Lent began last Wednesday. I still vividly remember my most unique Lenten memory when I was 17 years old. Our high school youth group accepted a challenge put forth by our pastor, Father Ashwell. He said, “Instead of giving up something this year, let’s try doing something as a group.” He handed all of us (about 30 teenagers) an actual thorn with a pin and challenged us to wear the pin for the entire 40 days of Lent as a sign of of our faith. The thorn signified the crown of thorns.
We all started out with a full thorn – some were larger and more prickly than others. We’d all show up at our public school with a thorn attached to our clothes, which forced us to explain this oddity. While that was part of the process, the more significant one started next. All of us at some point forgot our thorn at home, showing up to school thorn-less. Quickly one of us would help that person out by breaking off a piece of our thorn and giving it to them. As the forty days processes, all of our thorns continued to get smaller, but we all stayed the course. By Good Friday, our thorns all resembled a tiny stick. It actually became s trong bonding experience and we had fun with it.
The moral of this story was that we performed and executed as a cohesive team; we were selfless, willing to share, and putting aside any teenage drama, conflicts, and personality differences for the good of the team. And, we enjoyed it…
How cool would that be for a company to run with such genuineness and collaboration?
If you’re in a position of ownership and/or leadership, what would that level of teamwork mean to your company? If you’re an employee, how much more fun would you have at work? How much more would your family, friendships and affiliations be benefit from such unselfishness?
Most companies and organizations have a vision of providing “unleashed” service or products to benefit and improve the lives of others. Employees most generally want to help accomplish this. True leadership inspires and motivates a culture of playing together as described in my book, Unleashed Leadership. In the end, it almost always starts with one person; maybe that’s you.
Whether we want to turn thorns into roses or businesses into thriving enterprises, it all starts by fostering a culture of “we.”
Pass the thorn, please…
Do you or your company need a better process for turning thorns into roses for your company or organization? Check out my Unleashed® Balance Sheets below. They are free to download and send to me for a no obligation perspective.
Quote of the Week:
“I am a part of all that I’ve met….”
~ Excerpt from Ulysses by Lord Tennyson
© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
This week’s focus point…Building Puzzles.
This past weekend, Barb and I traveled to visit her parents, which required a trip across the ferry. Normally, I sit and read and relax on ferries, but on the weekends, I use it to get a little exercise in. The ferry is a 30-minute crossing and based on my Fitbit calculations, about 2500 steps. I opted to get some steps in!
As I walked around my first lap, I noticed a half-finished puzzle on one of the tables. This is quite usual. It’s there for any passenger to share in the building of a 1000 piece puzzle. By the time I made my first full lap, a gentleman was sitting there working on it. For those that partake, it’s a shared experience among people that don’t even know each other, for the purposes of one mission. To complete the puzzle. It’s an exercise in working towards a greater good.
What would your workplace and company be like if people that DID know each other worked in a similar fashion? Instead of arguments, agendas, and drama over projects and shared objectives, they could work like the puzzle-makers to find solutions, make decisions, and solve puzzles quickly for the benefit of all. As a leader, you create the environment to do this. How you influence people will have a direct correlation on their desire to build puzzles collaboratively or tear them apart before it even gets going. How will you foster puzzle building in your teams this week?
This week’s quote –
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime. “
I’ve been fortunate enough to be in many team pictures throughout my life, most notably as part of sports teams in school and as a coach afterwards. I’ve also posed along co-workers in the past for “team pictures” as part of marketing and branding efforts. My current team picture is now visible to your right. I am lucky Captain Jack has allowed me in…
What about you? Do you belong in your “team picture?” While you may be working at a job, are you maximizing your skills and talents for the betterment of your company and your customers? Are you making good decisions with your time or squandering it at the expense of your employer? Are you viewed as a rock star or just a “roadie” by your team?
Now it gets hard. How about you employers and executives? You may be the boss, but do you belong in your own team photo? Are you providing a healthy and rewarding place of employment for your team? Do offer guidance or cause grief? Is your team happier when you are in the office or out of the office? Have you lost touch touch, or do you have the pulse of your organization?
Okay…one more. For those of you with families – are you giving your best effort to them by being in the moment; carving out both quantity and quality of time; and bringing joy with your presence?
Hey, we are all part of a team somewhere. Do you deserve a spot in your team picture?
This week’s quote –
There are problems, then there are solutions. I know that’s really “deep,” but bear with me. Problems, crises, and challenges are inevitable in business, in life, and most notably in team dynamics. There are many consultants and experts out there talking about team building, motivation, performance, and communications. There is a really good reason for that. People and organizations are still challenged with it. The “problem” is that it keeps many a business owner, manager, executive, and parent up at night trying to figure out the solutions. The first thing that should be determined is to avoid being part of the problem!
I’ve been involved in politics (school board), non-profits (Rotary), business (both as employee and consultant), and sports (coaching). My wife thinks I’m some sort of a demented crisis seeker, and she might be right. I’ve seen problems coming a mile away and I’ve also seen them sneak up on you. People deal with conflict differently. Some are wired for it, and some just aren’t capable of managing it well. What we are all able to do is be a part of the solution to overcoming issues, rather than being the gasoline that’s poured on the fire. Here are my 7 Signs That You’re Part of the Problem for you to do a little self-assessment. If you don’t resemble any of the signs, keep up the good work and be on guard for those that do. If you see yourself in some of these, then make changes. To be candid, we all can slip into these areas at times. The key is to recognize, be in the moment, be humble, and be nimble enough to slide right back out.
(Note ~ These apply to everyone ~ leaders, managers, employees, coaches, parents, young adults, and community citizens. We are all capable of being a problem child.)
1. You are a perfectionist. Perfectionists tend to micro-manage, over think, and dwell on the negative. Life is about success, not perfection. The people who claim that “practice makes perfect” are misinformed. If you’re “practicing” the wrong thing, it just makes you worse faster. Stop trying to be perfect and focus on improvement.
2. You have an agenda. If you have a dog in the hunt, then you often are too biased and can tend to focus on your outcomes, rather than the good for all. You may have to recuse yourself, or find a way to become more objective. The problem is you, not everyone else.
3. You seek power. Maybe the ultimate problem creator of all time. We see this run rampant in politics and organizations. Climbing the corporate ladder, seeking out leadership roles in associations and unions, and moving up the government chain of command are just a few examples. Whether you’re goal is CEO or Governor, you’d better be doing it to serve others or the power bug will grab you and not let go.
4. You talk to be heard, not to influence. This is the proverbial “squeaky wheel.” I’ve run into many people that feel being negative, being annoying, and being loud equals influence. Actually, it’s really more of a power play. Being contrarian is fine; being obnoxious isn’t. If people are rolling their eyes when you get up to speak, then you might get the signal that you aren’t being successful in solution finding.
5. The Chicken Little Syndrome. Negativity is a burden to everyone. I’m convinced there are people out there who thrive in creating a countenance of gloom, regardless of the situation. This is the classic victim mentality. It’s always someone else’s fault; someone else’s responsibility. People are influenced more by those that are positive, upbeat, happy, and seeking solutions. If you’re in any type of leadership position, the latter position is where you need to live.
6. It’s not me, it’s you. If you find yourself offering unsolicited advice on trying to “improve” someone, that’s a sign. If you resort to passive-aggressive behavior and language, imply incompetence, use bad language, call people names, or exhibit a “holier than thou” image with peers, then that’s a sign. When working with a team for a common goal, there is no room for bullies.
7. You publicly embarrass people. When I coached basketball, I could get pretty upset in practice and call players out when they weren’t working hard or hurting the team with their actions. I would never publicly embarrass them during a game, though. Calling out someone in public is never appropriate. If you find yourself doing that, take a good hard look at your motives. People who resort to labeling and name-calling in public usually have an ulterior motive. And, it generally says more about them, rather than the person they are calling out.
Make no mistake, I am all for being contrarian, holding people accountable, and asking hard questions. These can all be done professionally and with the greater good in mind. When it’s not done in that way, then you are the problem. When it’s done in a manner to improve the condition of someone else (organization, business, clients, employees, members, etc), then you’re part of the solution.
Bottom line ~ You are either going to use your talent and skill for good (solution) or bad (problem). The common denominators for the problem side are negativity, power, control, and selfishness. The common denominators for the solution side are positive attitude, collaboration, responsibility, and accountability. Which side do you fall on?
Important Note ~ Do you own self-assessment as you wish. You also need to assess the people you employ, work with (including clients), collaborate with, and hang around. If they are the problems that can’t be rehabilitated or trained, dump the baggage. That light at the end of the tunnel may just be a truck coming your way. You have a responsibility to surround yourself with people that will make you better, not become a burden. Life is too short.
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Topic is on Team Building and how your “stars” create great teams. Perfect for CEOs, solo practitioners, sales manager, and executives. And you!
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
One of my teammates on that team and again in high school was a guy named Mark. Mark is the best high school basketball player I’ve ever seen, and through the years I’ve watched a ton of high school basketball. Mark had a nice college career and although he never made the NBA, his skill and abilities in high school were unmatched. He was easily the best player on our team, and the guy who was able to carry us when we needed it. Within all the comments on Facebook, myself and several others made this case. Mark is still a friend and he quickly posted back… “Also Dan, it took all 14 of us to go undefeated.”
When the star of the team makes the statement that it’s about the team, that solidifies a culture. Athletic teams all know who the best players are. The pivot point is if the best players are the hardest workers, the most generous, and put the good of the team above their own best interests. Mark did that, and that’s one of the reasons we went undefeated.
In your company, are the “stars” divas or do they make the other people around them better? If you’re the star/rainmaker/rock star, do you improve the condition of your fellow employees, your company, and your clients? Would your colleagues agree with you?
Life is a team game. We all have different skills, strengths, and roles. The companies that are primed to go “undefeated” have stars that are willing to be part of the team, rather than stars that are about their own glory.
Is your “team” (business, family, community) ready to play?
© 2014 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Last Tuesday, I had the honor of sitting next to Jim Lefebvre as I was Master of Ceremonies for the 13-year old Babe Ruth World Series. Jim was the manager of the Seattle Mariners about 25 years ago. Today, he is a tremendous ambassador for the game of baseball. I enthusiastically listened to his stories for an hour. The one constant he had, and was highlighted in his keynote address, was the importance of being a teammate. Baseball is a team game – you are called on to sacrifice bunt, move runners over by making an out, swinging on a hit and run, and a myriad of other things. He stressed that a successful team was one made up of great teammates.
The same is true in business and life. Who are your teammates? In business, it’s your employees, your clients, your vendors, your board of directors, your investors, and your community. In life, it’s your family, your friends, your community service groups, and your community. Being good teammates often means sacrificing for them, too. It means letting others be the stars sometimes, It also means taking leadership roles when you’re called to, or when you are the obvious choice. It takes courage.
Final thought. When I coached high school basketball, I only had one simple rule for my players. Don’t let your teammates down. It encompasses a lot of selfishness that can ruin a good team. How are your teammates doing? More importantly, are you a good teammate?
This week’s quote – “If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.”
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved