3:1 Praise:Critcize

As a general rule, it’s best to maintain a 3:1 praise to criticize ratio. This means for every negative critique you make of a situation, you should also make three positive praises.

People have a tendency to emphasize the negative when coaching (and coaching can be done in many environments whether on a field or court to in a classroom or meeting room). There seems to be a belief that the people know what they are doing correctly so the time is spent pointing out what is being done poorly (or what could be done better)

If we point out the positives as well as the negatives (in the 3:1 ratio) we will find people respond and learn, much better

Have a great day!


Get the facts

There is a tendency to see a situation and to react without knowing what caused the situation in the first place. It’s a difficult issue because you don’t want to over analyze a situation which can result in analysis paralysis but on the other hand, reacting without knowing the facts can cause for some difficulties as well.

An example would be if you hear an employee who is dealing with a client somewhat abruptly. You hear the client ask a question and the employee gives a one or two word answer. You might be inclined to step in and explain things in greater detail or pull the employee to the side and chastise them for not giving greater details. However, the facts you might not know is the client might have explained they were in a hurry and just needed basic information. Or, while you step in and chastise the employee, you might find out that just 10 minutes earlier, they lost a loved one and are in shock. In that case, rather than chastising the employee, it would be better to relieve them of what they are doing and allow them to take care of what they need to do and you, or someone else, can work with the client.

Too often, people jump to conclusions without getting the facts and it results in an uncomfortable situation for them, and others around them

When in doubt, get the facts!

Have a great day

PS All blog posts are now archived and can be seen at http://www.lawrencefine.com/blog/archives/

Go take a hike!

Yesterday I was trying to get some work done and kept running into problems. I couldn’t do A because B was getting in the way. I couldn’t do B because C was creating a problem etc. The more I tried to do, the more problems I encountered. After sitting at my computer for a few hours and creating more problems than solutions I decided the best thing to do was…go take a hike.

Rather than continue to look at the same things over and over and not get anything done, I went on a 3 hour hike in the state forest (for those of you not familiar with Charleston WV, we really do have a state forest with excellent hiking only 6 miles from downtown). I didn’t think about the work issues at all while hiking instead I just relaxed and looked at nature.

When you think there is an obstacle you can’t overcome and then you see how a small stream can cut into large rocks over the course of a long time, it reminds you that things don’t always happen right away but with persistence anything can be overcome.

When you think your issues are huge, take the time to look at something really big and realize that no matter how big you think you are or how big you think your problems are, they are insignificant when compared to everything that is really out there and with some persistence you can overcome anything.

So when things are bothering you…go take a hike!

Have a great day!


Stress is Stress

One of the mistakes people make is they assume that everyone handles stress the same way. We look at others and wonder why they let such small things cause them stress when it seems they should be able to handle things much better.

Business executives might be making multi-million dollar decisions and not find it too terribly stressful so when they hear others stressing out over much smaller issues they don’t get understand what the big deal is

College soccer coaches might be making travel arrangements for their team for the entire season so when they hear a player saying she is stressed out over a quiz for a class.

An attorney might be comfortable arguing a case in front of the state supreme court so find it unusual that a daughter is stressed out over making a presentation in front of her class.

The thing that people have to understand is while different people feel stress over different issues, regardless of the cause of the stress, stress is stress. Whether it’s from speaking in front of 50,000 people or 5 people, if one feels stress, it’s a big issue to them and should not be discounted by others.

When you are around others who are experiencing stress, rather than telling them to relax because it’s not a big deal, it’s important to understand it is a big deal to them and being told to relax doesn’t help at all. Instead, try to help them figure out why this causes them stress and then how they can overcome this.

Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you think something should be stressful or not, if someone else finds it stressful it’s stressful to them and should not be ignored or discounted in any way.

Have a great day!


Does the name matter?

When you hear or read something, what is more important to you, the message or the messenger?

Pepsi made great strides a number of years ago with their “blind taste tests” to determine which tasted better Pepsi or Coke. The question to think about is do you do “blind tests” on information or do you (and should you) be influenced by the name of the person providing the information?

For those of you who watch “American Idol” do you think some of the big name performers who sell millions of CD’s and fill up large stadiums would go far on a show like that if the judges (and the voters) didn’t know who they were? Would Bruce Springsteen be told he was “too pitchy” and wouldn’t make it as a performer on a cruise ship?

Around 10 years ago I started the website FineSoccer.com. Over the next 8 years it grew to over 1300 pages and I was sending out over 120,000 email newsletters a week with soccer coaching information. At no point did I ever put anything on that web site such as an “About Us” page or any information on my background. I did this intentionally because I wanted people to judge the site on the content and not the author. There were professional coaches subscribed to the newsletters, national team coaches and thousands of coaches of youth. Should they have asked ‘who is this person and why should we believe him” or were they correct in not worrying about the messenger and only worrying about the message?

Have you ever read something, or heard something that didn’t make any sense to you at all but then when you heard who said it, your opinion changed dramatically?

I do believe that people earn respect based on their history and experience but do we give too much respect to some people and therefore believe their message even though it doesn’t make sense simply because of who the messenger is?

When you receive information in the future, do some “blind tests” to determine the message makes sense as opposed to making a judgement solely on the name of the messenger

Have a great day!


The Saturation Point

There is a wonderful book titled “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell (http://www.gladwell.com/tippingpoint/index.html) which discusses how little things can make a big difference. Rather than try to explain the thought behind the book, I would strongly recommend everyone read this book.

While The Tipping Point discusses how change can happen quite quickly and as a result of what might appear to be a small thing, the opposite would be The Saturation Point

We have all experienced the saturation point. It’s when you are told to do the same thing over and over and finally, you get to the point where you end up NOT doing anything because you got so fed up with hearing it.

As children we all experienced the repeated calling by a parent “clean your room, did you clean your room yet?” You hear it so many times that finally you go out of your way to NOT clean your room.

In a work place, people are repeatedly told how important something is to finish yet somehow they forget to do it. Why is that? It’s because they got to the saturation point.

There are soccer coaches who yell all the time during games. In their mind, they are helping the players on the field but in reality, the players are ignoring them (or even worse, are doing the opposite) because they hit the saturation point

There is a fine line between emphasizing the importance of a matter and crossing the saturation point. The person who is about to cross the saturation point should be able to read the non verbal clues of the recipient but unfortunately, most who cross that point, aren’t aware the possibility exists.

Once you have crossed the saturation point, it’s extremely difficult to reverse yourself. Be patient, be aware and be willing to apologize.

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Have a great day!