Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What Drives Winning?

So Miss TigerBlog was invited to a reception for admitted Princeton students later this month.

It reminded TigerBlog of when he was a college senior and he was invited to a similar gathering. It was held at the house of an alum, about a half hour from where TB lived.

He was thinking back to that night as MTB was talking about RSVP'ing to her own. There were two parts of it that really stand out.

First, her invitation came by email. TB's came through the United States Postal Service. That's obvious.

Then there's the other thing. He still remembers, all these years later, driving up to the house and walking in.

He doesn't remember what he wore. He's not sure if he said something along the lines of how much he was looking forward to spending four years at Penn and then the next several decades vehemently rooting against Penn and for Princeton. He probably didn't.

Mostly, as he looked back, he had no memory of how he got there.

Now this seems simple enough, right? He was at his house. He had to get to someone else's house. He drove his 1977 Dodge Diplomat with the red top. That he knows.

How, though, did people back then figure out how to get from Point A to Point B? There was no GPS. There wasn't even, or

These days, the idea of having to go someplace unfamiliar is hardly intimidating. You simply enter the address into your phone, and off you go. Hey, on TB's phone, there are three different options for a GPS.

Back then? Nothing like that. There were maps. TB supposes that the hosts included printed directions in the invitation. If not, then he had to find it on an actual map, one made of paper that needed to be folded up.

It seems so prehistoric, right?

These days, people have become so reliant on the GPS that they blindly follow them, even when they're already sure about where they're going. Do you do this?

If you have the app "Waze," then you know it's designed to take you around traffic. But what do you do when you want to go one way but the app is taking you another. Do you simply give in and follow it? 

Of course, with the ease of GPS, there's an entire generation of young drivers who can't find their way home from the nearest store, but that's for another day.

You can set your GPS tonight for McCosh Hall, Room 10, for the Princeton Varsity Club's Jake McCandless Speaker Series. The featured speaker is Brett Ledbetter, who has written a book called "What Drives Winning."

The talk is entitled "A conversation about building culture, developing character and the link to high performance." It is free and open to the public.

One thing that TigerBlog is fascinated by is the quote he saw on the "What Drives Winning" website, where it speaks about learning "how to separate the person from the player." This directly contradicts one of Pete Carril's best quotes, which is that you can't separate the player from the person. TB is definitely interested in hearing more about that. 

The concept of high performance is a big one these days at Princeton. There has been a lot of time and resources put into the area, with the hope of developing for the University's athletes a foundation that addresses many of the physical and emotional challenges that are unique to them and proposes ways of maximizing performance.

That, though, is only half of the discussion. The other part of performance at Princeton is tied to promoting the common values of the department and the University.

These issues are right in Ledbetter's wheelhouse and form the framework for his talk.

It's an interesting topic, and one that raises some really good questions. How much can on-field performance be dictated by an analysis of various factors? How important is it to tie that to the values of your organization?

Princeton Athletics is invested in finding out the answers.

The talk tonight figures to ask the right questions.

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