A couple of weeks ago, Bob Knight, former Indiana basketball coach and current ESPN analyst, was talking to Wichita State University coach, Gregg Marshall, and Marshall asked Knight what they had to do to improve. Knight coached an undefeated team to the NCAA national championship and Marshall’s team finished the regular season this year at 31 – 0.
First, I thought it was great that Marshall asked this question. Too often when teams have a great season, their coaches get a little arrogant. But here is a coach of an undefeated team humbly asking another coach what they have to do to improve. That question was genuine because with the all the excitement and television coverage the NCAA tournament generates, it can become how a team is remembered, not the regular season.
Secondly, Knight did not hesitate to answer. He said keep your practices short so your players have their energy for the tournament games. Basketball is a long season and fatigue can take over at the season’s end. Coaches must manage individual and team fatigue as the season winds down.
My former coaches and I totally agreed with Coach Knight. In fact, we even took it a step further. Because we always wanted our players to practice hard, we would tell our kids at the onset how long the physical part of practice would last. Knowing it would be short in duration, the athletes would give all they had.
Can leaders take this thought process into their meetings?
I once heard this insight about meetings. “Meetings are people sitting around talking about things they ought to be doing.” How many times were you sitting through meetings thinking about all you had on your “To Do” list? Or, have you ever found yourself in a meeting and thinking about your next meeting that starts in 15 minutes? And because of this thinking, you may not have been giving all you had to the meeting.
Having spent forty-four years in education, I can attest to sitting through numerous meetings where I was thinking about all I had to do. I know my concentration was poor at best throughout the course of these meetings.
I do believe that keeping meetings short and meaningful is a great concept and that setting a time limit at the beginning of the meeting does keep everyone alert and participating. Fellow workers do appreciate leaders who keep meetings concise and moving.