Better Sports Motivational Analogies

I have acquired a distaste for motivation and the culture around it. That goes extra for managers who think a speech containing Tiger Woods accomplishments is going to get sales up.

With that said, I was impressed with a bit from a Basketball coach on keeping players accountable for off season workouts. As in, actually doing them. At all. Keep in mind, that this is different from some boss who read ESPN this morning and had a moment. This is an actual coach.

The first thing that’s interesting is that even pros at the highest levels of competition have problems getting motivated during the off season. Some of them don’t do what they are supposed to do, for what appears to be the same reasons as developers and writers.

Second, an experienced coach is telling us that striving for greatness isn’t the key. It’s showing up at all that gets the job done. And his prescriptions are mostly low tech and focused on accountability.

Third, he advocates working in pairs. I wonder if the same managers who think pair programming reduces throughput would think the same of pair workouts.

When there’s a really tough development task to do, nothing gets it done faster than a team of two engineers.

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