Featured: How Gregg Popovich Uses ‘Magical Feedback’ to Inspire the San Antonio Spurs
This is a crash course in organizational culture, the business of people, and life.
Originally posted in Time by Daniel Coyle.
A few years back a team of psychologists from Stanford, Yale and Columbia discovered that one particular form of teacher feedback boosted student effort and performance so immensely that they deemed it “magical feedback.” The feedback was not complicated. In fact, it consisted of one simple phrase.
I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.
That’s it. Just 19 words. None of these words contain any information on how to improve. Yet they are powerful because they deliver a cultural signal:
- You are part of this group.
- This group is special; we have high standards here.
- I believe you can reach those standards.
Alone, each of these signals would have a limited effect. But together they create a steady stream of magical feedback. For the Spurs, every dinner, every elbow touch, every impromptu seminar on politics and history adds up to build and reinforce a narrative: You are part of this group. This group is special. I believe you can meet our high standards.
In other words, the Spurs don’t succeed because they are good at basketball. They succeed because they are skilled at a far more important sport: building strong relationships.
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