Problem Solving 5 Push Ups At A Time

Have you noticed almost no one in business uses push ups to solve problems, or laps.  I never liked running, and it takes to long to get your team back on task, so I use push ups as ‘motivators’ when coaching. Here’s how it works:

1. You screw up.

2. You drop and give me 5 push ups, immediately.

3. You go back to trying to do it right.

It works really well.  You didn’t call for the ball. Drop and give me 5.  You forgot to box out your man. Drop and give me 5.  You missed your serve. Drop and give me 5. You missed the steal sign. Drop and give me 5.

No, not after practice, or the game. Now.

“But coach, everyone is watching in the stands. I’m going to leave my team one person short.”  Yes.  Yes, they are watching. Yes, you will leave your team short.

Give me 5, now.

There’s something about correction in the moment.  I don’t really think it’s about embarrassment, I think it’s about understanding this is so important, we are doing to address it right here, right now.  Not later.  Not after. Now.

Individually or as a team.  Always effective.  Don’t like turnovers.  After each turnover, the entire team has to do 5 push ups on the floor, game clock running.  You want to know what happens?  The other team kind of giggles, referees always wait, and parents don’t lose their minds.  Oh, and turnovers go down.

It’s not hard doing 5 push ups.  It’s about taking a moment in time to show what just went wrong is important.  We need to take a moment to think about it.  That moment needs to last as long as it take you to do 5 push ups.

It works really well when coaching both boys and girls.  I’m wondering how well it would be in coaching adults in the workplace. It’s not about punishment, it’s about letting everyone know what’s important.  Being crystal clear.  Suit and tie, khakis and button-down, pumps and dress, drop and give me 5.   I’m not convinced adults would see this the same as kids, but I wondering what the real difference is?  Definitely not normal.  Effective ideas rarely are.

What do you think?  Would push ups work as a motivator in your environment?

One thought on “Problem Solving 5 Push Ups At A Time

  1. I remember when I joined the Army, during my initial basic training, I quickly learned that if I wanted to avoid getting “smoked” I had to be a squared away joe…and that lesson has followed me throughout my military and civilian career. If only we could use physical conditioning as a motivator in the civilian world…I honestly believe you would see major differences in individual effectiveness. As for five push-ups Tim…your letting your “joes” off easy. 😉

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