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terry 12-26-2011 08:50 PM

Web Redesign: Expanded TI Mission Statement
 
As I work through this process of sharpening the messages on our web site, I'm consider a small expansion of the mission statement of TI.

We believe everyone – not just the talented few -- should be able to experience the joy of swimming well. Our mission is to bring that gift to as many people as possible through self-help tools and expert instruction and by supporting swimmers in making healthy choices and living well.'

The part in italics is new.

Reactions?

Mike from NS 12-26-2011 09:39 PM

"by supporting swimmers in making healthy choices and living well. "

First reaction is that it may not add value to the mission statement; but on second thought, I feel it offers a lot of value if the intention is that TI might even aid the want-to-be swimmer by suggestions a fitness and dietary programs, which if followed, will enhance the swimming experience. It makes me curious to see if there is more than swimming instruction available through TI. A holistic approach to swimming, perhaps? An approach where the fitness of the swimmer is taken into account. Perhaps another division of the web site dedicated to "well being and fitness"?

Mike

westyswoods 12-26-2011 11:09 PM

A Thought
 
It would be nice to have a section dedicated for videos posted by forum participants with comments and suggestions.

I find videos the most informative piece of this forum.

Just a thought.

Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy

Janos 12-27-2011 02:08 AM

My first impression is that it could dilute your original message. TI can offer a physical challenge and psychological sustenance, does it really need to offer what could be interpreted as condescending lifestyle advice? My guess is that a large proportion of swimmers already embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Perhaps you could issue a 'TI International Race Club' cap to each member of the new site, where there could be a page where people could post results from races and triathlon, and leave comments or let a pattern emerge of improved results from TI practice. A distinctive cap worn by swimmers would allow anybody caught in the swimmers wake to see what technique is being used and they could perhaps be future customers. It would certainly raise your profile if there was conformity in the TI community.

Regards

Janos

cynthiam 12-27-2011 04:06 AM

Prefer the original
 
The expansion seems like scope creep to me and a bit prescriptive (not in a good way). I agree with Janos that it may dilute your original message.

How are you defining healthy choices and living well? It sounds to me too much like how every health "authority" tries to push his/her pet idea.

rbs24h 12-27-2011 06:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24840)
As I work through this process of sharpening the messages on our web site, I'm consider a small expansion of the mission statement of TI.

We believe everyone – not just the talented few -- should be able to experience the joy of swimming well. Our mission is to bring that gift to as many people as possible through self-help tools and expert instruction and by supporting swimmers in making healthy choices and living well.' ?

I think with a couple of very small changes, you can include most of this verbiage without implying anything beyond "scope".

How about something like:

"...Our mission statement is to bring that gift to as many people as possible. Through self-help tools, and expert instruction, to support swimmers in their healthy life choices."

terry 12-27-2011 12:55 PM

You're all correct on the need to articulate that goal better. Our intention isn't to offer dietary or lifestyle advice. This would indeed be 'scope creep' and dilute our message. Rather, the point I'm seeking to embed in our mission statement is that TI is the only truly holistic swimming method. We help you reach your swimming goals in a way that help you be healthier and happier as well. Live well by swimming well.

Something more like this:
We believe swimming is the healthiest and most satisfying of all physical activities. Our mission is to help people of all ages and abilities achieve their swimming goals--and experience greater health and happiness--through intelligent, effective, and enjoyable practice.

bx 12-27-2011 01:09 PM

Is this mission statement something for the new website, as I couldn't find one in the present version... Anyway, I don't know if mission statements really add much value for anyone?

[EDIT: I see the MS is on the About TI page, but I missed it as it wasn't flagged as "Mission Statement"]

On the "About TI" page at the end we've got:
Total Immersion: Swimming that Changes Your Life
which I think is rather good, short and memorable.

On another thread some time ago the forum discussed phrases, and one that apparently works well in Japan is:
Swim with grace
which, again, I think is a fabulous little phrase.

Perhaps you could combine them:
Total Immersion: Graceful Swimming that Changes Your Life

swimmermike 12-27-2011 05:08 PM

Terry

I am not sure you need to add anything to the mission statement as is.

My recommendation is: think about what you are trying to accomplish by changing the statement.

The momentum behind TI is already in the direction of "making healthy choices and living well." I see nothing added by making this explicit. As someone else wrote, it may be perceived as condescending.

You may be trying to stake out a domain for TI that can be realized only through the individual's imagination. To say this another way: yoga or meditation can provide marvelous tools for a person, but the chances for the foundational change some people achieve through these practices are not enhanced by a teacher's promoting the practices in that way. You get the significant change just by doing the practice.

I guess this turned out to be a very personal statement about how I look at my swimming practice. Indeed, it has changed much in my life, providing "flow," among other experiences, which paradoxically may have been less readily accessible to me had I approached TI with the intention of gaining them.

Michael

terry 12-27-2011 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bx (Post 24856)
Total Immersion: Graceful Swimming that Changes Your Life

It has an undeniable ring to it.

terry 12-27-2011 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by swimmermike (Post 24860)
[TI] has changed much in my life, providing "flow," among other experiences, which paradoxically may have been less readily accessible to me had I approached TI with the intention of gaining them.

Einsteins "Elegant Solution" principle: The best solution is usually the simplest.

Brevity is the soul of wit, perhaps also of clarity.

Janos 12-27-2011 10:02 PM

I agree. Well said Michael. Brevity seems to be the soul of mission statements too.

cynthiam 12-28-2011 04:51 AM

Mission statements and tag lines
 
Hear, hear, Michael! You and bx said it much more gracefully than I did. :)

Thanks for the elucidation, Terry, on trying to embed the holistic nature of TI into the mission statement. What you've written under the heading Something more like this could be the lead paragraph of the "About TI" page or could be the mission statement that follows the tag line of "Total Immersion: Graceful Swimming that Changes Your Life".

haschu33 12-28-2011 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24855)
...Rather, the point I'm seeking to embed in our mission statement is that TI is the only truly holistic swimming method. We help you reach your swimming goals in a way that help you be healthier and happier as well. Live well by swimming well.

Something more like this:
We believe swimming is the healthiest and most satisfying of all physical activities. ...

I think it's good to be a little careful here. While these statements show personal conviction and enthusiasm they also lay bare a certain amount of something that could easily be called ignorance.
To say that TI is a holistic approach needs explanation and there you get into areas where you leave the physical swimming world and get into the world of mental approach, or spiritual world, or esoteric world, whatever you want to call it. There are many approaches and systems and traditions out there and they are there since years, decades, centuries or even milleniums. You will not get away by just claiming it. I am not saying that TI is not a holistic approach, but just doing some drills and being focused doesn't make it holistic. So you need a lot more to back up that statement.
I thing what can be said is that TI moves the goal from the goal to the path: clearly the path is the goal here. That is a unique feature of TI and can be claimed without getting on slippery ice.
Also there are other physical activities that are as healthy and satisfying as swimming. Tell this statement about swimming to passionate horse back riders (I don't mean Western style) and you will get a very pitiful look. It might be running for other people, even walking, anything that is physical.

This one I think is very good and save to say:
Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24855)
Our mission is to help people of all ages and abilities achieve their swimming goals--and experience greater health and happiness--through intelligent, effective, and enjoyable practice.

Also this is very good:
Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24855)
... Live well by swimming well. ...

It's a little provocative and demanding but still not claiming too much.

But this one:
Quote:

Originally Posted by bx (Post 24856)
... Total Immersion: Graceful Swimming that Changes Your Life

Will this have any appeal to a heavy duty Tri person who wants to improve his/her swimming?

I think it is ok to say that swimming the TI way might change your life, because it might. And there could be testemonies of people for whom this is true.
But it might not. We should never forget that this does not work for everybody. People are too different. And all those people who are already involved in bringing mindfulness and awareness in their life and want to swim for health reasons might not experience a change in their life at all when using TI as they incorporated those mental aspects already.


Maybe a cooperation could be done with some of those mentally oriented systems, mainly one of those that use mindfulness as their main theme. I am thinking here of approaches like John Kabat-Zinn with his MBSR. There is a lot of knowledge about using mindfulness and that could very well complete TI. And help bringing that aspect on a more stable ground.
What about TI: Swimming-Based-Stress-reduction ;-)

Quote:

Originally Posted by swimmermike (Post 24860)
...
You may be trying to stake out a domain for TI that can be realized only through the individual's imagination. To say this another way: yoga or meditation can provide marvelous tools for a person, but the chances for the foundational change some people achieve through these practices are not enhanced by a teacher's promoting the practices in that way. You get the significant change just by doing the practice.

That is a very good point, I absolutely agree with this. It should not get forgotten.


Hang on in there...

terry 12-28-2011 11:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haschu33 (Post 24880)
I am not saying that TI is not a holistic approach, but just doing some drills and being focused doesn't make it holistic. So you need a lot more to back up that statement.

I don't believe we're lacking in that department. It's clear that TI methods have never been 'just do some drills and be focused.'

We were the first - and after over 20 years remain the only - swimming method to:
1. Teach movement skills based on verifiable principles - balance, streamline and propel in that order.
2. Note that the skills we teach -- indeed every solution to what we call the Universal Human Swimming Problem (terrestrial mammals trying to master an aquatic skill) -- is counterintuitive/instinctual. And thus can only be learned via Mindful practice.
3. Teach the cognitive skills of Mindfulness - and the behaviors and mindsets of Flow, Mastery, Excellent Performance - in as structured and principle-based a way as we originally had taught motor skills.
4. Close the loop by linking brain function and adaptation to all of the preceding - making the point that if you hope to swim well and live well you should be curious about and at least moderately familiar with how the brain works, not just how the muscles do.
5. And finally to patiently, tirelessly remind people that the greatest benefit of all this is neither a more graceful stroke nor a faster 1500, but greater health and happiness.

If that doesn't deserve the descriptive 'holistic' what does?

haschu33 12-28-2011 11:45 AM

Terry,

Yes, no worries, as I said I am not saying that TI is not holistic. I just wanted to be a little provocative to illustrate my point.

BTW as you mention it, I think I am representing a minority in the TI world: those who start learning freestyle from the scratch at a later age with the help of TI. I can deliver a testimony that it is very well possible to learn a good, balanced, streamlined, hip driven and effortless stroke without coach by just following the methodical approach of the TI DVD's. Since I looked around on the market I can say that I am sure that TI is absolutely unique in this and it is something that can be stressed on the new Web presence.

I still like the idea of relating TI with one of those mindfulness based methods. What do you think ?

haschu33 12-28-2011 11:56 AM

One more thing, I think this is the point here that gets me:

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24882)
...
5. And finally to patiently, tirelessly remind people that the greatest benefit of all this is neither a more graceful stroke nor a faster 1500, but greater health and happiness. ...

There is a lot of talking about better health and happiness. If this is supposed to mean not only physical health - which swimming provides anyway - than this point exactly needs more food. Either it has to be explained why you gain (mental) health and happiness, or there need to be enough testimonies that suggest such a conclusion.

This is the crucial point for claiming a 'holistic' approach and for my taste it deserves more logic and argumentation.

I am sure you got some more... ;-)

westyswoods 12-28-2011 01:19 PM

Health and Happiness
 
I find it difficult to articulate my thoughts on this piece of TI. Keeping it simple my thoughts follow with those Haschu is putting forth. If I read it correctly he is not saying the holistic results of TI are false, rather these benefits need to be somehow more clearly defined when and is used.

I came for technique, not seeking or evening knowing what the holistic approach benefits could be. In retrospect I say with confidence that no way would the holistic aspect of TI sold me on the journey. In short it is something which evolves as time passes while one practices TI with a sense of conviction and patience. Try selling that to someone wanting to improve their swimming.

The coaches and literature can profess the holistic benefits till the lakes freeze over, I for one would have said ya da da da, my purpose is to swim better.

In closing not once in all the reasearch I pursued on TI did I see the holistc message .



Swim Silent and Be Well
Westy

dshen 12-28-2011 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by westyswoods (Post 24887)
I came for technique, not seeking or evening knowing what the holistic approach benefits could be. In retrospect I say with confidence that no way would the holistic aspect of TI sold me on the journey. In short it is something which evolves as time passes while one practices TI with a sense of conviction and patience. Try selling that to someone wanting to improve their swimming.

The coaches and literature can profess the holistic benefits till the lakes freeze over, I for one would have said ya da da da, my purpose is to swim better.

unfortunately i agree with westywoods's statement here. i think that for the majority of people out there, they pursue quick, more obvious gains, as in swimming speed and winning a race. they are not introspective enough to figure out that there are other benefits they could gain from training....yet.

it seems that most people need to graduate through the path of obvious/quick /visible gains first before they get to the mental/emotional/holistic gains. i think this is even more present in younger people - ever try telling your kid to run because it's healthy for them? ha! they still have that invulnerability aspect to their personalities and tend to pursue it more for winning races or to rise socially amongst their peers.

i think this is prevalent even through adulthood until you get to about 30 and then things start to change a lot as people realize they aren't invulnerable and that other pursuing the more obvious/visible/quick gains may not bring as much satisfaction and meaning as they thought.

once we get older, we get more mature in our attitudes, our introspection, and our thinking and we can now more effectively process and pursue holistic benefits to training.

that's not to say we can't find younger people who exhibit these qualities - i'm just saying it's much rarer in younger people than for older people.

this may be worth thinking about in crafting one of the messages about TI that is adjusted and targeted appropriately to people who do not pursue holistic goals but if we can get them on the TI bandwagon than surely they will gain and understand the holistic benefits later.

CoachToddE 12-28-2011 11:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24840)
We believe everyone – not just the talented few -- should be able to experience the joy of swimming well. Our mission is to bring that gift to as many people as possible through self-help tools and expert instruction and by supporting swimmers in making healthy choices and living well.'
The part in italics is new.
Reactions?

Terry,

Wanting to comment, I had to go back and review some articles on mission statements since it has been a while since I have done that in my prior military life. I remembered, after reading, that most if not all organizations have a "vision statement." I was looking at the current web site and didn’t see one. Have you stated a vision for TI? I think that some of what you want to state could be put in the vision statement as it "could communicate an ideal, end result, a vision. It reflects values and beliefs, and should inspire and challenge."

I just got the feeling from reading this and everyone's comments that there was too much being tried to put into the mission statement.

Example Vision I crafted using your words:

"Total Immersion believes everyone of all ages and abilities should experience the joy of swimming, and swimming well, through the use of self-help education, expert class instruction, and by introducing swimmers to a life of health and happiness."

In the mission statement you can then clarify TI's purpose. This idea is a taken somewhat from Coca Cola's mission statement but adapted for TI. Some you'll see I've taken from your earlier posts on this thread.

"The TI promise: TI exists to make swimming beneficial and a renewing experience to everyone it touches. Teach movement skills based on verifiable principles - balance, streamline and propel in that order. Teach the cognitive skills of Mindfulness - and the behaviors and mindsets of Flow, Mastery, Excellent Performance - in as structured and principle-based way as we originally had taught/learned motor skills. Instill a thought process that links brain function and adaptation to all of the preceding. And finally to patiently, tirelessly remind everyone that the greatest benefit of all this is neither a more graceful stroke nor a faster 1500, but greater health and happiness."

Then possibly take your tag line and change: I took the one originally Posted by bx and added/modified.

"otal Immersion - Turning Struggles into Graceful Swimming that Results in Changing Your Life"

I have to agree with dshen, haschu33, westywoods and the rest (please excuse the omission of names) that I too at first was not attracted to the whole TI picture and only the swimming with ease, more efficient, etc. It was only after really practicing and reading the TI material, forums did I start to get the whole picture. Then after Instructor Training and the first Coaches Summitt it really was cemented in place. The original tag line on the instructor shirt of "Turning Struggles into Skills" really resonated with me but I felt it wasn't the whole picture and I added "Turning Struggles into Life Skills" because it was doing much more than changing my swimming. I have gotten the same feeling from my clients who have corresponded with me since clinics or lessons. TI truly does build life skills for everyone regardless of gender, age, socio-economic status, or political persuasion through the critical thinking process that we make the swimmers go through as they progress. I can't count the number of students at the end of Day 1 of the weekend workshop that are complaining about how much their head hurts from all the "stuff" they need to keep thinking about that they never began, thought about or wanted to think about before. So even before we start adding stroke counting, strokes per length, using the tempo trainer and structuring practices to improve their swimming we have already indoctrinated them to "mindful swimming."

Just some additional food for thought.

Todd

terry 12-28-2011 11:46 PM

I'm grateful for the free and frank exchange of views by all. Rest assured that the language I use for first-time site visitors will be different than what I use here. I know I can use 'shorthand' here because we think alike.

In the What Is TI section, I'll use language that - for me - represents the Body-Mind-Spirit triad that defines 'holistic.'
But for instance, rather than use the term "Spirit" on that page, I'll write things like:
"Swim with the expectation of improving."
"Swim with confidence in the choices you make."
Etc.

I'll also describe the health component in concrete terms that should resonate strongly with almost anyone.
E.G. While saying that 'everyone knows swimming is a heart-healthy, low-impact, all-around body toner' I'll add that the particular style and approach TI teaches maximizes the 'anti-aging' or 'healthful aging' aspects -- and will include a link to an article that gives research-supported details why.

Patricia 12-29-2011 04:51 AM

Pat TI Coach Melbourne
 
Total Immersion: Graceful Swimming that Changes Your Life

The gracefulness of TI swimming resonates with me but I would not like to see it as part of the TI tag or mission statement. On many occasions when talking TI swimming someone will say, oh that is the pretty one, slow but looks good. Graceful has the same connotation.

A simple tag line will recieve more publicity than the mission statement. I for one would prefer the tag line without the addition of the word graceful. Swimming that changes your life has greater application.

terry 12-29-2011 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Patricia (Post 24907)
Swimming that changes your life has greater application.

Thanks for your thoughts. No worries there. Having finally - after 20 yrs - settled on Swimming That Changes Your Life, I'm not thinking of changing it.

johnny.widen 12-29-2011 10:22 AM

Mission statement explained
 
When I worked for a company some 20 years ago, we worked on a mission statement. It was supposed to be short, vigorous and easy to remember. Together with the mission we had an explanation, a rationale, that described each part of it. The idea was that each employee should be able to say the easily remebered mission statement as a lift pitch and also to understand and agree with the meaning of it.

As you wrote, Terry, this can be taken care of in the What is TI section, and I think it could be a good idea to explicitly address each part of the mission statement there.

johnny.widen 12-29-2011 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24909)
Thanks for your thoughts. No worries there. Having finally - after 20 yrs - settled on Swimming That Changes Your Life, I'm not thinking of changing it.

Hmmm, you wrote this while I was writing the previous post... ;-)

... Swimming That Changes Your Life is good and with an accompanying explanation in What is IT it will be perfect.

johnny.widen 12-29-2011 10:53 AM

Initially looking for technique to swim faster
 
I just want to second what other people have said in this thread about how they initially found TI.

As I tell in the My Total Immersion Story, it was Shinji's swim clip together with Terry's motivations in his talk about Total Immersion Perpetual Motion Freestyle, that first attracted me to TI. I actually saw that clip about a year earlier, but it wasn't until I found it again and also found the clip with Terry's motivations I got caught.

What I was looking for was an explanation why some people seem to swim so much faster than others, to be able to adopt that myself. It was Shinji's effective stroke that drew my attention, but without any explanation of it, he was just another swimmer in the row with an effective stroke. Well, actually his splash-free swimming also stuck out. But, just watching the video wasn't enough to understand why he travelled so far on each stroke.

What I am trying to say is, that I, as others in this thread have stated, I was looking for a way to swim faster, and with that accompanying motivation with Shinji's swim clip I would have start my TI journey a year earlier. Other aspects of swimming but speed has come to me later and today I am very thankful to have got a completely new dimension of swimming, that has changed my life.

johnny.widen 12-29-2011 11:07 AM

The 'anti-aging' paper
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24901)
I'll also describe the health component in concrete terms that should resonate strongly with almost anyone.
E.G. While saying that 'everyone knows swimming is a heart-healthy, low-impact, all-around body toner' I'll add that the particular style and approach TI teaches maximizes the 'anti-aging' or 'healthful aging' aspects -- and will include a link to an article that gives research-supported details why.

Terry, even if the word health didn't got its place in the mission statement, I suppose that you will touch that in other places on the new website.

I remember that when you told us that you were writing a new book, you showed a passage where you wrote something like 'TI gives you longer life'. I reacted negative to that since you didn't give any references that supported your statement. My intention was to mention that the, but I forgot about it. When you now say the same thing and say that you have scientific support for it, I feel relief, since statements like that needs to be backed up, else they are considered only as advertising mumbo jumbo.

I am curious about that article, so could you please provide us with the link?

Mike from NS 12-29-2011 12:38 PM

In Agreement
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Patricia (Post 24907)
Total Immersion: Graceful Swimming that Changes Your Life

The gracefulness of TI swimming resonates with me but I would not like to see it as part of the TI tag or mission statement. On many occasions when talking TI swimming someone will say, oh that is the pretty one, slow but looks good. Graceful has the same connotation.

A simple tag line will recieve more publicity than the mission statement. I for one would prefer the tag line without the addition of the word graceful. Swimming that changes your life has greater application.

I agree with Patricia. As much as we might strive to be graceful I think I'd rather like to be able to "claim" having style or maybe even focused style. TI has certainly changed my life - in that I always look forward to swimming opportunities now .... and another chance at getting better - hopefully! The title "Freestyle made Easy" really caught my attention in the beginning ... the "easy" had me hooked instantaneously.

andyinnorway 12-29-2011 09:31 PM

I haven't read every post in this thread as have been traveling a few days and not online so apologies if I am repeating anything discussed.

I think TI is much more than a swimming technique, swimming is just the current chosen vehicle.

I could just as easily apply my understanding of TI to learning Tennis, the trumpet or a career in management.

What is the TI template.

1 Take a technical skill and deconstruct it into smaller parts to allow for self coaching.

Successful Self coaching relies on full comprehension of the smaller parts together with an opportunity for self evaluation.

2. Adopt a kaizen based daily practice based on mindful focus.

3. Make iterative changes during a process of continuous self evaluation.

4. Provide an enthusiastic support network to encourage group learning and or professionally trained coaches for people requiring a short cut to success.


TI is a vastly superior version of the ...for dummies series and the fact that it has not been expanded to titles other than swimming astounds me.

CoachSuzanne 12-30-2011 03:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andyinnorway (Post 24932)

TI is a vastly superior version of the ...for dummies series and the fact that it has not been expanded to titles other than swimming astounds me.

With the risk that we end up with a "ti running" version of "POSE Swimming"? >Shudder<

Actually, I am actively taking what I've learned about running technique from guru Bobby McGee and applying some of Terry's ideas with TI swimmign...balance, streamline & propulsion. The running version takes a slightly different tack, but is equally minimalist in its overview. I actually did this with Terry's "coaching" after I tried unsuccessfully to explain what I had learned from Bobby McGee. Terry asked if I could distill it into 3 things. When I did, I suddenly saw the parallels to balance/streamline/propulsion. I'll share in a blog when I flesh it out a little bit more.

CoachBobM 12-30-2011 08:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terry (Post 24855)
We believe swimming is the healthiest and most satisfying of all physical activities. Our mission is to help people of all ages and abilities achieve their swimming goals--and experience greater health and happiness--through intelligent, effective, and enjoyable practice.

I like this, for several reasons:

1) It emphasizes that TI is for everyone from novice swimmers to elite swimmers.

2) It emphasizes that TI aims to help people improve their health by pursuing a lifetime program of physical exercise through swimming.

3) It recognizes that people who come to TI have specific goals they are trying to achieve, and that those goals are not the same for everyone.

4) It recognizes that people who pursue swimming for any reason want it to be enjoyable.

5) It indicates that TI has a plan for achieving its objectives.


Bob


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