water and team leadership

For years, I used to joke with my teams about a fantastic idea I had for a product…

Dehydrated Water! 

If only I could find an innovative way to package and market it, I suggested with a smirk, it was sure to become the next pet rock – and we could be swimming in pools of cash once our infomercial aired…

Of course, like many ideas I and others have had, it was laid to rest as an idea only, and never had life breathed into it by my sincere initiative, belief, or determination.

Still, the idea of dehydrated water is one that has stayed with me for a couple of reasons.

First, it serves as a reminder that without taking action, all ideas are worthless and ultimately remain unprofitable.  Your people have all had ideas – probably interesting and useful ones.

The problem is that, without the trust that is inspired by developing a culture of collaboration, the ideas are never harvested.  Their lack of initiative to offer suggestions is usually the result of a lack of individual buy-in, or investment, in the organizations goals – and ultimately that is a reflection of the workplace environment that your leadership has created.

Either you have created a culture where teamwork and trust are valued and rewarded, or you neglect them and eventually find yourself wondering why there is a problem with communication or productivity at your workplace.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, though, it is a powerful reminder that most of what we want as resources are unnecessary.  What you want your team to accomplish is almost always possible with the people and gear that you already have on hand– the problem is usually an ineffective use of people and their talents, or an inability to get them to communicate well and work together toward a shared vision.

All too often people look past the need to improve team dynamics

They search instead for a mythical magic bullet – a secret product or short-cut that marketers so often offer us to help lose extra weight, or build great abs, or make more money.  The truth is that, like dehydrated water – we just don’t really need it.

People didn’t need a thigh-master to get in shape – but they spent over $100 million on the illusion of hope that it offered. 

Only later did they realize that you can’t purchase success from an infomercial.

The beauty of the dehydrated water example is that it reminds us: what we want to create or build is already possible with the resources we have available.

What is difficult is actually doing the work.  As so many leaders have found when working to improve the relationships and cohesiveness in their organizations,“The soft stuff is REALLY the hard stuff.”

Sometimes we spend so much effort looking for a shortcut that we refuse to realize the surest way to succeed is to invest time in growing our people and creating a culture where the resources we have can be utilized to provide the result we desire.

Unfortunately, people are all far too willing to accept advertisers tempting notions that some shiny new product is exactly what is needed.  But the truth is that you don’t need that new “idgetr”.  You can achieve the same, if not better, results without waiting on someone else’s expensive and unnecessary product.

You don’t need the packaged dehydrated water to enjoy a glass of water – it is only a marketing ploy to convince you that what you need isn’t already right in front of us.

The lesson of the dehydrated water is that you have who and what you need to be successful RIGHT NOW.  All you may lack is the soft skills and initiativeto inspire the people in your organization to work more effectively with the tools and teammates they already have available.

The truth is that there are no shortcuts or magic pills to accomplish anything worthwhile

If you want water, don’t fall for and purchase the pre-packaged dehydrated stuff.  Instead, consider scheduling a fun day of team building for teachers or customized team training workshop to remind your people of the creativity, talent, and leadership skills they already possess!