Land of the Sky Tournament information can be found by clicking on the button above.

Newcomers to the site should note the pickleball book "chapters" in the left column and the repository of expert articles and videos in the right column.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Pickleball and Business Relationships

Today's post will be a copied article from the Aug 25, 2015 Forbes Magazine and written by Victor Lipman.

What A Casual Game Of Pickleball Can Teach Us About Management

I’ve long since come to the conclusion you learn management lessons in the darnedest places. This morning it was in a conversation with a young friend of mine who played her first game of pickleball last night.

For those who might not be familiar with pickleball, it’s a variant of tennis played with a net, paddles and a wiffleball-like ball. But no matter. The game could be ski jumping, surfing, horseback riding or ice hockey. The sport doesn’t matter. The interpersonal dynamics do.

Pickleball (Photo by Craig Lassig/Invision for Humana/AP Images)

So my young friend (we’ll call her “Pickle”) told me the story. She was at an instructional
clinic introducing new players to the game, with two games going on at the same time on adjacent courts.

The evening started badly. Pickle had never played before and was making plenty of mistakes. She had a hard time hitting the ball where she wanted it to go. One time it even deflected back off her paddle and scraped the bridge of her nose, causing it to slightly bleed. Another time one of the players on her team said to her (it might have been jokingly but it was hard for her to tell), “Hey, do you have a hole in your racquet?” Meanwhile the instructor wasn’t saying anything, just quietly playing pickleball along with the rest of them. Pickle was miserable, unsure how to hit the ball right, feeling like she wanted to leave and cry, though maybe not in that order.

Just as things were looking bleakest, however, the players rotated courts, so while the teams stayed the same they now had different instructors. The new instructor watched the play for a few minutes, then came over, took Pickle aside, asked her to take a few practice swings and spoke to her thoughtfully, showing her how to adjust the position of her feet a bit and add more ‘flick’ to her serve. The transformation was immediate: Pickle (who is a good natural athlete) began to strike the ball cleanly and accurately. More importantly, she began to enjoy the game. Instead of feeling bad about herself, frustrated with her teammates, and wondering if the bridge of her nose were bleeding, she found herself having fun – thoroughly enjoying the game and the rest of the evening.

It’s amazing what a little insightful coaching will do. Attitude, especially in the learning stages of an endeavor, is often fragile. Simply because one instructor took the time to analyze the situation and communicate quickly and insightfully – whereas the other either hadn’t noticed or just wasn’t the communicative type – young Pickle’s whole experience changed 180 degrees. She went, in the blink of a coach’s eye, from hating Pickleball to having a fine productive time.

Unfortunately, a similar dynamic all too frequently plays out in the world of management. Employees invariably respond well to encouraging, helpful coaching. A multitude of management studies confirm this. Yet so often what happens is that employees don’t receive the coaching or communication or recognition or whatever you choose to call it – and consequently founder in their jobs, feeling disengaged, isolated, subtly resentful, and almost always less than 100% productive.

It’s especially unfortunate because a touch of timely coaching is so simple. In Pickle’s case the instructor took her aside and worked with her for about three minutes. It made all the difference in attitude and performance.

Pretty nice ROI for a no-cost three-minute investment.

No comments:

Post a Comment