Did Maroney and Douglas deviate from Standard Work?By
We are always taught to seek perfection, continuously improve, constant iteration! Set a high standard, practically an unachievable goal and go for it!
From Bill Reiter of Fox Sports: Maroney slips to silver in vault
She knew it was off as it began, but there was no turning back. She would have to fight through it. She was the seventh of eight vaulters to go, each of whom would vault twice and take the average as their scores. Her lead was so large it seemed inconceivable anything could go wrong.
Her first vault had garnered her a 15.866, a huge score worthy of her enormous talent, and her nearest opponent had an average of 15.050. Next up after her was Romania’s Sandra Raluca Izbasa, a very good vaulter but not capable of reaching such a lofty score. Stick the landing and Maroney was there.
“Through this whole Olympics time I have not fallen on my butt on that,” she said later.
Maroney hit the vault, and it was wrong. She hadn’t gotten her full block and her hands hadn’t really touched the vault, and then she was in the air.
As I was watching McKayla Maroney fall to the ground, I wondered was she so obsessed with perfection that she tried to hard to be perfect. Was a 15.866 not quite good enough? Did she lose sight of her goal, the gold medal in pursuit of perfection?
The next night I watched Gabby Douglas, perform. Maybe unfortunately, she drew the last position. Several of the other gymnast nailed their performances. Pure conjecture on my part but I sensed there was concern that the difficulty level of her performance would demand a near-perfect routine.
From Bill Reiter of Fox Sports: Douglas faces tougher side of fame
Tired and worn down – so much so her answers often drifted afterward and a USA Gymnastics official limited questions because of the 16-year-old’s obvious fatigue – Douglas took to the uneven bars hoping to add another medal to her trophy case.
She finished dead last. Normally fast and beautiful and seamless, even to the untrained eye, she was clunky and off. She missed a key part of her routine, a misstep clear to even those lacking in expertise and significant enough to lower her score to a 14.9.
We are so obsessed with this thought and the “so-called” ever changing world around us that we are willing to toss the best laid plans out the window. The new advice is to iterate and seek perfection. Planning has become so passé. I personally struggle with the all to common Inspect-Adapt thoughts.
I believe in a learn by doing approach. However, this approach incorporates the principles of PDCA/PDSA (Plan – Do – Study – Adjust). Most believers in PDCA/PDCSA will tell you that the “P” should incorporate 50% of your time. Planning is important.
My thoughts on the two Olympians:
- Maroney reached for perfection, maybe at the wrong time. She got caught up in the moment. Part of that is maturity but did anyone think this situation was not a possibility? Was her goal perfection or the Gold Medal? What separates champions is understanding the moment they are in and adjusting accordingly. They do that as a result of planning.
- Gabby Douglas felt uncomfortable with her plan. She hesitated in the moment of a difficult sequence. We could say that her routine was insufficient, and it should have included more difficulty before she started, My point is that she changed or lost confidence in her plan in the midst of the moment and as a result finished last.
Planning is important. Maybe even more is the ability to EXECUTE ACCORDING TO PLAN. This does not mean that plans are not adaptable, good ones are. This means though that when we are “in the moment,” we must believe in what we are doing and execute within our existing capabilities. Or in other words, Standard Work. Preparation is the key in delivery, and you must prepare and be comfortable with the plan (Standard Work). Improving on your plan is a deliberate action outside of your Standard Work. Without this understanding, you may wander and not achieve what you set out for.
In no way construe this article to think of anything less than sincere admiration for what these two Olympians have accomplished. These are just two current examples that I used. Just appearing on the stage is a fantastic accomplishment.