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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One Essential Component to a Great Team

One Essential Component to a Great Team

I’ve been part of some all-star teams and some real duds. How about you? Do you have theories on why some failed where others succeeded? Creating an all-star team sometimes seems to be more art than science…maybe even a bit of luck. We at eNthusaProve have always believed that creating strong connections to the project purpose and between team members is a crucial part of creating a great team (see our method here). Recently I came across an article that just seemed too good to be true. It promised a Google study found that an all-star team could be predicted statistically by looking at ONE SINGLE ASPECT? When I saw the story come by my screen, I was thought it was just click bait, hoping to pique my interest to get a click. But it had. I fell prey to the click-bait! Reel me in NY Times…reel me in… The Google research showed that there was in fact one attribute that was the best...
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Building Team Commitment: Choose to Connect

Building Team Commitment: Choose to Connect

One of the struggles Paul and I hear often when working with teams is lack of commitment. Those that are committed to the effort look at those that aren’t and just scratch their heads. Why don’t you care? Don’t you see the value in what we are doing? If you could only see it as I do, you would be committed as I am, right?!?! That got me thinking…to what in life am I truly committed? What makes the difference? What is the best practice out there for commitment? I came back to the strongest commitments in my life, God and my family (husband and kids). These are wonderful things that should be easy for me to commit to, but even these areas struggle. I’ve committed to build my marriage for a lifetime because I believe we are better together (even though that’s not always how we feel), but conflict comes. There are still times where our commitment is tested, even after more...
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Team Connection Builder: Systematize for Better Connections

Team Connection Builder: Systematize for Better Connections

This post is all about being intentional with your team to build rapport with your teammates.  That way, when things get hard (and they always do), you've laid the groundwork for trust to weather the storm. I know that you care about enabling joy on your team just like I do because you are here. Why is that evidence? It shows you care about how well you’re leading.  That CARING means that you probably are already on a good path. Now let’s help you stay on that path and going as fast as you desire to the destination you need to achieve. We know that building connection (like rapport) is important, BUT work comes first, OR it will come in time, OR it feels awkward, BUT I don't want to.  There's all sorts of reasons we use to excuse ourselves from the hard work of building a team.  I know them because I have to overcome them too! One of the great ways...
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Team Conversations: How to Get Teams to Gel

Team Conversations: How to Get Teams to Gel

Team conversations can be hard at the beginning...usually described in one word…awkward! You gather around a table for a kickoff meeting and make small talk, work on a laptop, or scroll through the feed on your smartphone until someone gets things started. The team starts talking about the work and what must be done. Hopefully people introduce themselves. I’ve always felt like these meetings are a bit like the first day of school where everyone’s trying to find their place and not embarrass themselves. I've totally been there... Many people take that first introduction to make a point about what they are there for and why they are important/valuable. This can setup even an adversarial relationship. It happened to me, totally on accident. I was trying to share how I could be a resource for the team based on what I knew about a portion of the work. Only later did I find out my methods were completely misinterpreted and I was seen...
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Need Out of the Box Thinking? Get off the typical road!

Need Out of the Box Thinking? Get off the typical road!

Struggling to get your team to think creatively?  Are you looking for innovation by trying the same old strategy of "think outside the box?"  Struggling to get them to move past the same old answer? Try this approach – it’s how I get my GPS…and teams… to creatively find ways around the well worn thought patterns. Recently I was driving home to Lancaster, PA from Dulles airport, nominally a 2.5 hour drive. But the Google Maps app was estimating over 3 hours, due to a jam on I-95 north. It recommended a sidestep to miss some of it, but I wasn’t liking the option. That recommendation saved less than 10 minutes. Coming north from DC, there are three significant options off the top of the beltway; I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway (295), and good old US Route 1. Route 1 is the slowest as it’s just a 4 lane road, with traffic lights. As I came to the top of the beltway, I saw the traffic warning signs...
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