Showing posts with label Teamwork. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teamwork. Show all posts

August 8, 2019

Who's In Charge Here?

This was a funny photo...

Sign around the ape says:
Laugh now, but one day, we'll be in charge

I guess you never know who will be in charge. 
  • Be nice to everyone. 
  • Never burn bridges.

All of life is a circle--and everything and everybody goes around and around.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 31, 2019

Be Happy, Have Fun

Thought this was funny at work. 

One person writes:
Be Happy. Have Fun. 

Another chimes in:
Ok, I will!

And finally a 3rd person writes:
Me too. 
Smiley faces and all. 

Never take yourself too seriously. 

It's true--try to enjoy the ride!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 24, 2019

Project Suicide

This was sort of a funny scene in a project meeting. 

One person describing the challenges at one point, spontaneously and dramatically motions to take a knife and slit both wrists.

This absolutely got people's attention.

Understanding the struggles the person was expressing, and trying to add a little lightheartedness to the situation, I say:

"This is a tough project, pass around the knife."

This got a good hearty laugh around the table, with one person saying that this was the quote of the day. 

Anyway, we want to make operations as effortless as possible on people, but the project work to get there is definitely making people work for it. 

Let's avoid project or people suicide--be supportive of each other, pace ourselves, team together, and problem-solve to get it successfully over the finish line.

Soon we can celebrate all the challenges we overcame together and from our determined efforts, all the wonderful results. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2019

Colleagues That Care

I loved this from a colleague the other day.

When things got a little tough in the office, I came in the next day to 6 smiley faces lined up on my desk. 

This is something that I really appreciate from some people:

Their HUMANITY.

Even though my colleague faced the same tough day, she was thoughtful of others and the impact on them (not herself). 

There are some amazing people out there, and I thank G-d for putting them in my orbit. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 17, 2018

Don't Give A Fire Truck

Sometimes, others can get negative at you in life.

People are unhappy. 

They are being unreasonable.

Complaints are rolling in. 

It seems like you can't do right.

But you have to have a thick skin or as one colleague told me:
You need to be like Teflon and have it all just roll off you.

And this book title reminded me of this:
"The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"

Yes, we do have to care about doing good in what we do. 

It's just that we shouldn't "give a f*ck" when others are just wanting to tear us down and enjoying it. 

Constructive feedback is good. 

But destructive negativity at every turn is just hurtful.

It's also a way for others to not take ownership.

We all need to do our part to make things better in this world. 

Sure, no one does everything right and no one is perfect. 

But everyone needs to try their best, and when others just want to beat on you...

That's a completely appropriate time to not give a firetruck. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 11, 2018

Stretch Goals That Break The Band

So I learned some important lesson about stretch goals. 

You want to have stretch goals because they make your strive to do and be your best. 

When you have to stretch yourself above your normal then you can take yourself to whole new levels of performance and achievement. 

However, if the stretch goals are ridiculously unachievable than you simply set yourself up for frustration and failure. 

Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. 

But too often they are DUMB goals: Directed by others, Unachievable, Made to fail, and Based on false assumptions. 

For example, if someone tells you to jump off that bridge into the whitewater beneath because they assume that somehow you can spread you bare arms and fly--guess what is going to happen to you?

Goals can help you get to new heights of accomplishment in life or they can pull you down in false condemnation and despair. 

Like in fighting the good fight...be careful when you are sent to the front lines in trench warfare with heavily dug fortifications, machine guns and artillery placements aimed your way and yelled at with no rational strategy to "Advance!"

The only place that is going to take you is to an early grave. 

Instead, fight smart and take the hill when the hill is takable--you save a lot more lives that way and you actually take that hill! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2018

Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:
We succeed or fail as a team.

It's not me. 

It's not you. 

It's not him.

It's not her. 
It's us!

No one can do it alone. 

- If we fail, we fail as a team. 

- If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 

So let's come together and be a team and give it our best shot! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 14, 2018

Taking Pride In Your Work

I thought this was a nice necklace. 

The lady in the hair salon had a necklace in the shape of a scissors.

I asked her about it because it seemed sort of unusual and neat. 

She said, "It's a scissors!"

And then she proceeded to squeeze the miniature two handles, and said, "You see, it actually opens and closes too!"

I could see and hear how proud she was of what she does for a living. 

Yes, maybe it doesn't earn as much as some other professions, but it was her job and she loved it. 

I think we should all try to take such pride in our work and in doing a great job!

Everyone has something important to contribute and every contribution truly counts. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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August 3, 2018

Nitpicking To Death

It's funny some people go straight for the kill when they don't like something. 

Others may nitpick you to death. 

Always! looking for something to henpeck at.

It comes out as you're stupid, lazy, incompetent, and even worthless.

Why can't you do anything right (read: the way I would do it)?

If only you would change this, that, or the other thing then it would all be better!

But even when you do manage to change this, that or the other thing--guess what? That just sparks the next round of destructive criticism and never being satisfied.

Hey, since when are you so (f*ckin) perfect?  

Or as the old saying goes, "Who died and made you G-d?"

It should not be about grabbing some sadistic pleasure out of torturing other people with narcissism, judgmentalism, endless criticism and naysaying.

Instead of tearing down, let's focus on the big picture and what success looks like.

How can everyone contribute to that vision and effort?

Customer service doesn't mean personal servitude. 

There is such a thing as being a team player, identifying when good is good enough, and driving forward rather than seeking to derail or even go backward. 

Competency is not just for service providers, but for the customers. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2018

In the Know Or Dark

So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you--positively or negatively. 

They can help either to keep you "in the know" or "in the dark."

As we all know by now, information is power!

When you're in the know--you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what's happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization. 

When you're in the dark--you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter.  A colleague of mine put it this way: "Don't get between a man and his firing squad."   

So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare. 

To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn.  And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable. 

But to another extent, there are others--superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers--who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend...some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn't it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else.  What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!

Why some friend and others foe you--who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate. 

In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2018

Chief Critic

So we all know these type of people that love to criticize and bully.  

They are the critics in chief. 

You have to wonder what their own value-add is.

While other people are doing the work, the chief critic is saying everything is terrible, horrible, tragic, almost the end of the universe as we all know it. 

Yes, there is nothing wrong with well-intentioned and constructive criticism, especially by a supervisor or people sincerely trying to help.

But then there are just those who just look to find something--anything--to fault others, almost as if they are bigger if others are smaller!

This is no good. 

That is no good. 

I would do it this way. 

You need to do it that way. 

It's almost like a hobby, but it comes with plenty of nastygrams and miserable monologues. 

If only you would do X!

How come you didn't do Y?

Next time make sure you do Z!!!

OMG, yes we are not perfect angels, but most of us try to work smart, do good, contribute, and get positive results!

Even failure is acceptable if everyone gave it their best effort and it leads to learning and growth. 

Maybe the people on the sidelines who are yelling at the players need to get off the bench and actually worry about what they need to be doing, and doing it, instead of criticizing those in the trenches. 

Teamwork means we succeed or fail together!

Non-attribution is about not getting personal and blaming others, especially when they are working their butts off. 

Rather, roll up your sleeves everyone and get in the trenches and start pulling your own weight instead of putting down and making fun of the others. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 12, 2018

Getting To Know You

So we recently took on a new function at work.

With that came a new group of employees.

Today, we had a wonderful breakfast as a meet and greet for everyone to get to know each other.

There was a tremendous spread of food laid out everything from bagels and smear, granola and yogurt, free fruit and vegetable salad, donut and muffins, and more.

There was enough food to feed a small army.

Aside from the group joining us, we had people come from other departments that support the process they are involved in--so folks from finance, legal, and even the front office.

The new lead assigned for the group that came over even gave out envelopes to thank their new team and 2 big boxes of gourmet coffee for them to share.

How nice this all was done and the investment that was made to bring the new team on board was really amazing to me.

I saw all the goodwill that was being built up from this event and the niceties put into it to recognize the people and make everyone comfortable together as a team.

I learned that an investment upfront like this in people and function can have tremendous benefits downstream in building a team and performing services that everyone can be proud of who is apart of this.

Invest not only in things, but also most importantly in people and relationships! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 8, 2018

Helmet Head

So happy Friday funday. 

We work hard during the week, right.

Today in the office, we replaced some old metal clunker garbage cans with some new clean plastic ones. 

The old ones, every time you threw a bottle or anything hard out, it made a crazy loud banging noise disrupting everyone. 

I started to joke with my colleagues that the dirty, heavy old cans were more useful as a helmet in case of emergency evacuation of something. 

So today the old metal junk cans got a happy face helmet head and a prestigious place next to the office plants.

Everyone had a good hearty laugh!

Honestly, it's wonderful to be incredibly productive and accomplish a lot for the people, the mission, and all the stakeholders, and at the same time know how to have some fun and make people happy. 

Good for morale and good for teamwork!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2018

Teambuilding S-Cubed

Awesome day today with my team at work. 

We had a half-day team building. 

Started off with a Play-Doh exercise where we had to answer things like what we'd like to accomplish as a team in the new year. 

This was my representation with a S-cubed for the new program implementing process improvements and enterprise service management using:

- Strategy

- Structure

- (Customer) Service

We followed up with a great team luncheon and then a game of Monster Mini Golf.

We broke into two teams and one team came in "first place" and the other team were the "winners."

I suppose whenever we genuinely come together as a team to appreciate each other and work collaboratively as a unified whole--greater than the sum of our parts--then we truly all come out as first place winners! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 9, 2018

Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations

Here's how the typical bad scenario unfolds:

1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  

2. People start building their cases - listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.

3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 

4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.

Here's a better way to deal:

1. Problems begin with another person.  

2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person's perspective. 

3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems--so you nip it in the bud earlier--and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you've questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions--and you've looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and "co-create solutions."

4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 

The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn't truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 19, 2018

When People Fear You, You're Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:

"Leadership is action, not position."

And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.

When everyone hates a leader is that a "leader?"

- Fear is not leadership.

- Bullying is not leadership. 

- Corruption is not leadership. 

Leadership is:

- Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 

- Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 

- Helping others to achieve their potential. 

- When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 

How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 

G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 12, 2018

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.

I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:

- Communication - needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.

- Trust - must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 

- Collaboration - must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 

If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.

Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 

No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 19, 2018

The View From Upfront and Behind

Thought this was a smart saying from a colleague:
"If you ain't the lead dog, the view doesn't change."

What the dogs upfront and those behind them see are quite a different view. 

It's important for the lead dogs to guide the other dogs in a good direction and stay clear from obstacles. 

We may not all see the same thing, but whatever our viewpoints are, we all have to work together and pull our hardest towards progress. 

It's a race to the finish--and finish strong and together we all must. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Natalia Kollegova)

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November 16, 2017

The Folly of Bullies

So there is an issue with people not treating other people with respect and dignity in life and at work.

Today again, the Wall Street Journal reported that "Companies Wake Up To The Problem of Bullies at Work."

This is leading some organizations to issue "Codes of Civility" for people to act like mensches and treat each other nicely. 

Adults are just so like children--with work bullies not all that different from schoolyard bullies.

Why do people need to elevate themselves on the backs of others? 

Isn't it better to join hands and work together as brothers for the betterment of all.

Bullying anyone at work or at home doesn't benefit anyone, including the bully!

I read today in Psalms 37: 35-36:
"I have seen the wicked in great power and spreading himself like a green tree. Yet he passed away, and behold, he was not; I sought him, but he could not be found 
[But] Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace."
How can people forget that the true "big boss" is G-d Almighty in Heaven.

And He judges us for a good or not so good end. 

We are all just flesh and blood and we all answer to the One That Was, Is, and Will Always Be!

Isn't it obvious that we're here to learn to act with lovingkindness to one another.

All are imperfect, but treating each other well is how we get closer to G-dly perfection. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 10, 2017

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 

1. Teamwork - Remember you're not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 

2. Work-Life Balance - Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life--professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual--then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!

3. Perspective - You've got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side--we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!

4. Sense of Humor - When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you're looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly...perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!

5. Faith - No matter what...G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life's journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!

On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:

"The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!" (or in Hebrew "Adonai li v'lo ira")

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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