I thought this was funny, we’ve all worked for someone like this!
When I take a long time… I am slow.
When my boss takes a long time… he is thorough.
When I don’t do it… I am lazy.
When my boss doesn’t do it… he is too busy.
When I do something without being told… I am over-stepping my boundaries.
When my boss does the same thing… that is initiative.
When I take a stand… I am stubborn.
When my boss does it… he is being firm.
When I overlook a rule of etiquette… I am rude.
When my boss slips a few rules… he is being original.
When I please my boss… I am apple polishing.
When my boss pleases his boss… he is co-operating.
When I get ahead… I am lucky.
When my boss gets ahead… that’s hard work.
Lately, I’ve been reading a compilation called “What is Your Dangerous Idea?” edited by John Brockman. In the book, all manner of deep thinkers contribute a short essay on ideas that are dangerous for all sorts of reasons.
Today, I read an essay by Arnold Trehub, epynonomous to this blog post, that espouses exactly what I spent a lot of time pondering way back in college. I guess I learned something!
Trehub is an adjunct professor of psychology at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Here’s what he has to say:
The entire conceptual edifice of modern science is a product of biology. Even the most basic and profound ideas of science – relativity, quantum theory, the theory of evolution by natural selection – are generated and necessarily limited by the particular capacities of our human biology. This implies that the content and scope of scientific knowledge in not open-ended.
In layman’s terms Trehub (and I) believe it is a dangerous idea that our ability to interpret the universe is limited by our own biology. For example, we only have 5 senses and relate to our world in 3 dimensions (length, width, height). So even if the universe does have 10 (or 100 or an infinite number of) dimensions, we’re only built for 3. Thus, we are constrained by our biology.
Pragmatically, this dangerous idea seems very reasonable, but boy, isn’t it a downer to think that it’s impossible to truly penetrate the universe’s deepest innerworkings?
Sadly, the #1 ranked Badgers were rather tame and their high octance offense was held to just one goal (shown above) by a clearly inferior Bemidji team.
Happily, I’m a long time women’s soccer coach, so I found my mind wandering into coaching territory as I watched the Badgers. I was confounded by several things that I saw, and I’m sharing them here, just to open my observations up to feedback from my readers. Frankly, I’m curious.
As a women’s soccer coach, I am very savvy with what Anson Dorrance calls “80%.” That is women are 80% the size of men, 80% as fast, 80% as strong, but they play on the same size field as men. The only excpetion\accomodation in women’s sports that I’m aware of is the smaller ball in basketball, otherwise everything else is the same.
So the relationship between time and space in the women’s game is different than in the men’s game and women have more space within which to play. Clearly the Badgers try to use this space by looking to play frequent give and goes. I rarely see this played in men’s hockey. The better international teams that the Badger men play occassionally over the holidays incorporate this into their games more than here domestically. What we see most often with the men is the head man pass with furious skating and then the dump and run. That is playing the puck into the attacking zone and hustling after it.
I believe checking is the reason. Women can’t check so they can play a short pass and skate by to get a return pass. Men can try to play a give and go, but often will get slowed up by a check as they try to skate past their defender.
While all this clever short passing is fun to watch, it isn’t fun to watch when the play develops so slowly. Bemidji rarely was stretched by the Badger’s short passing game. They always got their numbers back and the Badger’s passing and movement didn’t pull them out of their defensive shape. Indeed, often by the time the Badger’s were ready to shoot, Bemidji had four players bunched in a bunker around the crease. Shots had a hard time penetrating the forest of sticks and pads, much less the goalie.
This slow offense got me thinking about the skating. The women’s game seemed to flow more at a constant speed than the mens. That is individual’s speed didn’t vary all that much. The men’s game has both a faster top end and more stops and starts. Last night, I can’t recall any hockey stops spraying ice.
The Badger gals, even though they’re ranked number one and playing on an “80%” rink, seemed slow. While I’m sure they could all outskate me, what I was noticing was the length and frequency of their strides. In fact, I mentioned this to a good buddy and lifetime hockey player who I ran into at the Kohl Center and he agreed commenting, “They all take these long strides.” The secret to acceleration and getting up to speed, is a burst of short powerful strides. Long strides naturally decrease stride frequency and it’s harder to apply full power to a long stride.
I’m wondering if this too, isn’t somewhat a function of the no checking rule. Without someone able to physically stop, slow or knock you down, is there a real reason to have such aggressive stops and starts? It seems so. Clearly, a team would benefit from a high top end speed being able to outskate their opponent is always advantageous – until you lose control, that is. But if someone can’t check me, then it seems the need to dart by them is greatly diminished.
All that is speculation on my part, I’m sure Mark Johnson has some insight, but I still don’t understand the low stride frequency all the skaters displayed.
The last thing I noticed was the lack of stick handling. Is this yet another function of the no checking rule? Many of these talented ladies reminded me of myself when I played C-league intramural hockey in college. C-league hockey is co-ed and for anyone who wants to give hockey a go. We leaned on our sticks and eventually learned to do hockey stops, but there was a no checking rule. As it was, there was a lot of clumsy skating and checking as a by product of that, which is really more dangerous because you don’t know it’s coming. But I digress.
Men move the puck around as they skate using their stick. Last night I observed both teams pushing the puck with their stick, just like we did in C-league. I know stick handling is done for feinting and for control, so why weren’t the women doing it?
Even when skating through on goal, I didn’t see stickhandling. The Badgers would keep the puck on the inside of their stick. This is the perfect time to stick handling, so as to make the goalie guess; will you shoot it forehand or backhand, nearside, five-hole or farside? The idea is to use where you are skating, where the puck is on your stick (inside the curve, outside the curve), and where the stick is (close to you or far, to your left or right) to make the goalie move from the angle they are protecting and give you a place to shoot.
Now I enjoy a good game of hockey, I really do, but when it’s a boring 0-0 game, this coach’s mind wanders. I’m truly curious as to why I observed what I observed. Any hockey players out there have a perspective to share?
If there is a foundational concept behind the SmallBizWithKids blog, “only three ways to grow your business” would be it.
But I will add two more for the sake of being different. Here they are:
1) Get more new customers (most companies focus too much on this)
2) Sell more to existing customers (most companies don’t do enough of this)
3) Increase the average transaction size\unit of sale (achieved variously through premium pricing, product and price ascension, slack adjusters) and
4) Cut costs (freeing up working capital to invest in 1, 2 and 3)
5) Firing bad customers/prospects (freeing up time and energy to focus on 1, 2 and 3)
OK, so cost cutting and firing bad customers are operations functions and not sales and marketing, but their net effect is still revenue growth.
The secret is to do these tasks so they have a multiplier effect on your business. Ramping up new customer acquisition and implement drip campaigns to sell more to your existing customers is an example of how this is done.