“The Way” to Build Team Trust

(Thanks to Dave Blum for sharing this guest article)   A few days back I watched a fascinating movie, called The Way.  Have you seen it?   One of my go-to online resources, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), describes the film’s plot as follows:  “A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the “El Camino de Santiago,” and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.” Although the description makes the story sound dry and depressing, the movie is anything but.  Taken as a travel log alone, The Way is a wonderfully entertaining story.  While walking the 400-mile path to Spain’s famous pilgrimage center, Santiago de Compostela, the grieving father, Tom (Martin Sheen) encounters all manner of lovely scenery and awe-inspiring, historical, Iberian locales.  What interested me most about the movie, however, is not the just the father’s physical odyssey but his emotional journey as well.   At the beginning of his trek, Tom is self-contained in his bereavement, determined to scatter his son’s ashes along the trail while shunning as much contact with his fellow pilgrims as possible.  Nevertheless, as all travelers know, it’s mightily difficult to avoid all human contact when on the road.    By hook or by crook, Tom picks up a coterie of colorful companions along the way, including: Yoost:  A Dutchman with hopes of losing weight  Jack:  An Irish journalist endeavoring to overcome writer’s block Sarah:  A Canadian woman trying to quit smoking Like Tom, each traveler possesses a “professed” goal and a deeper, inner hurt motivating his/her actions.  Yoost, for example, binges on food and drugs as a way...

A Team Performance Chart to Improve Your Organization

If you are looking for a team performance chart to identify where your people are in terms of productivity or cohesiveness, the one below could truly help improve your organization. Team productivity is a measure of how successful your people are in terms of project completion or work efficiency.  Team cohesiveness is a measure of how well your people interact with each other and collaborate to accomplish team goals.  But not every team that displays productivity enjoys cohesiveness, just as not every team that enjoys cohesiveness displays productivity.   This team performance chart shows the four types of teams: The first and perhaps most disappointing team type you may have seen or been a part of is the team who displays poor productivity and lacks cohesiveness. These teams are identified as “Dysfunctional,” and they are often toxic mix of poor results and negative attitudes.   The second type of team we’ll discuss is one that may meet expectations or successfully complete a project, but has done so without much group interaction. These “High Stress” groups are not really teams at all, as they do not usually take advantage of other’s skills or insights, and are driven by pride or ego to do it their way.  This requires much more time and energy, though, and often becomes an environment of petty turf wars and personal conflicts.   The third type of team on the team performance chart can be frustrating to managers because they get along well and seem to be collaborating and sharing, but those collegial interactions simply fail to produce acceptable results. This group has built strong relationships, but...

Does Your Conference Need a Networking Facilitator?

So, now you are asking yourself… what the heck is a networking facilitator? I would have asked the same question 10 years ago. But modern conference goals and a good bit of research suggest that one of the most impactful parts of your conference may be the choice to add a networking facilitator to your schedule.   Quality speakers and relevant breakout sessions are important – they provide the valuable information and inspiration you want attendees to take away from the event… But, increasingly, conference attendees are showing up more for the hallways connections and conversations than the opening or closing keynote!   As a meeting planner, are you intentionally building things into your schedule that help your attendees to build and develop the relationships that will become a foundation for profitable collaboration after they leave the conference? As a meeting organizer, there are many ways you can help to encourage useful connections. – One idea is to pair up first-time attendees with more experienced community members, and to create a mentor / mentee relationship that offers an immediate relationship.  – Another possibility is to ask a few questions as part of the registration process, and then print a couple of interesting personal facts on the nametags that are provided.  Nametags should emphasize first names, hometowns, and business affiliation… but can also include information about the attendees’ favorite candy, or movie, or television show.  These are natural conversation starters, and offer a simple and fun opportunity for connection during your event. – The people at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting have suggested that another way to encourage networking is by posting a...

The 12 Best Books for Coaches and Great Teammates

Coaches and great teammates both read books, because they know that readers are leaders. When I was a coach, I was a voracious reader. I was constantly seeking new titles that would help me to grow – whether it was from a leader in a different sport or even from a leader in a different industry. And when I found a good one, I liked to share it with coaches and athletes that I knew were working hard to be great teammates.  That is what led me to creating this list for you… Great Teammates and Coaches are Readers    But what does reading have to do with teambuilding? In locker rooms, in board rooms, and in classrooms, great teammates and leaders know that to grow and develop others you must first focus on growing and developing yourself! Over the years, when I would share books and give away copies of the best books that I had read to coaches and great teammates, it seemed that there were a few that I always kept returning to as the most impactful and instructive. So, for all of the great teammates and coaches who are seeking a list of the best books to add to their reading list or to share with others and study over the course of your next season, I have put together my list. The list is not exhaustive, but the titles below are the ones I have recommended and given as gifts over the years more often than others.   The 12 Best Books for Coaches and Great Teammates   Toughness: Developing True Strength On and Off...

What Invisible Dragons are Your Teammates Fighting?

Every one of your teammates is fighting an invisible dragon. As a coach, it took me longer than I would like to admit to develop an awareness of the personal battles that each one of my players were struggling with once they left the court. Player strengths and personality types were not all I needed to know about. It was important for me to understand that not all players come from or go home to a great situation.  That insight was the result of a young man that played varsity basketball for me years ago… he was perpetually late for morning and weekend practices.  When I asked why he was late, he would shrug his shoulders or just say “sorry, coach.” My emphasis on discipline and team rules made him stay after for extra “conditioning” – and my frustration with his tardiness kept me from applauding or encouraging him as often as I probably should have. It was only later in our season that I learned more about his home situation.  He was living with his grandmother, and dealing with a couple of other personal issues that many adults would struggle with, and yet maintaining strong grades and trying to be a good teammate.   Sometimes, our greatest regrets are for kindnesses not done.     In my book, The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates, one of the commandments that I was guilty of not living by was to Be Aware of and Encourage Others. Since that experience, I have wondered how many other players and colleagues I have neglected to thank or encourage in the past that were battling unknown...

Join Me for a #LeadWithGiants Tweet Chat Monday, August 22nd!

I am honored to be co-hosting an upcoming Tweet Chat with Dan Forbes, steward of the Lead With Giants community and blog. The #LeadWithGiants Tweet Chat happens every Monday at 7:00 pm Eastern time. If you haven’t ever participated in a Tweet Chat before, here is a great introduction to tweetchats that you might find helpful.   The Tweet Chat I am co-hosting will focus on a topic that you can read about in my most recent book – Becoming a Winning Teammate. (The 10 Commandments of Winning Teammates book is available now)   Here’s a list of the questions you might see: Q1 How would you define a “Winning Teammate”? #LeadWithGiants Q2 How is the term “teammate” overused at times? #LeadWithGiants Q3 How does being a good teammate affect others on your team? #LeadWithGiants Q4 How could you have been a better teammate in the past? #LeadWithGiants Q5 What are the 3 most important traits of a winning teammate? #LeadWithGiants Q6 What make someone change from a bad teammate to a good one? #LeadWithGiants Q7 How do you know when others see you as a winning teammate? #LeadWithGiants Q8 Should leaders see themselves as teammates? #LeadWithGiants Q9 If wearing a uniform doesn’t make you a teammate, what does? #LeadWithGiants Q10 What action can you take to be a better teammate tomorrow? #LeadWithGiants   To participate in the chat, all you need to do is tweet during the designated time using the #LeadWithGiants hashtag – and you can follow the conversation using tweetdeck or by searching for the #LeadWithGiants hashtag as well…   It is a terrific opportunity to connect with...