The byproducts of team practice

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Perhaps you’ve read or heard about the fact that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something, like playing an instrument. This became a meme thanks to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers  but there is research disputing this “fact” since. But there is no disputing the value of deliberate practice as a vital part of mastery.

What is interesting about this quote from Tom Brady about trust in the Boston Globe article Tom Brady has seen it all, but practice is still ‘very important for me’ by Jim McBride are the byproducts of practice: confidence, trust, good execution.

As rosters evolve, it’s important for Brady to evolve, as well. He needs to work to establish a rapport with all his available weapons — new and old.

“So, even though I maybe have done things, I still recognize that a lot of other players haven’t done those things,’’ he said. “So, my connection with them is very important. Even though I’ve been doing it, the two of us need to do it together.”

According to Brady, repetition is the key to success.

“You know, football is a very coordinated game,” he said. “Everybody needs to be thinking the same thing, reacting the same way, anticipating the same way, in order to be successful. That’s why us being out there as a unit is very important — practicing, executing in practice so you can build confidence, confidence builds trust, and trust leads us to good execution when you’re out on the field.’’

There are many ways you can practice with your team. One I’ve found powerful as a product manager is the post-launch “post-mortem.” Rather than simply heading for the nearest bar to celebrate when you ship V 1.0 of your product, consider scheduling a meeting shortly after launch to review what went right, what went wrong, and what was omitted that should have been included during the product development process. Properly conducted, this team exercise can build trust and improve execution for the next product in the development pipeline. But you have to be careful to avoid finger pointing or blaming; any discussion of what went wrong needs to be constructive and  focused on procedures and tasks, not on individuals. Finally, keep good written records of your post-mortem discussions, they make for great on-boarding material for new members of your product development team.

What other ways can your team practice together to build confidence, to build trust, trust that leads your team to good execution?

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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