Category - Team-development-2

26.10 20140

Environmentally Conscious Relationships

There is a lot of focus now on being green… being environmentally conscious. What does that really mean? It means making conscious decisions about how to treat your environment and choosing options that are not only good for the moment but are also good for the future. It means being sustainable. Not taking more than you are giving. This sort of awareness of how we treat our environment should also extend to what kind of environment that we create in our emotional world.  We should learn to have environmentally conscious relationships. Have you ever been in a toxic relationship? Basically you become a dumping ground for the other person’s toxic materials. How does this happen? It usually starts in a small way… you tolerate a little bad behavior, and then before you know it, you are a dump for the mother load of stinking, rotten, bad behavior. The toxic person is only concerned about themselves and their needs. You feel hurt, taken advantage of and angry. Sure, your life is colorful, but instead of thinking green all you can do is see red, and the angry red takes over. Passive aggressive behavior is the breeding ground for toxic relationships. Direct communication is the only cure. You have to open a dialogue to a possible resolution. If the toxic person is not open to the conversation, then you will know where you stand in the relationship and make future positive plans to move on. I coach teams to become green and rid themselves of toxic waste through a direct communication exercise conducted frequently called retrospective. Feelings are often a topic of retrospectives, and thus many teams want to avoid them and say that they are not a best use of time. You can always tell teams that practice retrospectives from the ones that do not. Some measures of the level of toxicity will be demeanor of the people, productivity, and turnover. There are some symptoms that you will feel if you are on a toxic team; the same ones you experience in a toxic personal relationship. If toxicity is high, it will seem like you cannot do anything right. Everything will always be about others and never about you. You may find yourself unable to enjoy good moments with the team or uncomfortable being yourself around team members. You will feel stifled and not allowed to grow and change. How do you manage a toxic team or individual relationship? There are some generally accepted guidelines for managing a negative situation. First, you have to step out of denial and acknowledge that the situation is detrimental to your well-being and that the situation is holding you back from achieving your potential. You have to identify how you feel in the present and what the perks are, if any, of maintaining the relationship. You can soothe yourself by finding alternative sources of positivity outside the team or relationship… filling the hole that is missing. Being surrounded with people focusing on the art of the possible will allow you to work toward healing until you are at a point that you can let go and move on if necessary. Hopefully, your team or relationship can be salvaged before this point. Good retrospectives are a great place to start. It is important to remember that what we say and do is never as important as how we make people feel. This quote from Maya Angelou is a pearl of wisdom, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said; people will forget what you did; but people will never forget how you make them feel.” Change the color of your relationships… move from red to green. Make conscious choices about how to treat the people around you. Choose actions that are not only good for the moment but also good for the future. Have sustainable relationships… don’t take more than you give. As Kermit the Frog says “It’s not eazee being green,” but it is well worth the effort. The benefits are long-lasting; they echo into the future.

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21.06 20140

Recoil

A shot rings out piercing the air space around it. A bullet speeds towards its intended target. Once released nothing can return it to its previous state of rest. It is traveling on a path of destruction to its intended target or whatever steps in the path between. Does the shooter just walk away oblivious to the moment of impact and its aftermath? No...there is recoil. Recoil is the backward momentum of a firearm once it is discharged. The force of the act that has just been perpetrated travels back through the body of the shooter to the ground and moves the shooter backward in space, but there is no movement back in time because once fired the bullet can never be returned to its previous state of rest. The amount of recoil felt by the shooter is dependent on the mass of the gun. The amount of energy transferred to the shooter depends upon counter recoil forces applied. A gun with free recoil will move the shooter in an angular pattern thus impacting the firing of the gun and the path to the intended target, creating greater inaccuracies and more stray bullets hitting innocent bystanders. I have heard people comment to others "Don't shoot off your mouth." Given the context above this has a good deal of meaning. Anger creates in people a free recoil situation. When a person begins to angrily fire at his or her intended target whether by words or deeds, the angry party has so little aim that innocent bystanders are often wounded. Destructive words and acts move us backward in space, not forward. Recently I heard a speaker talk about the difference between responding and reacting. Our goal should be to learn to respond instead of to react. Let's keep our focus on what we are for, not what we are against. When we focus our energy on what we are against, we create free recoil situations where we create destruction around us and cause stray bullets to harm innocent bystanders. The next time you face opposition think about how you can respond in the positive with what you are for instead of reacting in anger to what you are against. The positive moves us forward and the negative moves us backward. Give great pause before you create war zones in your professional or personal life. Create positive environments that move ideas and people forward and limit the amount of recoil you experience from your own reactions.

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27.10 20130

Definition of a Person

How do you define yourself as a person?  Are you constantly striving for a big accomplishment so that you can feel successful?  In life, we want to win big, but winning big really means winning small on a daily basis.  The big win feels great, but it is a fleeting moment and often it is not what we imagined.  Our lives and sense of satisfaction are built upon how we reach the big win...our path.   It is the journey, not the destination that provides the challenge and the motivation to continue and to realize fulfillment in our lives.

I was visiting a colleague the other day, following up with him because I saw him earlier that day, and he had not looked his normal cheerful self.  I asked him what was the problem, and he told me that a big project that he had been working on had ended.  I asked about the outcome, and he said that it was a good one.  I then asked why he was bothered if the project had a good outcome.  He told me that he had worked on this project for two years closely with a particular group of people and that he was going to miss the team. For two years, there was a buildup to this moment, but the real value had been in the work he had done with the people.  He had not really realized  the value of the teamwork until the project was over.

I know another person that has been at a place in his life where he has found himself embattled, struggling with someone else to win a certain objective.  After spending a great deal of time attempting to ensure that he wins the objective, he has realized that the end gain is not worth the amount of life and relationships that he has spent trying to achieve it.  Although he might win the objective, he has lost the most important things along the way in trying to achieve what he thought he wanted.

True satisfaction must come from being  present to the people and situations in our lives at the moment.  We should not live for the big win...we must always strive to be the kind of people who are winning what matters on a daily basis.  When we arrive at the big win, we can be nonchalant because one big moment does not define our success as a person.

As an agile coach, I work with teams to promote the concepts of building shared experience through teamwork and striving for continuous improvement.  After all, it is the journey and the companionship for the journey that are most fulfilling.  When we do summit, the experience has  more meaning when it is shared, and when we know that we are prepared to quickly reset our sights for a new horizon.

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17.04 20130

What Goes Around

Growing up my brother used to have a saying when he was angry at someone’s actions.  He would say, “What goes around, comes around.”  What does that really mean?  In the programming world it means, “the status eventually returns to its original value after completing some sort of cycle.”  In the language of people, rather than computers, it means that we live the consequences of our actions, whether good or bad. Dale Carnegie offered very pertinent advice for learning how to treat people in his famous book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  Carnegie stated that the fundamental techniques in handling people are:  1.  Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.  2.  Give honest and sincere appreciation.  3.  Arouse in the other person an eager want. To create a world-class organization, the first step in “organizational creation 101” is to hire and retain the best people.  The only way to attract and keep the best people is to treat them right… to be respectful of their contributions and their humanity.  When we treat our people right, then they treat our customers right.  When the customers are treated right, our business grows and so does our ability to profit. What we send out in the world comes back to us in kind.  How we treat our teammates and coworkers will boomerang back to us in the end.    When we create an environment that values the contributions of individuals and respects their humanity, we create an environment that flourishes.  When we create an environment that is abusive and disrespectful of its contributors, we reap negative results.  In order to prosper, we must hire and retain the right people by being respectful of them and their contributions. Another saying that I find true is, “people leave leaders, not organizations.”  It is important to be the kind of leader that retains the organization’s most valuable asset—its people.  People only will stay in an environment and make amazing contributions to a company where respect is common place.      

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