CultureCoordinator Blog

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Goal: I will understand why it’s crucial my discipline system lines up with the type of culture I am striving to build and what I am teaching my athletes about ambition, motivation, and mindset.

  • Have you ever driven a car with wheels out of alignment?
    • The car shakes and shimmies, especially as you accelerate or slow down.
    • I think we all know that it’s unwise to drive a car on a lengthy road trip if the alignment is bad. Doing so can ruin the tires and cause wear and tear that is expensive and dangerous.
  • In leadership, it’s easy to start thinking and acting in ways that are not aligned with the type of program you are trying to build.
    • Too often, we fall into the trap of doing whatever reaps immediate results rather than what teaches and trains our athletes to think and act in alignment with our program’s ambitions and definition of success.
    • The most obvious example of this is often a coach’s practice when it comes time to discipline an athlete.
  • It is easy to slip into using fear, shame, and pride as your primary tactics for disciplining an athlete.
    • Fear: establishing consequences that your athletes are afraid of, such as various forms of conditioning.
    • Shame: requiring athletes to engage in some sort of behavior that is merely designed to shame them and not teach them (I can remember lots of these from summer camps back in the day).
    • Pride: Rewarding athletes in a way that can lead to bragging or lording it over other athletes.
      • I used these in my first years as the head coach.
  • To be clear, all of these can have a place in your program, but at the end of the day, if you’re trying to build an audience independent culture, these will not get you there because they aren’t in alignment with an audience-independent culture.
    • Fear, shame, and pride might help set the initial impression that everyone will be held accountable to expectations and standards, but they won’t do anything to teach and train your athletes how to have audience independent ambitions, motivations, and mindsets.
  • So how do you discipline your athletes in ways that align with the type of culture you’re trying to instill?
    • The goal isn’t to merely modify behaviors; it’s to teach and train your athletes in how they should think.
      • The goal is to create a culture that makes disciples.
    • Therefore, the first thing you must do is ask yourself: How does a disciple of my program think?
  • Focusing on creating disciples of your program is why the different ambitions, motivations, and mindsets outlined in the “What Type of Culture Are We?” Assessment and discussion guides are crucial to your leadership.
    • Every step you make in discipling your athletes should move your athletes from one type of ambition, motivation, and mindset to another.
      • In other words, you teach and train and hold your athletes accountable in ways that will move your program from a behavior modification culture to an audience-dependent culture to an audience-independent culture.
  • Once you’ve answered that question, you’ll naturally think about ways to teach and train your athletes in and out of season.

Goal: I will understand the differences between the four types of discipline.

  • Now that we have established that great discipline policies and procedures begin with seeing all disciplinary action as making disciples of your program, it’s time to dig a little deeper and understand the differences between the four types of discipline.
    • Formative: Proactive teaching and training
    • Corrective: Retroactive teaching and training
    • Consequential: You reap what you sow
    • Circumstantial: Things beyond your control
  • Formative: Proactive teaching and training
    • It’s the day-to-day teachings of expectations and standards.
    • Team events include the athletes and their families, teaching the program’s culture.
    • Training team leaders.
  • Corrective: Retroactive teaching and training
    • Withholding practice time–allowed to be at practice, but not allowed to get better.
    • Withholding playing time–allowed to be at the game, but not allowed to play.
    • Withholding leadership roles–not allowed to have an official leadership role.
    • Excluding from the team–not allowed to be with the team
      • Practice–not allowed to come to practice
      • Team events–not allowed to go to unity event
      • Games–not allowed to be on the sideline
      • Removal from the team–not allowed to come to any team function
        • It could be temporary or permanent.
  • Consequential: You reap what you sow
    • Positive: Winning, playing well as an individual or team, etc.
    • Negative: Losing, not playing well as an individual or team, etc
  • Circumstantial: Things beyond your control
    • It could be an injury, illness, poor decisions of teammates (competing without a teammate who is suspended), a worldwide pandemic.
  • Great Culture Coordinators are constantly using all four types of disciplines to teach and train their athletes how to think and interpret the events of the season. In other words, the four types of Discipline are how you make disciples of your program.