Spring! The Organic Side of Team Building

Spring! The Organic Side of Team Building

Have you seen spring yet?  Here in central Pennsylvania we are seeing a very slow appearance of spring, with cold temperatures and April snow. May is bringing a glimmer of hope that spring is coming! This time of year brings to my mind that teams trying to bring new ideas to fruition have a lot in common with the little seedlings that we started in our greenhouse months ago.  We start with something that looks hard, lifeless, and seemingly too small to do anything.  To bring life to this seed, we: provide a warm (welcoming) environment. provide water…not a lot; a little at a time, consistently and gently. nurture them. We don’t immediately send them to the outdoors. notice when their little pot is constraining…so we add nutrients, maybe even transplant them to a bigger pot. give them sunshine while carefully making sure they don’t get dried out or wilted. Too much of a good thing is detrimental to this young...
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A Well-Rounded Teammate: Diversity Your Team Needs

A Well-Rounded Teammate: Diversity Your Team Needs

Were you taught to work on your weaknesses, hearing that the best teammates are well-rounded? We are told to expose children to lots of experiences, building a wide array of strengths because we want to both open our children to the broadest array of opportunities and help them become self-sufficient adults.  As employers, we look for improvement areas and weaknesses to strengthen, and find positions to help develop those skills. What if spending time trying to make yourself well-rounded was actually useless? It is easy to be lured in to be all things for all people, which is really what this “being well-rounded” advice is telling us.  One thing I am continually being brought back to reality on is that there is just not enough time to do it all.  Even if I want to learn all the things and experience everything, the truth is that there are always trade-offs.  I have to give up something to get something else.  Or I can...
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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator vs. StrengthsFinder: Complements or adversaries?

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator vs. StrengthsFinder: Complements or adversaries?

Do you get excited to look into your personality, your preferences, and communication style?  I have found most do, as I regularly see quizzes on Facebook claiming to tell you what Disney Princess you are, what Muppet character, or what color your aura is… Whether we’ve taken one on Facebook, at work with a team, or read books about it, you probably have some insight into your “style.”   So, is this just a journey of self-exploration or is it really useful in our teams? Paul & I have used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to help many teams improve their communication, both internal within a team and how the team communicates with stakeholders.  We’ve been Myers-Briggs Type Indicator qualified administrators for more than 10 years and have found great value in helping people see how they get data and make decisions. Recently, we are digging deeper into the StrengthsFinder.  It is a cool idea that we see as highly valuable to teams.  The basic...
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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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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? 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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Teammates on the Bench? Team BUILD with Connect, Create, Contribute

Teammates on the Bench? Team BUILD with Connect, Create, Contribute

I liked playing soccer and being part of the team. I didn’t mind being on the bench. The reality was I was relieved to be on the bench because the bench was safer than showing I wasn’t very good...risking personal or team embarrassment. The bench didn’t make me a better player, so naturally my skills didn’t increase. My fear had won the day. By my senior year, I left my shin guards and cleats behind. Safe from fear, but I was far from being a team player. Does your team (or do you?) have a ‘satisfied to sit the bench’ problem? Hey there Team Leaders! Is someone on your team looking like they are seeking the safety of playing the bench when you would rather have them contributing their talents to the team? What is happening to your team with a teammate bench-warming? I can tell you it affects the progress of the team more than you might know. How about you Managers?...
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Solving Volunteer Engagement…by Creating Value

Solving Volunteer Engagement…by Creating Value

Recently I coordinated a group of volunteers and at the last minute one of the volunteers I was relying on backed out! This left the team scrambling to find coverage. ARGH!! Do you work with volunteers on your team? Have you had this happen? In some ways every member of a project team is a volunteer (or volun-told), because the team is together for a short amount of time, then disbands back to their “day job.” I shared my story with a few friends and they all shook their heads saying, “that’s just the way things are nowadays.” That’s why I thought this topic would be interesting to explore. I just couldn’t believe that this is the end. In my years of church committees and boards for sports, I incessantly heard from those who did show up complaining about those who didn’t show up. Quite frankly, the not showing up didn’t bother me as much as the complaining by those who did. Why? This situation...
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