Tony_Gwynn,_Jr._2011I’m not really a sports fan, but I have a sports-minded, psychologist husband. Therefore, I watch sports, read lots of interesting articles, and think about the implications for leadership. So apologies to those of you who might be tired of a sports analogy on this blog. Good for those of you who love it.

Tony Gwynn was one of the best baseball hitters of all time. Reading about his disciplined improvement process, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great for leaders to have ‘game video’ to review, replay, and use.” Before the days of video staffs, Gwynn had himself and pitchers video-taped with his personal Betamax. He would look for the small advances based on the facts and patterns he saw. He ultimately realized through his process that his success was “more mental than physical.”

As a coach, I often relay feedback to my clients and give my own observations. I am told both are valuable. But, the difference between that feedback and Gwynn’s process is the lack of unfiltered “facts.” Useful feedback includes facts and recognizes the “lens” of the assessor.

Why Have a Personal Game Video Library?

But, what if we could actually see ourselves? Maybe, we would notice and diagnose:

  1. Our facial and body language and the resulting responses of our colleagues much more clearly.
  2. The meeting dynamics and the meetings that do not get desired results.
  3. Our pattern of speech, where we lose the attention or understanding of others.
  4. The way we do or don’t take care of our most precious resource–our body.
  5. What our key stakeholders do that annoys us, helps our intent, and what they don’t do.

And more, of course.

While I think it would be a little scary, as working with a presentation coach can be, I would really be interested to see the data in this private way.

What Can We Do Given That We Can’t Video Our Business Life

What can we do without our personal game video? We can all be far more disciplined about:

  1. Making our own observations and organizing the data,
  2. Considering our mental thought processes (how do I think  that impacts my behavior),
  3. Asking for feedback from people who have the data from a different angle,
  4. Peeling their feedback for real observations (what did you see me do or say that you call X?)
  5. Reviewing what we see from our own and others perspective, looking for big and small improvements that serve our goals.

It’s a discipline, just like Tony Gwynn’s. And while we all use feedback, a disciplined personal process is not the norm. How important is the data you might glean?