Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything.
Deep Practice – Everyone knows that practice is a key to success. What everyone doesn’t know is that specific kinds of practice can increase skill up to ten times faster than conventional practice.
Ignition – We all need a little motivation to get started. But what separates truly high achievers from the rest of the pack? A higher level of commitment—call it passion—born out of our deepest unconscious desires and triggered by certain primal cues. Understanding how these signals work can help you ignite passion and catalyze skill development.
Master Coaching – What are the secrets of the world’s most effective teachers, trainers, and coaches? Discover the four virtues that enable these “talent whisperers” to fuel passion, inspire deep practice, and bring out the best in their students.
You can learn more from Coyle in this lecture below.
Good and Bad Apples
One of my favorite chapters focused on the good and bad apples in a culture or group. Coyle seeks to answer the question about whether a bad apple can spoil the bunch.
While researching the “Good Apples” chapter, Coyle noticed some of the “little moments of social interaction” that can help make a team resistant to bad apples.
The Bad Apple. Coyle shares the story of Nick, the prototypical bad apple that is equal parts jerk, slacker, and downer. To deal with the Nicks of the world, the community must first have some “motivational intervention,” essentially an attempt to reform the negative employee by withholding praise, respect, or resources until behavior changes. This includes subtle and not so subtle confrontations, formal punishments, or demands of apology and compensation.
If this doesn’t work, the group needs to move to “rejection,” or kicking the troublesome internal agitator to the curb.
If this doesn’t work, Nick, the bad apple will spoil the bunch.
The Good Apple. Coyle then shares the story of Jonathan, the prototypical good apple in the group. Jonathan is everything that Nick is not. Jonathan reacts instantly with warmth, deflects negativity, and makes potentially unstable situations feel solid and safe.
The thinking is that individuals in a group, whether they are participants or leaders need to channel their inner Jonathan, and avoid acting like a Nick. Put more simply, group culture is a simple dance of “small behaviors” between the Nicks and Jonathans in the group that determine whether it will ruin the culture of the group.
Developing your own personal good apple armor
Coyle also indicates that it is this struggle between the good and bad apples, and existing within the barrel itself that makes the group stronger and leads to greatness.
We need to get down in the barrel and channel our inner Jonathan and avoid times we’re Nick. We also need to interact with good and bad apples to lead to collective and individual greatness.
You need to develop your own good apple armor. Here’s how you can get started:
- Close proximity, often in circles
- Profuse amounts of eye contact
- Humor, laughter
- Physical touch (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs)
- Intensive, active listening
- Lots of short, energetic exchanges (no long speeches)
- High levels of mixing; everyone talks to everyone
The message is clear. Intent, whether negative or positive, matters. The positive can win out, if it is integrated into an actionable plan and you understand what you’re up against.
At a personal level, it’s good to know the good apple need not fear the barrel. By pursuing the right thing the right way, you can transform your own team and leadership qualities for the better.