Framework Building for Hamstring Training – Part 1

 

Scientific Argument:

Question: What tools can we use to aid in making better decisions for training of the athlete with a goal of mitigating injury

Claim: A Framework ( or list of assumptions) combined with a process of integration and evaluation along with a resource aimed at filtering human faults in decision making is a powerful solution and/or training tool for mitigating injury.

Evidence:

  1. Historical and current use of the OODA Loop
  2. Current developments of Artificial intelligence in Sports industry for decision making

Potential Fallacies/Heuristics in this Argument: False Analogy, Data Mining, Confirmation Bias.

 

Preface:

This post and story of process building aims to tackle a complex issue prevalent in sports today.  I will make claims in this post that have scientific support but at the moment cannot be considered to be strong evidence – or evidence at all. Nonetheless, the objective of this writing piece is to demonstrate a process and make aware potential resources to aid decision making in the training environment.

 

 

Framework Building for Hamstring Training – Part 1

When I think of an athlete doing a Swiss ball curl, part of me  begins to cringe. It’s a bit like S&C PTSD and If you’re a movement specialist of any sort, you can likely empathize with the notion that certain exercise can elicit more than physical stress, they can also bring about anxiety.  The Swiss ball Leg Curl, alone is a decent exercise that requires a degree of pelvic stabilization, coordination and strength to be performed optimally. Thus, it isn’t fair to say that i dislike the exercise. However, the experience of watching a team of athletes perform said exercise brings a level of dissatisfaction that forces me back to the program design drawing board. The experience of dissatisfaction with a relatively simple operation in any growing system is common. Often, dissatisfaction forces system to reevaluate rather than carry on with a similar operating system. Good systems learn and perform updates and annoyingly request periods to restart the system to issue the update.

     In the field of Strength Training and Conditioning updates exist in various forms and generally include research publications, presentations and training forums that provide the avenue for system growth and reevaluation. In addition, our operating systems utilize relevant experience to continue to provide the agency to make edits for smooth satisfactory training experiences. This process of learning, experiencing, testing, editing, dismissing, reevaluating is fundamental not only to Strength Trainers but to Systems. This process can be described more succinctly through the OODA Loop, a cycle developed by the Military with a degree of Universal Use.  The OODA Loop can’t be used just on it’s own, we need to record our lessons in observation, Orientation, Act and decision Making in order to keep that cycle moving. This is where the importance of a framework comes into play. Thus through this OODA Loop process, and framework we can gain understanding as to my perspective with hamstring training and ultimately the dissatisfaction with the Swiss ball leg curl.

   It is important to share that the OODA Loop never stops as long as the system goes on Slide1and neither does framework building.  Our learned experiences must be combined with experience and tested against  the changing landscape of perspective and environment. It needs to be tested and retested with an implicit understanding that changes and/or growth is a likely property. 

   It’s here that i’d like to share my insight to this process of learning, reaching and gain perspective for Hamstring Training. The value of framework building is useful for anyone looking to build or operate a system.

Step 1: Explain your why

The first and most necessary step is to explain purpose or why.

  1. Think about why you do it?Slide4
  2. Think how about how you do it?
  3. Think about when you do it?
  4. and then think about why again for each of the aforementioned questions?

The results of such questioning can provide

        • Allow for greater details to purpose
        • Provide a degree of control in a volatile, and constantly changing environment.
        • Generate an agency to be increasingly resourceful
        • Sustain your system

Step 2: Create a Specific Objective

The next step is to establish an objective and to delineate the why or purpose for said objective. A frame work can be meaningless without an objective.  In this case, the objective is simply to create interventions to diminish the risk of injury of the hamstring muscle group during practice, play or competition.  

This objective was created as a result of the  notorious impact in which hamstring injuries impact to sports

    1. hamstringit is a common occurrence in specific ranges of sports such as track and field, jumping, soccer, football, rugby as well as martial arts, dance and water skiing (Croisier, 2012).
    2. Hamstring strain injury is the most common cause of lost training and playing time in running-based sports (Opar, Williams, Shield, 2012).
    3. And In professional soccer, for example, approximately one in five players will suffer a hamstring injury in any given season and upwards of 20% of these will re-occur (Erickson, 2017).

Step 3: Establish Parameters

The next step is to organize this list frames by establishing or creating parameters. While life brings complexity in almost every facet , and one must consider a variety of perspectives when making decisions or operating a system. One can gain perspective more clearly through establishing rules and forming limitations for elements.

Here are just some of the frames gained from hamstring training both experience and research

  • Supporting Research Evidence (Crossier, 2012)
    • Intrinsic Factors Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 7.38.01 PM
      • Modifiable/Non-Modifiable – Intrinsic –  Human – Tissue – Training – Agonist/Antagonist Muscle
      • Modifiable/Non-Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human – Tissue – Training –  Flexibility
      • Non-modfiable – Intrinsic – Human Intervention – Tissue – Age/Degeneration
      • Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human – Tissue – Neural – Pain (Low Back Pain)
      • Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human  – Tissue – Structure – Sacroilliac Joint Dysfunction
      • Non/Modifiable/Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human Intervention -Chronic Hormone Imbalance
    • Extrinsic Factors
      Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 7.38.21 PM
  • Modifiable – Extrinsic – Human Intervention –  Performance Play – Fatigue to unsuitable structure and content of training – Human Intervention
  • Modifiable – Extrinsic – Human Intervention – Inadequate Warm Up
  • Modifications from Initial Strain
    • Modifiable/Nonmodifiable – Human – Intrinsic – Tissue –  Structure – Training – Mechanic Properties – Tightness
    • Modifiable/Non-modifiable – Human – Intrinsic – Neural – No Training – Function – Weakness
    • Modifiable – Extrinsic/Intrinsic -Human Intervention – Tissue – Surgery/Trauma –  Extensive Scar Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 7.38.37 PMTissue
    • Intrinsic – Tissue – Muscular Calcification – surgery
    • Intrinsic – Changes in the Biomechanics and motor patters of sporting movements
    • Modifiable/Non-Modifiable – Intrinsic – Tissue – Training – Neural Inhibition
    • Modifiable/Non- Modifiable – Intrinsic – Psychological/Behavior – Psychological Stress
    • Modifiable/Non-Modifiable – Intrinsic – Psychological – Adverse Neural Tension
  • Questionable Options in Treatment
    • Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human – Culture – Training – Incomplete or Aggressive Rehabilitation
    • Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human – Culture – Rehab – Return to Play – Underestimate of an extensive injury
    • Modifiable – Intrinsic -Human –  Medicine – Prescription of Glucocortosoid
    • Modifiable – Intrinsic – Human – Drugs – Anesthesia – Use of Local Anesthetic 
  • Non Modifiable Risk FactorsScreen Shot 2020-04-16 at 7.39.09 PM
    • Intrinsic – Older Age
    • Extrinsic – Prior History of Hamstring Strain (more than twice as high of risk of a new hamstring injury) 
  • Intrinsic – nutrition
    • Modifiable Risk Factors
    • Strength
    • Fatigue
    • Imbalance
    • Quadriceps/Concentric Strength
    • Quadriceps Flexibility
    • Reduced Hip Flexor Flexibility
    • Strength and Coordination Deficits of the Pelvic ad Trunk Musculature

Slide8

Why the need for parameters?

     When we look book on the research and our own experience, it is  immediately clear, that the notion of hamstring training covers many areas and has a number of factors and/or variable to consider.  So, in this sense we’ve discovered, many frames for our framework.  At this point we simply require some parameters and greater organization towards a specific objective in order to fix or build these frames together. This objective is instrumental in giving us direction and setting parameters by allowing us to understand that there are factors in which we can modify and those that we can’t when going through the training process. Age for instance is a factor which can’t be modified. We know that within these modifiable or non modifiable areas there are intrinsic and extrinsic factors we have to consider  when undergoing the training process. Intrinsic factors  are those which occur naturally or considered to be essential. Extinsic factors are those not considered to be naturally occurring and/or those factors not considered to be essential. Extrinsic factors for instance can represent performance play, and factors outside the control of the performance training environment.  The more we organize these frames, the more it becomes apparent that changes to an individual athlete’s injury susceptibility can be impacted by environmental factors as well as human.

    The more we set parameters In this process of organizing, the more we can become more aware of the things we cannot change that present risk, which in turn may provide better clarity on the things we can change.  For instance, it’s clear that we can change tissue structure. 

Step 4: Form a Test Question

How can we improve Hamstring Training (through influencing musculotendinous tissue) to mitigate hamstring injury in Team Sports during Off Season training  in the weight room setting?

This title elicits several of the parameters i wish to set.

    1. The inclusion of the weight room setting suggests acknowledges that athletes experience stressors for adaptation to sport in many different arena’s that includes, (the field, the bar, the kitchen cafeteria, and the weight room)
    2. And more specifically despite our understanding that extrinsic factors such as Practices or fatigue may play a role , we will not be focusing on this portion during this presentation. 
    3. The inclusion of team sports is an attempt to include both my experience in dealing with large teams in the weight room setting , understanding that our choices in these settings can be influenced by limited resources such as time, space, equipment, etc and i want to acknowledge this.
    4. It is also an understanding that team sports share a similar issue in dealing with hamstring injury
    5. I, reluctantly included, mitigation hamstring injury  but that is essentially the goal is limiting hamstring injury ( a goal that affects a number of us)
    6. And the time frame is the off-season with an implicit understanding that there generally is greater potential to make changes during this period as compared to the season.

Step 5: Feed your evidence within your framework to an objective decision making system.

While i’ve introduced you to the idea of establishing a framework and a process for training, i don’t know that i’ve accurately given insight to the distinction between these elements. I see the framework and frame building as a way of recording our experiences and evidence we learn into  a visual network of units where ideas, experience and evidence are organized and neatly arranged (as best can be). 

I recognize the OODA process as the underlying manner in which I facilitate adding new experiences, and evidence for the purpose of building  and editing to reach a greater truth or objective. A clear comprehension of these two functions gives way to a resource that i’ve flirted with for many years.  it’a  resource that many of us are beginning to have more common relationships in the age of information and data.

WestworldOn the show West-World, a sci-fi thriller dealing with the philosophical adventures on humanity, and technology and human technology.  Some recognize this resource as Dolores, and artificial intelligent robot,  hellbent on protecting the free will, but for the sake of this presentation, id like you to understand this element as a screen, much like the screen you are using to watch this presentation. As you are looking at this screen you are all interpreting this information  in unique ways, in sometimes faulty ways, but very much  in human ways. (Myself included

BrainMy journey in training, let alone what i’ve learned about life is that human beings are more than capable of making poor decisions. And it seems that more we learn about how human beings think, the more we realize that human decisions are riddled with faulty decision making. (Great Audiobook to listen to is Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills).

The screen is a resource (among many) that we can use in accordance with a process  and framework building to not only help us examine whether our experience and evidence is  of quality and/or accurate,  but enable us to make better choices. Consider the screen as a counterpart able to lend decision making agency, based on the information we have provided.

Such a resource would be valuable as it would lend us a greater ability to remain

  1. Unbiased
  2. Consistent
  3. UnEmotional
  4. with an ability to recollect previous memory accurately and process that information with a greater degree of accuracy relative to the human being.

RehoboamIn the attempt to strategize better training, i see the value of  Dolores or her nemesis RE HOBOAM, an AI in Westworld, built initially to predict the future  and a choose  a better future. (or no free will) Whatever the case, the screen, i’ve come to describe is a spectrum of AI.  and while it may be fun to think of it as a complicated turing testing robot named Dolores whom one can bring into the weight room to help with training choices,,it’s best to understand AI in the way that is currently being used today.

Today we use AI to deal with complex problems, like injury and as a way to acknowledge the limitations of human perceptions, and  to test our assumptions  built on our frames and processes. That’s the way at least that I’m approaching training today and perhaps another factor you should consider in your own personal objective.

           Once, you’ve built a process, established frames, built on evidence and experience or your assumptions recorded it and have run it through a enough tests repeatedly through your  OODA loop,  it’s time to build your AI.

and by then you should realize that AI building I is unravelling in a myriad of novel ways today.  Fundamentally AI is build on complexity but it is not as complicated as you may think. -Which may be why we are beginning to see it’s presence in many problem solving scenarios including sport.

Three-layer-feed-forward-neural-network-designToday in sport the AI techniques or methods with the greatest potential were artificial neural networks, decision tree classifier, Markov process, and support vector machine.   A visual referecnce of Artificial neural networks might help you to understand, it’s relevance to training and the potential of use to your own complex problem solving.

Artificial neural networks is a network system formed by the complex and mutual connection of a number of basic units.  The network is based on highly complex, and uncertain outcomes.  – If that sounds familiar, it should. It is similar to the framework we established earlier for injury. Except, that can create outputs based off what we put in, and we have the potential to weight inputs and thereby affect the resulting output. It’s a calculator for a complex systems based on the framers you have selected.

Currently in the sports world, this process it’s being used  for concepts understanding  training load, training process/knee injury causes”,  heart defect detection, ground reaction force pattern, psychosocial stress factors, and screening. For injury risk prediction,  I  imagine such a resource can also be utilize for training to reduce injury risk. But in order to get meaningful outputs we have to carefully decide the premises we build our AI on and to this  we have to go right back to our framework built on our assumptions, evidence and experience. If we want Dolores to help us in the decision making process of injury prevention,  we have to come to some conclusive decisions regarding  factors in training to mitigate hamstring  injury in the weight room setting during and off season period

 

Step 6: Revaluate the evidence and experience fundamental to your frame and objective decision making system. 

I often take for granted, the varying standards of scientific evidence borne of publication from the number of Journals available to us today – the age of information and disinformation. It must be stated that we should remain rigorous in scientific process for investigating claims even after they have been published.  The next aim is to edit and rank the information we use as part of our framework and objective decision making system.  While it may seem intuitive that we are always choosing the best evidence to enter within our framework, the selection of evidence, is also subject to human fault and therefore should be evaluated by an objective decision making system.  Furthermore, this process should continue after we have entered our evidence to help facilitate the process of editing and adding new evidence for better decision making agency.

References:

Croisier, J. (2012). Factors Associated with Recurrent Hamstring Injuries. Sports Medicine, 34(10), 681-695.

Erickson, L., & Sherry, M. (2017). Rehabilitation and return to sport after hamstring strain injury. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 6(3), 262-270.

Mendiguchia, Jurdan & Martinez-Ruiz, Enrique & Edouard, Pascal & Morin, Jean-Benoît & Martinez-Martinez, Francisco & Idoate, Fernando & Mendez-Villanueva, Alberto. (2017). A multifactorial, individualized, criteria-based progressive algorithm for hamstring injury treatment. Medicine and science in sports and exercise. 49. 

Opar D. A., Williams, M.D., Shield AJ. Hamstring strain injuries: factors that lead to injury and re-injury. Sports Med. 2012;42(3):209–26.

 

Divergence of Character for Organizational Success

             Organizational reform is the central framework for the improvement and sustainability of organizations. When operating in a world of constant change – a form of change becomes almost necessary  for survival or sustainability.  If we consider organizations to be similar to organisms operating in a world that is constantly changing  than organizations must do the same – change to improve and thus survive.  An examination of Darwin’s diversification can help to elucidate the value of organizations embracing change.  Author James T. Costa discusses the meaning behind Darwin’s Diversification in The Darwinian Revelation.  He states: 

“Divergence of character is a process, Darwin envisioned, by which natural selection acts on varieties of a species to enhance their competitiveness, an important outcome of which is the differential survival and reproduction of the most divergent varieties on average (insofar as the most divergent varieties compete least). This leads to a de facto ecological division of labor—niche partitioning, in modern terms—yielding an ever-ramifying divergence pattern when iterated over time: the tree of life.” (Costa, 2009). 

Figure_11_04_01ab
How is your organization adapting to a new environment and what changes are you adopting for increased survival and work efficiency?

         This ability of organizations to embrace change in accordance with their environment and experience a divergence of character can also be understood as organizational adaptation. Those organizations who survive branch out within the tree of life and either through a change of character or innovation extend the ability to operate within a new environment.  This process is important both for external growth and internal growth.  Leading authors have suggested that organizational adaptation is necessary to correct imbalances and improve inefficient processes within an organization. This ability to change is also fundamental to how that organization works and sustains itself in the world at large. The adaptation can be reactive and come after a change in the external environment, or it can be preempted (Purna, 2017).  If we understand change followed by improvement to be a necessity for the sustainability of organizations than the central question is:

“How do we change organizations to improve?” 

           More specifically with this recognition, how do leaders and managers initiate, implement, and sustain a change process that leads to successful outcomes? The answer to the question of success in the face of change is multidimensional and dependent on the complexity of the organization undergoing change, but also the intricacies central to change in the working environment.  A simple equation can help to provide the factors necessary for change and improvement.   

(Change + Improvement/Organization = Success /Organization) / Changing World

           We must first understand that there is a relationship between organization to change, as well as a connection between organization to success and a relationship to organizational improvement.  This equation may appear to give the impression that organization’s success due to change and improvement is a simple endeavor. On the contrary, we recognize organizational  change to be a complex and a precarious undertaking with many challenges as well as unknowns. However, it is our responsibility as leaders to take this complex task and produce or derive a simple answer. 

It is as Steve Jobs once said: 

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

        By this token, the next step In “moving the mountain” of implementing change for organizational success is to explain  your organization change  in simple terms.  A simple analogy for Creating Organizational Change for success can be reflected through the  process of creating a car.  Building a car requires  – A driver or a system of navigation, an engine, a body, equipment, fuel and a designer. A look at each of these positions can help us construct an organization and understand how change can provide or continue success.

car.jpg
Can your organization be reflected in simply? Such as the parts of a car?

        A car cannot run without a system of interrelated parts functioning together.  These interrelated parts performing synergistically can be understood as an operating system which is manipulated by a driver or manager.  This system is a state of constant specified action and expected response.  Consider this system as an entity composed of parts that operates in a circular fashion with clear, uniform goals leading to a targeted and finite set of results. 

Circular Thinking Systems

A good system assesses, functions towards its objective and responds to change accordingly.  A system is the natural state of an organization. This is sometimes dictated by management and is an important component when discussing success.  A system is not just a plan. Plans can fail. “No plan survived contact with the enemy”. Michael Fullan states this as evidence that one must pay attention to the reality of action than to theoretical strategy.  It’s not just important to have a plan or a strategy for change, but you must also have a well run functioning system that can appropriately deal with the reality of a situation.  Michael Fullan also quotes von Moltke to suggest that strategy by itself is insufficient for dealing with life.  A well functioning system in many ways is synonymous to attentiveness or clarity.  Systems cannot exist without clear direction. Fullan again, demonstrates the importance of clarity within a system when he talks of the advice given by Russian General Mikhail Kutuzov in preparation for war.  “Immediate attentiveness to unfolding possibilities was going to be more valuable than forward planning”.

   Thus, we are beginning to understand that a plan is not enough, instead a system that denotes clarity is an important component of an organization wishing to change for success.  This system also requires discussion.  Discussion and evaluation is a necessary part of an operational  system and an organization looking to sustain success. Discussion and evaluation represent point in a system directly after assessment but can also occur at any point of intervention within a functioning system. It is a necessary part in refining a system. Leaders, managers and various intrinsic parts of an organization have discussions with each other to review and reestablish successful procedures. 

“Throughout that change is a process of coming to grips with multiple realities of the people who are the main participants of implementing change.”  Fullan understands that discussion amongst the constituents of a system is essential to it’s success.  An operational system not only has direction, leadership and assessment but it also has discussion. This  pattern  can be observed in the “Research Based Change Model” reflected in Marsha Specks “Best Practices in Professional Development for sustained  Educational Change”.  She presents an image of a systems that can start with  planning progress  to professional development activities followed by implementation of interventions or programs. This diagram represents a system and is a reflection of theoretical function of educational change for programming.

Organizational Change, Improvement and Success require more than a system. It also requires quality parts built to form  a resilient body. In other words,  Organization requires integrity, strength and malleability to the demands of Change for sustainability.  Understanding organizations and their relationship to change requires you to  understand the parts parts of an organization or the structural components of the car.  Knowledge of the body is insight that the limitations that can be placed on the axle of a vehicle before it snaps. It’s understanding that a car must have four wheels for appropriate function. It’s the knowledge of the manner in which the wheels of a car will respond to an environment from sand, to a paved road to grass. In understanding the body, we must also understand the environment.

“The fundamental flaw in most innovators strategies is that they focus on their innovations, on what they are trying to do – rather than on understanding how the larger culture, structures, and norms will react to their efforts”

Perhaps the most obvious requirement of a car is the engine. An engine is a system which helps to propel an organization. Knowledge of the engine provides insight to what drives the organization. How this engine is constructed can be instrumental in how well a car or organization functions in its objective. The same can be said about the fuel, or its parts. These elements are synonymous to the people of an organization.  In other words, understanding what drives the people of an organization is similar to understanding the engine and fuel of a system.

An engine however is designed. This fact helps to shape the most functional part of creating a car – the architect. An architect envisions, designs and instructs the construction of a car. Similarly, an architect envisions, plans, strategizes and creates an organization, change and its success. Authors and experience teaches us that those results cannot exist without a plan that is both principled, flexible and up for discussion.  In other words a principled strategy with a degree of flexibility is the architect and designer of organizations, change and success.  This principled approach along with a principle of limited flexibility allows for guidance, objectives and the opportunity to change. 

Fullan states that strategy formation is judgment designing, intuitive reasoning and emergent learning; It is about transformation as well as perpetuation; it must involve individual cognition and social interaction, cooperation as well as conflict. “It has to include analyzing before and programming after as well as negotiating during; and all of this must be in response to what can be a demanding environment.”   Strategy formation encompasses many of the elements necessary in producing and effective plan for successful change, and successful outcomes. It requires: Experience, material, equipment, people, financial support, discussion and engagement. 

 “To put it simply and Powerfully, people doing the work have information that policymakers don’t have. If Leaders don’t engage them through partnerships and collaborative, cultures, they don’t access that information. Under this scenario, planning fails every time.” 

References:

Fullan, M. (2016). The NEW meaning of educational change. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Purna, A. (2017, September 26). Organizational Adaptation Theory. Retrieved from https://bizfluent.com/facts-7533511-organizational-adaptation-theory.html

Speck, Marsha. (1996). Best Practice in Professional Development for Sustained Educational Change. ERS Spectrum. 14.  

 

James T. Costa; The Darwinian Revelation: Tracing the Origin and Evolution of an Idea, BioScience, Volume 59, Issue 10, 1 November 2009, Pages 886–894, https://doi.org/10.1525/bio.2009.59.10.10

 

Take away:

  • The world is in Constant Change
    • Operating/functioning/surviving in the world may require us to embrace change.
      • Darwin’s Divergence of character is a testament to this notion
        • It may help improve growth within and growth without.
  • How do we change for improvement?
    • Define your Organization Simply
    • Create a Simple Equation
    • Determine a Simple Change

Establish Structure – Gain Perspective – Create Change.

       Almost every organization has an organizational chart that reflects formal roles and responsibilities. Experts in the field of leadership note that If the structure is overlooked, an organization often misdirects energy and resources.  It should go then that a highly functioning sport performance organization or system requires structure so that appropriate energy is efficiently centered toward the development, safety and performance of the athlete.

banner1
What is the Structure of your Organization? How is this structure demonstrated or reflected ?

 

There are a multitude of ways we can denote structure in performance system. Structure can be reflected in the presentation of the individuals who function within a given system. For instance, in the professional sports sector, we often have a hierarchal map which features a General Manager (generally presented at the top of tree) who oversees the various undertakings of a sports system such as the: 

          1. Parts or entities who oversee skill development and competition of  athletes ( generally presented below the general manager along side with other branches of a system).
          1. Parts or entities who oversee preparation and performance ( generally presented below the general manager along side with other branches of a system).

         The structure and presentation of a highly functioning sports system is an important undertaking and necessary factor in facilitating  successful sports performance. The presentation of structure within a sports performance system reflects its values. Members can rely on this presentation as a resource for insight to the overall function of a system. This factor is important to organizational success as well as other factors. As author Harold Ramos once said: 

“My only conclusion about structure is that nothing works if you don’t have interesting characters and a good story to tell.” – Harold Ramos

The key to interesting characters and good stories is that they-re often layered and multi-dimensional. People listening to such stories or characters can appreciate it from a multitude of vantage points. What Harold is teaching us is that structure which leverages perspective is much better than just the construct of structure alone.  In other words, we must not only build a highly organized entity which supports the ability of stakeholders to function, but also to provide those stakeholders a multitude of perspectives. This strategy can create efficiency and improve their chances to make clear and effective decisions which can translate to a higher rate of successful outcomes. Lee Bolman and Terrence Deal, authors of “How Great Leaders Think, The Art of Reframing” preface their book with a simple message: “Leaders who can reframe – look at the same thing from multiple perspectives – think better.  Thinking better is the key to any successful venture.

Birds-Line-Of-Seagulls-Wallpaper
Leveraging Perspective is a Key factor to gaining comprehensive information or components for effective decision making

        Ultimately, success in sport performance systems (or organizations) requires the ability to gain, learn and intervene with perspective.  This is a fundamental principle that can be observed in various factions and functions of successful sports bodies today.

This ability is recognize when  we develop cohesion between various departments such as Skill Competition specialist with those who focus on Preparation and performance. Perspective is the essence of transformative Leadership which is understood as an effective Communication practice between leaders and performers on the field of play. This fundamental principle of leveraging perspective can also be understood as reframing. Reframing describes a strategy in which Leaders adopt more than one frames to allow for seamless communication, discussion, intervention and integration.

As Sports competition improves more attention must be centered to gaining perspective  both outside and within an organization. Sports performance organizations reaching for success cannot afford to oversimplify and overlook the multi frame complexity embedded in sports performance.

In a 2016 study, researcher Jan Ekstrand and her team reported four common risk factors related to Injury risk in football. Authors of this study determined that  the workload imposed on players, the players’ well-being, the quality of internal communication and the head coach’s leadership style (Ekstrand, 2016) played important roles in injury risk. Each of these elements requires the action of gaining perspective in order to effectively reach a good conclusion.

Workload imposed on the players can be determined through external factors such as GPS monitoring as well as Player assessments. The combination of both strategies however provides a more accurate picture of player workload. Player’s well being or readiness can be assessed through external testing such as jump profiles and internal testing procedures which center on central nervous system function.  The combination of both tools however can reflect a comprehensive picture of a player’s well-being. Forms of communication that are multifactorial as opposed to singular allow for a efficiency in the the transfer of information. And a leadership style which leverages the voice of various constituents can potentially provide a wide range of views resulting in comprehensive decision making.  This style of leadership can be understood as Transformational leadership.  It involves motivating and inspiring followers to go beyond their self-interest for the benefit of collective interests by providing vision, meaning, challenges and stimulation ( Ekstrand et al. 2017). Authors of this study, suggested the transformational leadership, or the style that leverages perspective to a greater level than other forms of leadership is associated with the greatest level of performance in sport. 

“Research in the area of sports psychology indicates that transformational leadership on the part of coaches is associated with higher levels of motivation and performance,9improved development and skill gains, increased well-being, increased satisfaction,reduced aggression,increased task/team cohesion10 18–20 and increased willingness to make personal sacrifices for the good of the team.1 (Ekstrand et al., 2017)

Transformational Leadership fits a democratic form of leadership that allows individuals with different beliefs and values to voice their opinions. It allows stakeholders the opportunity to look at issues through different lenses to determine what action to take.  Moreover, it increases the probability of seeing and solving “real” problems.  This form of leadership is effective at both expanding thinking, decision making and innovating. 

This form of leadership is what some authors recognize as “reframing”. These authors believe that the ability for individuals to use more than one frame increases and individuals ability to  make clear decisions and judgements and to act effectively.  In the process of reframing we have to consider not only how a sports system is organized but the interaction between individuals such as players and organizational needs such player management. Reframing also suggest that we must examine the political environment that exists within a system. We can use these systems to help create coalitions, and power bases that can support the objective of a system.  The usefulness of political reframing can be appreciated in team settings where there is resistance to change.  Those leaders adept at gaining political capital are better able to overcome resistance for effective policy changes.  Authors Bolman and Deal demonstrate how gaining a symbolic frame can be useful in the structure of sports performance. Many performance coaches will argue today that an inability to recognize organizational ritual, ceremony, stories or culture will result in ineffective practice no matter how brilliant or effective they may be. This lesson is a reminder that organizations no matter what they do are more than structures. They each tell a story. And to be better at promoting that organization to success you must understand that story on many levels. furthermore, you must be willing to intervene in a multitude of ways to implement success.

The more  comprehensive, intelligent and valuable information we can gain the more armed we are at making a comprehensive, intelligent and valuable decision. Comprehensive is built on multiple perspective. The more perspectives we have the more comprehensive a piece of information is.  “In A  world of increasing ambiguity and complexity, we believe that the ability to use more than one frame increases and individuals ability to make clear judgements and to act effectively.” – (Bolman & Deal, 1992) . 

 

 

References: 

Bolman, L., Deal, T. (1992) Leading and Managing: Effects of Context, Culture and Gender: Educational Administration Quarterly. (28)3., 314 – 329

Ekstrand J. (2016). Preventing injuries in professional football: thinking bigger and working together. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 50:709–710.

Ekstrand, J., Lundqvist, D., Lagerbäck, L., Vouillamoz, M., Papadimitiou, N., & Karlsson, J. (2017). Is there a correlation between coaches’ leadership styles and injuries in elite football teams? A study of 36 elite teams in 17 countries. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52(8), 527-531

Good Leadership requires Generational Consciousness

In my most recent dinner outing with a group of work members, I could not help but feel tension amongst the culturally diverse group ranging from early twenties to late fifties. It appeared for a brief moment that the idea of placing individuals from various backgrounds within the stress-laden confines of a team tasked to push the edge of competition may prove to be innovative in theory but poorly functioning practically – but then the drinks came in… Soon enough, i saw the great potential for competitive behavior when quality individuals are able to find purpose in their voice, opportunities to genuinely communicate their ideas and appraised constantly for doing so.  Author Natasha Nicholson provides insight to the dynamics of organizations today.  She states that today “we have four generations in the U.S. workforce – All of them in motion.  These generations include the traditional generations or those individuals born between 1946  and 1964, Generation X those individuals born between 1964 – 1981, and millennials those individuals born between 1982 and 2000.  Each of these generations can differ in manners such as communication styles, beliefs and values.  Yet their presence in organizations are a necessary force for adapting to an ever changing environment as well as sustaining stability and ultimately success.  A perspective in to the beliefs and values of millennials for instance can provide insight to the impact belief and generational characteristics impact organizational value and potential for success.   

It has been said that today’s new generation of workers may appear to value work more than past generations. Such a belief would appear to differentiate them from previous generations and shed light to their potential impact for organizational success.    Today’s generational differences differ not only in beliefs inside of the workplace but outside the workplace as well. Younger generations of today also known as millennials  have been described as viewing the work place as more than an occupation but also a religious rite. The youth generation have strong beliefs toward work commitment  and they are likely to see themselves as more aligned to work than their counterparts. Authors have used terms such as “work matrys” to provide insight to the perception for which youth generations seem themselves.  In a New York times piece author Erin Griffith writes that Youth “participation in organized religion is falling, especially among American millennials. In San Francisco, where I live, I’ve noticed that the concept of productivity has taken on an almost spiritual dimension. Techies here have internalized the idea — rooted in the Protestant work ethic — that work is not something you do to get what you want; the work itself is all. Therefore any life hack or company perk that optimizes their day, allowing them to fit in  even more work, is not just desirable but inherently good.”  (Griffith, E, 2019)

Such a belief is likely to have a measurable impact on the culture of an an organization and can conflict with the norms of the past and/or generational demographics of an organization. For instance, culturally acceptable  practices such as paid time off are now being challenged by students.  In a recent report in Harvard Business review, one author denotes the prevailing attitude among workers The researchers surveyed roughly 5,000 full-time employees who receive paid time off as a benefit, and found that millennials were much more likely to agree with four statements they used to assess work martyrdom. “No one else at my company can do the work while I’m away.” “I want to show complete dedication to my company and job.” “I don’t want others to think I am replaceable.” “I feel guilty for using my paid time off.” (Carmichael, 2016)

The differences between work life balance between young generation and older members is apparent.   Millennials were also more likely to want to be seen as work martyrs than older workers; specifically, 48% of Millennials wanted their bosses to see them that way, while only 39% of Gen X did and 32% of Boomers did.   This belief  shape by today’s working youth that “productivity capability — our ability to work, rather than our humanity is  a measure of human worth and can have a significant impact on organizational culture (Carmichael, 2016).

One can argue that such a belief is a powerful vehicle for work productivity. Establishing such a belief can be a useful engine for slow companies looking for success.  Additionally, establishing such a belief is effective at attracting and retaining quality performers.  “The technology industry started this culture of work zeal sometime around the turn of the millennium, when the likes of Google started to feed, massage and even play doctor to its employees. The perks were meant to help companies attract the best talent — and keep employees at their desks longer. However, research may not support this theory. Working Harder or perceiving oneself to working harder may not increase work productivity. 

  “This makes it all the more important to underline that the study also finds that sacrificing vacation time has no net benefit on your career. In fact, work martyrs are more likely to be stressed at home and at work, and less likely to be happy with their companies and careers. And they were less likely to receive bonuses — 75% of work martyrs reported receiving a bonus in the past three years, compared with 81% of overall respondents. Previous research by P:TO showed that people who take fewer vacation days are also less likely to get a raise:” (Carmichael, 2016).

Nonetheless, the beliefs and cultures of generations such as millennials can improve the competitive edge of organizations in a constantly growing world.  Finding methods to ameliorate the differences between generations while maximizing productivity is a fundamental to organizational success. Providing clear and purpose is one of the most effective ways in which we can help to improve the ability to communicate across culture and generations. This requires leaders to delve deep and to search individuals for value, to recognize this value and promote it publicly as a key component for the future of an organization success. In other words the action of providing purpose to individuals that is publicly recognize to different members of the group is an opportunity to engage them.  In some ways this can be understood as leveraging leadership. Author Leah Reynolds writes “it should be no surprise that tech-savvy Gen Yers in your organization want to feel  connected, updated and involved.  The technology they grew up with game them real time access to information, and their boomer parents and teachers socialized them to speak up and contribute their ideas.”  (Reynolds, Campbell Bush, Geist, 2008)

Reynolds  provides us indication with why these individuals specifically want to be recognize with purpose.  Generations Yers in particular were taught to follow their purpose and to value themselves in this fashion. However we must realize that such a desire isn’t specific to any particular generation. It is human nature to seek purpose.  Perhaps the difference with generations is not whether they yearn for purpose but the frequency in which they want to be reminded or informed of their purpose.

Reynolds reminds also reminds us that frequency updates may be a powerful tool for alleviating the differences between generational groups,  She writes “ Generation Y likes to be informed and  feel plugged in If they sense that leadership is not sufficiently updating them..”  (Reynolds, Campbell Bush, Geist, 2008). It should be no surprised that for a generation mired in technology which constantly provides information within a blink of an eye, millennials would also have similar demands for understanding their role in a similar capacity. This observation reminds us that we often should look at communication as a resource for improving  organizational function.  It is important to constantly ask ourselves “how effective are our communications in connecting with members of our workforce, an how are we measuring that effectiveness.  Reynolds demonstrates that communication is more than providing statements of veracity, it is also looking at effective ways to consider the interests and communications styles of different individuals.  We may find ourselves attracted to a form of communication that is ineffective. Communication can hold many forms and should be provided in a comprehensive manner.   Concepts such as  “idea campaigns” , individuals meetings and group outings represents variations in communication tactics that target  discussion. More importantly these opportunities provide manners in which  individuals can communicate more effectively. 

Ultimately, we must realize that organizations will consistently have to address  diversity in an increasing competitive market.  Diversity provides and edge toward success. The ability to master diversity lies in ones ability to understand human nature and the complexities of communication. Those can be understood as elements of  adaptability.  Adaptability can be understood as one’s ability to  better connect workforce by building a sense of community, drawing out insights. It is also an important adoption that we should always expect that  things will never be what they used to be. Just as we should be focusing on understanding the generational changes we should also be preparing for the generations to come.

References:

Carmichael, S. G. (2016, August 22). Millennials Are Actually Workaholics, According to Research. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/08/millennials-are-actually-workaholics-according-to-research

Durkin, Dianne (2008), “Youth Movement”, Communication World, Vol. 25, pp. 23-26.

Griffith, E. (2019, January 26). Why Are Young People Pretending to Love Work? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/business/against-hustle-culture-rise-and-grind-tgim.html

Lovely, S. (2005). Creating synergy in the schoolhouse: Changing dynamics among peer cohorts will drive the work of school systems. School Administrator, 62(8), 30-34.

Reynolds, L., Campbell Bush, E., and Geist, R. (2008), “The gen y imperative”, Communication World, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 19-22.

Organizational Change in 3 Steps

When individuals are hired by members of a struggling organization to a leadership role, we often hear the value of culture change as a necessary step for a return to organizational success. If an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value, than a change in potential is a necessary element to adapt to a highly competitive and growing environment.  It is difficult to know for sure what must of been going through the mind of early stakeholders or  leaders tasked with transforming struggling organizations.  However, through the work of research and the observations of  various organizations we are beginning to understand the anatomy of organizational change and the various factors necessary for its successful initiation, implementation and institutionalization.   

lean-enterprise-book-illustrations-v10-39

Michael Fullan, an expert in leadership and change, along with the work of various researchers help  to provide insight to the anatomy of organizational transformation and provide us a glimpse of how teams mired in failure can find success. 

If it was possible to relegate the complex elements of change to three words the most likely culprits would be goals, collaboration and leadership.

The essence of an organization or  a system composed of value adding processes is built on the foundation of:

  1. “Closing the gap” to an overarching goal
  2.  Recognizing strategies that focus on effective communication and action
  3. Improving the ability to leverage leadership within its system. 

Understanding these three guidelines helps to summarize the multi-dimensional nature of change. 

Step 1: Closing the gap as the or to an overarching Goal

In attempting to understand what took place in the early phases of change we must first recognize that change is unique, non-linear and does not follow clear, rigid rules. However, we can be certain of a few fundamental elements such as establishing meaning. Meaningful change is preceded by determining meaning. Acquiring meaning is an important individual and organizational pursuit if it is to be successful. Fullan states that “acquiring meaning is achieved across a group of people working in concert. This is perhaps one of the most important lessons to be drawn from Fullan’s  explanation of change. In this explanation he demonstrates the importance of establishing a plan and communicating said plan to parts of the organization. Acquiring meaning is the first step in creating a plan. A plan inherently has a starting point and an objective. Acquiring meaning drives us to close the gap or reach the objective of a plan. If the theory of change emerging at this point leads us to conclude that we need better plans and planners, we are embarking on the infinite regress that characterizes the pursuit of a theory of “changing”.  Closing the gap requires self – reflection or the ability to ask difficult questions, challenge norms and understand methods aimed at its construction. Understanding the anatomy for change is perhaps the most important and valuable lesson before undertaking change.  As Fullan states “we need to explain not only what causes it but also how to influence those causes”. Just like physics is a foundation for engineering, knowledge of change has been a foundation for innovation and the ability to create change.  In creating change we recognize that questions that begin with 

  1. Why
  2. What
  3. How 
  4.  What if

are important to know. 

These questions, give us the ability to determine meaning, objective and the abilities to close the gap of an established objective.

Step 2: Recognize the value of strategies that are socially based and action oriented

They also recognize that change is a cyclical process, that requires constant genuine discussion based on data driven assessments.  Authors have argued that Change leadership (or the interplay between artful leadership and organization management) is necessary for developing an organizations culture and is an essential component for developing new core capabilities needed to compete in a global, high tech world (Mcguire, 2006). Fullan demonstrates that trust and cohesion between parts of an organization is important for its success and operation especially when undertaking the complexities of change.  Communication across boundaries allow for greater potential in understanding one another as well as acquire meaning in oneself or the group.  Social discussions allow various elements to share and increase value in one another. In order to display this value, action is needed. A good strategy toward this goal is to begin and end a day with a meeting. There is a firm understanding that discussion built on trust and cohesion allows us to make appropriate decisions as well as actions to reach our planned goals when provided with good information. 

Step 3: Stay the course  of good direction through continually leveraging leadership. 

Experience shows that change occurs from or with the support of a position of leadership. Fullan states that individuals in leadership positions within an organization such as chief administrators or central distract staff are critical sources of advocacy, support and imitation of new programs. This observation is no different from the occurrences of sports organizations which are often run by senior officials such as a general manager or chief executive officer.  They may not be the catalyst for change, but they are certainly important resources for advocacy and support in change. The messaging of advocacy, communicated from the general manager is a constant reminder for those individuals new to change within the organization. They also help to recognize the importance of establishing key stakeholders in facilitating change or leveraging leadership. Leveraging leadership provides individuals with purpose and meaning in their roles but also empowers their positions and perspectives.

In establishing change we recognize that that each instance of change is unique. In other words, when discussing change, we must be mindful that it exists as an individual quality from other episodes of change.  This can be the result of its multifactorial nature.  As authors have suggested there are no hard-and-fast rules to change but rather a set of suggestions for how change can occur.  Generally speaking, we know that change requires us to establish meaning, collaborate and leverage leadership.

References

Fullan, M. (2016). The new meaning of educational change. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

McGuire, J. (2003). Leadership strategies for culture change: Developing change leadership as an organization core capability. Orlando, Florida: Center for Creative Leadership.

Young, Y. (2006). Mindset. Brighton: Pen Press.