Results Oriented Work Environment

In Leadership by Brock Bourgase

Last week, during an friendly with the Lost Angeles Galaxy, Manchester City forward Mario Balotelli received in a ball in the clear and elected to spin around and attempt to kick it backwards towards the net. He missed badly, fans jeered and teammates threw their arms up in exasperation. Coach Roberto Mancini substituted the striker immediately, which led to a blow up on the touch line (using Italian words which should not be repeated) and a tantrum by the twenty-year old player. For Balotelli, it was another incident in a tumultuous career.

All coaches have to decide where the team that they coach stands on the spectrum between development and performance. Is it an off-season workout or a playoff game? Is it a youth team or a professional club? Each situation differs.

All coaches must also decide how active they will be in forming habits and reinforcing this behaviour. Philosophies cannot echo the philosophies of both John Wooden (“Don’t worry about the game, worry about the practice.”) and Allen Iverson (“I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re in here talking about practice.”); there must be a choice which all team members buy into.

Clearly, basketball practices need to be intense. Or at least, elite basketball practices need to be intense. Coaches strive to create game intensity and quality whenever the team assembles in the gym. Phil Jackson always placed Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on opposing squads when the Chicago Bulls scrimmaged so the competitiveness of the two Hall of Famers could push each of them to their potential. Jackson could mostly step aside during these fierce mental and physical battles defined dedicated practice.

Whilst there is a place for a low-organization game to add levity to a practice, a tune-up for a season where millions of dollars is at stake demands dedicated practice. Mistakes – thoroughly reflected upon and honestly evaluated – help many individuals learn. As the level of competition intensifies, expectations rise. It is not a change in standards but an evolution. There’s a reason the Yearly Planning Instrument identifies these periods as “Peak” relative to the rest of the season. Elite teams demand more from each player and coach. If you want it, you need to show you can do it.

Balotelli has frustrated Mancini for a long time because it’s not evident that he wants it nor that he can do it. He’s been suspended for throwing darts at City’s youth academy members and is notorious for his propensity to draw red cards in critical matches. In order for Manchester City to perform at their potential in the Premiership and Champions League, Mancini wants to see dedicated practice from Balotelli today. There’s a long way to go and habits must be established now so they can be relied upon next spring.

Across the ocean, rumours about that the departure of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards from the Philadephia Flyers may have been as much related to conduct away from the ice as it was salary. Coach Peter Laviolette was concerned about the team’s consumption of alcohol and asked the players to commit to “Dry Islands” during key parts of the season. Carter and Richards refused to sign these pledges.

Heavy alcohol use can affect training and performance for up to ninety-six hours. Alcohol use can harm elite hockey players by impairing concentration and skill performance, reducing reaction time and acceleration and lowering explosive power and strength. Alcohol consumption after one game can lead to poor performance in the next one. Laviolette wished to ensure that the Flyers played their best hockey during the season and all players – who received high salaries to be in excellent physical condition – should have abided by the reasonable requests, including star players.

A Results-Only Work Environment (R.O.W.E) provides employees with autonomy regarding how they will go about their duties. The job requirements remain the same but workers can adjust their schedule and style to suit their needs and preferences. Intrinsic motivation, like the competence, relatedness and autonomy which create enjoyment of the task, supplants the extrinsic motivation of a carrot and a stick.

On could describe the Triangle Offence as a R.O.W.E.: there’s no way to prevent Kobe Bryant from going one-on-one but he understands that the Los Angeles Lakers are still expected to win scores of games. Players want to do it their way and this motivates them but they do not deserve Carte Blanche to act however they please. Neon lights don’t equate to a Nobel Prize. In the course of managing people, coaches should never lose sight of the ultimate goals.