Valentines Day – Be my…Teammate?

Valentines Day – Be my…Teammate?

(Hey - heads up...I got a great feedback from a friend on this post.  To respect his need for privacy, I've added it below myself.  But, this is a fine example of how good friends air differences and still respect each other.) Today is Valentine’s Day, both a celebrated and loathed holiday. Ideally, it is a day to celebrate and recognize the close relationships you have in your life...which is fantastic. Some people think this day is basically a way for the greeting card, flower, chocolate and jewelry businesses to have a mid-winter boost in sales. I would like to offer a third option to see what we can learn from this cupid crazy custom to help us be better team leaders. How I've seen Valentines Day through the Years Here’s what I learned, and, admittedly, I learned it kicking and screaming. Ok – I’m a baby boomer. Yes, it's Paul here.  Back in the 60’s and 70’s, my mom would take us to the Woolworth's...
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Where is Super Bowl talent on your team?

Where is Super Bowl talent on your team?

Are you ready for the Super Bowl? I can tell you that living in the Pittsburgh area means Super Bowl Sunday celebrations. This is true even on the years that the Black&Gold faithful begrudgingly accept that Steelers are not playing (like this one).  It is a reason to come together in the grips of winter for a bit of companionship, chuckle at some ads, and hope to not get stuck in snow. As we scurry for game day munchies, all the Super Bowl commentary (and, there's enough to make our head spin!) gives us an opportunity for self-reflection about finding talent for our teams and developing that talent. How do we find the 'Tom Brady' on our team? I happened to read an article in the Wall Street Journal (though this was with the hype of the Bowl Championship Series, it applies at the NFL level too). The article showed how all the statistics and awards don't translate to success at the next...
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Avoiding a team ‘shutdown’

Avoiding a team ‘shutdown’

Is your team on the brink of a “shutdown?” As a patriotic American, I am personally saddened and embarrassed by the recent government shutdown. I wonder what our friends (and enemies) in other countries think when they see the world’s most powerful country brought to a standstill by a group of highly educated and popularly elected officials come to a divisive stalemate in concerns over where to put our funding. These are not war or peace decisions, these are not slavery or free decisions…these are actually fairly small decisions that end up being more theatrical than substantive. But the question that begs to be asked is... Do we find sadly similar situations on our own teams?  Do we as team leaders feel like we are ironing out a schoolyard argument that's escalated to name-calling brawl? How often is clinging to our own choices making it even hard to be a team leader or facilitate a dialogue? We have all heard of consensus, and...
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Thinking Like Deming- Not easy, but very worthwhile

Book Review: "My heartfelt wish is that you are inspired to carry the message and the meaning in these pages into your life and your leadership to help your business enterprise and other organizations in your field of influence to develop and become sustainable entities that thrive and evolve, making our communities—our society—strong, vibrant, and joyful. When we have mapped the four movements as one whole, then we can open our eyes and the eyes of others wider so that together we see the many different aspects of our lives as part of a larger context …" This is from Mr. Edward Martin Baker’s "Coda"  in what is perhaps the best single reference and explanation of Deming’s thoughts, ideas, and work that I have had the pleasure to read, The Symphony of Profound Knowledge, W. Edwards Deming's Score for Leading, Performing and Living in Concert . Yes, it’s a weighty, deeply referenced work yet still an enjoyable work, if even only for the continual...
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Give up smoking “busy” for the new year

Give up smoking “busy” for the new year

Stop smoking "Busy" Have you used the phrase: "I'm busy" lately? Have you used  "I'm just so busy," as an excuse to not be involved with something or for not having visited someone?  Have you described your workday as "busy"; your home life as "busy?" Then, I have a New Year's resolution idea for you. Yes, I know it's already January 5th, so I'm guessing that your other resolutions are already several days undone. About ten years ago, I resolved to stop using the word "busy."  I did it because I realized how much I didn't like when I heard someone tell me that they hadn't worked on my request to them because they were busy. I didn't like it because I realized that really meant they were working on other peoples' requests, just not mine. Why not just tell me that I was the bottom of their priority?  I also didn't like when someone told me they didn't visit or call because they were...
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Leaders vs. Bosses at the Office Christmas Party

Leaders vs. Bosses at the Office Christmas Party

In the last few weeks, many of you have had a unique opportunity to interact with your co-workers...the office Christmas party. Here, we get to celebrate the year, have fun together, enjoy the company with whom we spend most of our waking hours...our coworkers, and often meet their significant others. Since I have the blessing to often be the "fly on the wall" in offices, I have taken to paying attention to the talk before and after office Christmas parties.  My position as a contractor, brought in from outside the team to do this or that, gives me a unique vantage point.  There's always the usual talk about the venue, menu, attendance, and the fun of meeting spouses.  There's also the discussion of teammates that I call the "Jekyll & Hyde" conversations.  They sound like... “Can you believe how so and so let his hair down?” “I never knew she could actually smile!” “Wow, he’s like a really nice guy outside...
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Thanks Giving – Let’s make it a team habit

Thanks Giving – Let’s make it a team habit

It's the week of Thanksgiving and each of us here are preparing to host our friends and relatives. What a blessing! We at eNthusaProve hope that you are similarly happily preparing for a celebration of thanks. What does Thanksgiving have to do with leading teams? We'd like to recommend that you make Thanks Giving a habit for your teams.  Giving thanks, showing appreciation, will dramatically change team dynamics for the better. How to do this? Start each routine meeting (e.g. daily or weekly team or status meetings) with someone giving specific thanks to another team member for something that transpired in the previous 24 or 48 hours. This simple human interchange is very powerful. That act of gratitude releases brain chemicals that will actually make the meeting more productive. Status meetings that highlight what went wrong result in all sorts of brain reactions that trigger fight or flight or freeze; not exactly the recipe of creative or deep thinking. Don't just do this for...
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Teammates on the Bench? Contribute Value Despite Roadblocks

Teammates on the Bench? Contribute Value Despite Roadblocks

Great Ideas Going Stale While No One Implements Them? We’ve all been there. A great meeting of the minds with a flurry of ideas and possibilities ends with hopeful expectation of all that can be done to improve the team’s situation. Then months go by and nothing happens. You scratch your head. What happened? You had a problem to solve or project to pursue. You pulled together an awesome team. You got them connected to each other and through the Form & Storm. You developed amazing ideas or designs or plans or draft documents. You left the day with responsibilities assigned and confidence. … AND THEN IT STALLS!!! The team members gripe how this was, yet again, a flavor of the month…how nothing will ever change…how we can’t change… Leaders are tempted to scrap the team approach and dictate command and control style. Managers consider whether these projects are a good use of their people’s time and/or talent. How did we get here? When we are ready to contribute, we think...
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Teammates on the Bench? Team Building by CREATING value

Teammates on the Bench? Team Building by CREATING value

In the last post, I shared with you my time as a soccer team bench warmer.  What kept me on the bench wasn’t that different than what keeps your teammates (or yourself) on the bench of your project (i.e. not fully engaged with the work).  This can happen for a myriad of reasons.  Depending on your team role (team member, team leader, and manager), you likely see a different aspect of this, so we gave you role-specific insights into how to build connection to get others (or yourself) off the bench.   Now what?!?!  That’s what we are discussing here.  In building the connection to purpose and each other, you have to channel that energy towards something.  It’s a fluid back and forth dance between connection and creation that gets people engaged with the work.  That’s what we call the CREATE step.  We have people taking steps off the bench, but now they are wondering what to do.  Now it’s time...
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Leadership and Management Advice from the Forbes Essays

Leadership and Management Advice from the Forbes Essays

What if you could peer into 100 of the greatest business minds of our time?  What do you think they would tell you? I subscribe to Forbes magazine because I like to listen to folks I normally wouldn’t, and I normally don’t hang out with billionaires, so I read articles about them. It’s pretty cool to see what makes these billionaire business people tick. September marked the 100th anniversary of Forbes and in their special edition, they published essays from the 100 greatest business minds. I found myself fascinated by the topics and who said what, so I thought you might be too. I ended up doing a bit of analysis over the essays. There were 82 distinct topics; some were spoken to by more than one person. I transcribed notes from each of the 100 essays about a sentence or two that Forbes had highlighted as the essence of each essay. The surprising thing was what those great business minds did NOT talk...
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