Tammy, go in for Bob at the photocopier.
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 99 12:31:53 -0700
Subject: Tammy, go in for Bob at the photocopier.
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: "Joe Lavin" <email@example.com>
Not Reading Pitino is a Choice
by Joe Lavin -- http://joelavin.com
Let me just say up-front that I like Boston Celtic basketball coach Rick
Pitino. He is one of the best basketball coaches around, but, Coach, I have
just one small request. Stop writing the books. Please.
Pitino's Success is a Choice is another in a string of sports/business books
which include Pat Riley's The Winner Within, Phil Jackson's Sacred Hoops,
and Bill Parcells' Finding a Way to Win.
These coaches are no longer content to write merely about the X's and O's
of sports. No, instead, they have a more important agenda. These books are
about how to succeed in life, how to motivate the workforce, and how lessons
learned from the world of sports can be applied to the world of business.
This is clearly unfortunate. Think about it. Do you really want your boss
to use a coach as a role model?
"No, TWO-SIDED, you @#$%!!!! What the @#$% were you thinking you @#$%ing
moron? Get back to your @#$%ing desk! Tammy, go in for Bob at the
photocopier, and don't you @#$%ing screw up either, or I'll ship your ass
outta here so fast you won't know what the @#$% hit you!"
Well, I suppose coaches do more than just yell. They also teach.
"Bob, you gotta work on this photocopying. It's dragging the whole office
down. I want you to stay after work and practice the fundamentals, okay?
Here make 500 copies of this collated on 3- hole paper. And if you get it
right, then maybe I'll let you photocopy for real."
Something tells me that if enough supervisors take lessons from coaches,
we'll probably all turn into Latrell Sprewells.
But the real problem is this: the lessons learned from the world of sports
just can't be applied to the real world. (You remember the real world,
Coach. You know, that complex thing where people don't play for a living.)
The real world and sports have nothing in common. It would be just as
efficient to have an accountant write a book about basketball.
"Chapter Six: How accounts payable knowledge can be applied to the execution
of the fast break."
One of Pitino's favorite themes is the importance of motivation, and I have
to hand it to him. He is an impressive motivator. After all, he somehow
managed to motivate a publisher into publishing this crappy book in the
first place. That right there is a major motivational coup in itself.
But I still don't understand what he can teach us about motivation. Just
because Rick Pitino can motivate a seven foot basketball player who has been
dreaming of the NBA all his life doesn't mean he can motivate some slacker
in the mail room. "Come on. Let's win one for the team." simply won't cut
it in the mail room. Sure, there may be a few Sprewells and Rodmans in the
NBA, but for the most part NBA players are only upset when they are not
allowed to do their job.
"Look, Coach, I'm a much better copier than Tammy. You've got to put me back
on the machine. I've earned it." is not something you'll ever hear in the
office. Trust me.
But then again, Coach Pitino wouldn't know about job malaise. Its very
notion is completely alien to him. Here's a man who clearly loves his job.
He is constantly babbling about staying late after work, working the
weekends, and preparing for the next day's work the night before. And while
at work, all the other distractions of life must be ignored.
"An athlete. . . wouldn't think of showing up for an eight o'clock game at
seven fifty-five. . . . What you should be doing is arriving at work a half
an hour earlier and getting all of your social conversations out of the way,
getting your newspaper read and getting your coffee poured, so that when
the workday starts you'll be ready. . . . When the workday is in progress
that should be where all your energy is focused."
It's a lovely plan, but you have to wonder how many others will be at work
a half hour early every day. "Hey, where is everyone? I have to get my
social conversations out of the way before the workday is in progress.
Even when you do succeed, Pitino won't let you relax. This is the same man
who held a meeting with his coaches at seven in the morning the day after
his Kentucky team won the national championship. Hard work is not only the
impetus of his system. It may also be the reward.
Still, if you follow his "ten steps to overachieving in business and life,"
Pitino firmly believes you can accomplish practically anything. You can
lose weight. You can grab that promotion. You can motivate lazy teenagers.
("You know the type: poor grades, earrings or noserings, dyed hair.") Hell,
you can even write wise ass attacks on popular sports figures like Coach
But, of course, successful wise ass attacks don't just come overnight. You
have to earn your success through hard work, putting in those extra hours
so that your wise ass attack on Coach Pitino can be the best wise ass attack
on Coach Pitino ever.
And so as I reach the end of this article, we should remember that in wise
ass attacks -- just as in basketball -- the time to put up your best effort
is at the end. Sure, there may be more pressure writing the conclusion, but
I know I cannot be afraid of that pressure. Instead, I must thrive on it.
Yes, it's time to put my best foot forward and work extra hard to create an
absolute zinger of an ending, an ending that's so completely entertaining
and informative that --
Aw, screw it. I think I'll just go grab a beer instead. Wanna join me?
Copyright 1999 by Joe Lavin
As long as you include my name and web site address, feel free to forward
this column all over the place. It's great when you let others know about
this column, because I'm always looking for new subscribers.
© 1999 Peter Langston