InsideOut Development

Client Q&A: The Power of Focus

by Nancy Q. Smith


I first met Joe Nettemeyer Jr. at an InsideOut Coaching certification workshop in LA last October and was immediately impressed with his belief in the InsideOut approach. When I asked how he developed that passion, he related an experience he had with his hockey team and the power of focus. I asked Joe if he’d be willing to answer a few questions and he graciously agreed.

I appreciate your willingness to share your story, Joe. When were you first introduced to the InsideOut approach and what were your first impressions?
I was introduced to the InsideOut approach when I attended the one-day workshop last year and was instantly struck by the simplicity of the feedback model. My personal motto is, “Keep it simple,” and I could immediately recognize that this approach would be easy to apply. What I could not have anticipated, however, was how I would be able to apply it personally, almost immediately.

Tell me about that.
I am on an adult hockey team and in a recent match we were getting stomped. The score was 4-0 in favor of our opponents at the end of the first period. Not a good spot to be in with more than two-thirds of the game left to play.

What did you do?
Everyone was beyond frustrated, but nobody was talking about a solution; even the captain was silent. So I started asking the InsideOut Feedback questions: “What’s working?” “Where are we getting stuck?” “What could we do differently?” Everyone agreed our passing was off, so I suggested we focus on that; we worry about passing and nothing else.

What happened?
We experienced a huge turnaround. Our passes were crisper and our confidence slipped back into place. At the end of the 2nd period the score was 4-2. Early in the third we went through the feedback questions again. We determined holding our positions was an additional point of focus. We went on an incredible run and were up by one goal with 5 minutes left. The other team was rattled, but we remained focused on our two objectives and held on for the win.

What do you think made the difference?
In the beginning, our play was very disorganized; we looked terrible. Everyone on the team knows how to play hockey, but our focus just wasn’t there. Once we adjusted our focus, we went from a chaotic mess to a team with one purpose.

What role did you think your approach played in leading to the turnaround?
By using the InsideOut approach everything just fell into place. The approach is simple, but there’s a deeper complexity to it. It kept the team from arguing and participating in the blame game. We just focused on what we already knew and instead of thinking about what we had to do, we acted and everything began to flow.

Category: Client Q&A Focus

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Nancy Q. Smith is a facilitator, consultant, and learning and development executive with over 30 years of experience. An in-demand speaker for supply management and human resources audiences, Nancy has also been published in Training Magazine. Nancy has been married to Tobin, the boy who stood next to her in her kindergarten picture, since 1988. They reconnected at the Wayne State library and have been together ever since. They are the proud parents of two children, Walker and Claire, and two fluffy dogs, Emma and Indie.

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