In his outrageously popular best-seller Sapiens, historian Yuval Noah Harari discusses the notion of imagined realities; the strictly human ability to use our imaginations to create things that don’t actually exist.

Money, companies, international borders, common law, the stock market, and the electoral system are just some examples of the everyday things that do not exist outside of our fertile minds. And while these elements of society have become fundamental to our lives, some only persist because millions of us agree to go along with the ruse.

An unfortunate truth of imagined realities is that because we’re stuck on the inside, it is difficult to imagine a life without their existence. It’s easy for John Lennon to sing about a world with no borders and much harder for us to truly fathom how that might work logistically (even though those borders are imaginary to begin with). …

We love to think that our organization has one culture — a single vision and belief system that powers the entire organization.

In reality, though, that not entirely true.

What is undoubtedly true is that every organization is made up of microcultures — small groups of human beings with a common purpose — many of which we overlook or simply cannot see.

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Image: Nick Potts via

You see, org charts are based on financial models, and tend to track which cost centre pays your wage rather than which individuals you actually engage with.

Our org charts do a really good job of helping us identify the marketing department, the football department, and the executive committee, but they fail to capture the microcultures that actually make up our day-to-day activities. …

In the final seconds of Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals, Cleveland Cavaliers guard JR Smith made a sizeable error.

After teammate George Hill missed a go-ahead free-throw with 4.7 seconds left on the clock, Smith grabbed therebound and dribbled the ball backwards, allowing time to expire with the scores level.

Cleveland had a chance for a game-winning shot, but Smith mistakenly thought his team was ahead, and was happy to see out time. The mental lapse was substantial given the high-stakes of the NBA Finals, but it wasn’t fatal. …

In the first address to his new team, Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich bristled: “One good season is not good enough, I’m just going to tell you that right now.”

With long-time superstar Peyton Manning having transitioned to an elite new quarterback in Andrew Luck, the Colts had spent the better part of 15 years as a dominant force in the NFL, including winning the Super Bowl in 2006.

Recently, though, the club has been decimated by injuries, poor recruitment, and a lack of identity. …

Last October, the Minnesota Twins made 37-year-old Rocco Baldelli the youngest manager in Major League Baseball.

As a player, Baldelli was a star on the rise, being likened to a young Joe DiMaggio. Cruelly, injuries and a muscle disorder derailed his career before he could truly reach his peak.

Within four seasons of retiring, Baldelli had made such inroads as a coach that he interviewed for five of the six managerial vacancies in the MLB this off-season.

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And when you analyze this exchange with a reporter during his introductory press conference, it’s not difficult to understand why he was in such high…

To launch my podcast, I invited Wharton professor and multiple New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant to join me (and Joe Dumars) to discuss the role humility plays in impactful leadership.

In particular, I was interested in Adam’s knowledge of academic studies of leadership and how we can weave the learnings into the daily practices of our organizations.

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To begin, I asked Adam, at a basic level, what is humility?

“It’s about not seeing yourself as better than others”

“Fundamentally, it’s about being grounded — I’m human, I make mistakes, I always have ways to improve,” says Adam, whose 2013 book Give and Take is still considered the go-to source for understanding the impact humility can have on both team and individual performance. …

The power of collective awareness in remodelling our teams

In men’s soccer, 35% of goals are scored from corners, free kicks and throw-ins.

But despite the fact that over one-third of their goals come from set pieces, most teams spend 10-or-so minutes at the end of training practicing these elements of the game. It’s often treated as a glorified warm down, and a chance to have a bit of a laugh with the lads.

If your company was making 35% of its revenue from a particular product, I dare say you’d alter your behavior to start allocating 35% of your time towards nurturing that product.

So why is soccer coaching any different? …

Do you know what many of the world’s best CEOs do to optimize their own performance?

They run.

Or cycle.

Or meditate.

Or hydrate.

Or go home to see their partners and children.

Yes, the hottest new trend in corporate leadership is taking care of yourself so you can take better care of your team. And yes, that means less hours being ‘busy’ at the office.

The irony is that sports leadership has not caught on to this trend. …

How to stop being crippled by whether your idea is ‘original enough’.

One of the most paralyzing thoughts for a creator is the nagging belief that your work has been done before by someone else. We tell ourselves that if it’s not truly original that no-one will read our blog, or listen to our music, or our gameplan will be easily figured out by a rival coach.

And with the internet, it’s easier than ever to find other creators who’ve had the exact same ideas as you. It’s soul crushing.

But the more we scrutinize the idea of originality, the more it becomes clear that it’s bullshit. As it turns out, even the most original ideas aren’t as unique as we believe. Everything (EVERYTHING!) …

Coaches know there is a difference between your best player and your most important player.

Some time ago, I was pondering why no professional sport had an All-Coachable team. We have awards for most valuable player, top scorer, rookie of the year, and the best individual players are selected to the All-Star team, but there’s nothing to reward the players who coaches deem to be the most reliable, hard-working, and honest.

To me, as a coach, that doesn’t make sense.

Bill Belichick, an eight-time Super Bowl champion coach (he won two with the Giants), calls these players his “dependables,” and suggests that these players, not your All-Stars, are the ones you should turn to in game-defining situations. “You have to go with the person who you have the most confidence in, the most consistent,” Belichick says. …


Cody Royle

I study how teams create sustained success | Where Others Won’t | Head Coach of AFL Team Canada | Avocado Toast Aficionado | #altMBA

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