des Linden, Failing Your Way to Success

This video is an excerpt of the Rich Roll podcast in which he interviews Des Linden about her journey to victory at the Boston Marathon.

There are lots of insights here, but stay to the end.

The Element of Luck

Can you make your own luck? Can you deal with some failure in order to create success?

There was an interesting interview up on Wired.CO.UK  with Frans Johansson, the author of the new book The Click Moment.

I want to point to one interesting question and response.  The question reminded me that not only do individuals need a “growth mindset” to be successful, which I have written about before, but companies and teams do as well.

You have to be willing to make your way through some failure in order to get to the point of success.

Here’s the question and answer:

“What sort of people do you need for this kind of approach?
You need a passionate team that has the wherewithal to stick with it through the inevitable mistakes they’ll make. This requires companies to reward output instead of punishing failure. Action matters more than sitting and running numbers. If you decrease the cost of failure you will see that people’s risk tolerance will go up.”

The implication for coaches is clear:

Celebrate risk taking.  Create a culture in which your athletes try new things, see the effort and intent over the outcome and you will end up with a team willing to learn, to explore, to get out of the comfort zone. In other words, a team that can make your own luck.

I do not mean this in a vacuous way where praise is without meaning. Instead,  when the consequences are real, winning and losing are on the line, hold steady to your principles. When success comes, even if it is later and appears to be separate, the ability to stay the course will have mattered.  To some degree you made your own luck, by the ability to stay the course through the difficult.

For instance, in that tight game when an athlete tries something you have been working on for weeks and fails. Acknowledge that courage even if you need to suggest the alternatives within the context of that particular game.

Make it safe to grow. Make your own luck.

Effective Coaching

The other day I was watching a soccer tournament with some friends. Lining the field were all the college coaches and parents. One team was doing pretty well; the other was struggling. The coach of the struggling team kept getting up to yell. Most of what he was yelling was an explanation of what his team was doing wrong. It seemed his audience was the coaches and parents lining the field. He wanted to be sure they knew that he was better than his team. He was separating himself; drawing a distinction between his knowledge and theirs.

It may have made him feel better, but it’s not effective coaching.