Examples of Teamwork

Examples of Teamwork
Examples of Teamwork

What is teamwork? Can you think of great examples of teamwork?  What about bad examples of teamwork? If you are a sports fan at all, you’ve witnessed teams that play well together and some that don’t.

Sports teams are easy to use as examples of teamwork. Most people are not on sports teams after high school, much less college though. Sports analogies resonate with many but they are hard to put into practice in everyday life.

Below are two great real life examples of teamwork that should easily translate to your life if you want to put these traits into practice and experience great teamwork.

Example 1 – Bring the Right Resources

An associate from another office asked me and another person in my office to call a client who needed some help. The client is located near our office so it made sense to ask us to contact him. The two of us called the client without having much background but we knew timeliness was important.

We called “Tom” early in the morning. An hour later, we got off the call with the understanding of all of Tom’s needs. He required services the two of us could not directly provide.

Thankfully, the two of us knew the firm could help Tom with each of his “pain points” if we gathered the right team of people. Tom made the importance of teamwork clear. He wanted the individual skills but also the skills of a cohesive team.

Specifically Tom mentioned he did not want to be serviced by a firm that works in silos. He wanted a team approach. Each person needed to be able to work with each other person providing a service. That is the definition of teamwork.

In the next couple of hours, we located and talked with the resources to provide the service Tom wanted. We will present a united front – a front of teamwork. We understand the importance of bringing the right resources to help our clients. We’re committed to it. We became one of the examples of teamwork.

Example 2 – New Responsibilities Bring Changes

Earlier this year I was honored to be installed as a deacon in our church congregation. My formal role as a servant would be to organize our worship services and ensure things are performed in an orderly fashion.

My predecessor had organized the worship services for many years and things almost always went smoothly. There is so much more involved than a typical church-goer realizes. Even though I have attended the same congregation for 30 years before taking on this responsibility, there were actions being taken of which I had never thought.

Needless to say, I have not made any changes to the process of the actual worship service. If it wasn’t broken, I wasn’t going to try to fix it.

New people involved in a process bring new responsibilities. Those new responsibilities must be learned and practiced. Besides me, I asked one other member to begin helping with the organization of the services. Now there are six of us involved; two of us being new.

With my busy travel schedule, I am unfortunately not able to attend every service.  However, I can rely on the other five men who help. I trust the job will get done and be done well.

We work as a team and each can take someone’s spot without any issue. We each have unique talents and activities we like to perform but we are each willing to do what we can to make each worship service as orderly as possible.

If we did not work as a team, we would take the members’ attention away from their worship of God and put it directly on us. We don’t want that. We want to be the team that doesn’t get recognized as one of the great examples of teamwork.

Your Great Examples of Teamwork

Can you think of examples of teamwork you’ve witnessed? Maybe you’re a part of a great team of people at work. If you are married, you hopefully make a great team with your spouse. I’m thankful for my wife in that regard.

What about more subtle aspects of teamwork? Have you ever thought that when you drive on the highway, every car on the road is working together as a cohesive unit? Do you find that many people anywhere who operate under the same rules and are in agreement with the same thing? No where else can you see so many people who agree with the right way to do something.

Whether you are a team leader or an entry-level team member, each member of a team is important. As the cliché says, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”  Don’t be the weak link. Make your team stronger.

Tweet: Don’t be the weak link. Make your team stronger. http://ctt.ec/2dpn1+ by @BertPurdy

Be a team player. Believe in teamwork. Be intentional about it and live as a great example of teamwork.

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Being a Jerk is Not in Your Job Description

Jerk is not in your job description
Stay away from the Jerk Center

Last week I was fortunate to listen to a very dynamic speaker, Major General Garrett Harencak of the United States Air Force. As you can imagine, he was speaking on the topic of leadership and had some great points to share.

This blog is not about leadership. It’s about being a happy, successful employee. Although you can be a  leader in an employee role, I typically do not write about such topics.  I’m not going to start now. I’m going to turn Major General Harencak’s comments to the employee view.

The primary leadership topic about which Major General Harencak was that being a jerk is not included in your job description. Why do certain leaders act like that is part of the requirement to perform their roles?

We need to remember that as employees also. Being a jerk is never acceptable; either from a leadership or servant position. It is not acceptable!

What happens though if your boss believes so much in being a jerk that he hand-wrote it into his job description? I’ve witnessed these people. So have you. What do you do?

I’ve taken the following steps in my career whenever I have come across people of this type:

Show respect – Although showing respect to someone who has not earned your respect is one of the toughest things to do, you must be the bigger person. True leaders become leaders because people follow them, not because of a job title. However, you will still have to deal with the “jerk” boss sometime in your career.

The Bible talks about heaping coals on his head. Others will tell you to “kill with kindness.” Whatever approach you take, you need to show respect. For example, I may not agree with the President’s opinions on a certain topic but I still respect the position.

Ask the “jerk” to stop – I had a ask one of my bosses in the past to stop using such profane language in front of me. If you are offended by something, you must speak up. If you don’t, nothing will happen. If you do, at least there is a chance a change will be made.

Stand up for yourself – Some “jerk” bosses like to see the impact they have on subordinates. In many cases, if you stand up for yourself, you will earn the respect of that person and will be treated differently going forward.

Tell a peer of your boss – While you may not have the authority or respect of your boss, a peer of your boss may. Tell that person of the difficulties you are having. If she is the kind of person you think she is, she will talk to the “jerk” boss and tell him how he is impacting other people. It is perfectly okay to ask her not to mention your name.

Wait it out – I haven’t been around a long time in the great scheme of things but I’ve been around long enough to see that jerks don’t survive forever. Eventually, either the jerk will leave or be let go. Be patient. Wait to see what happens.

It’s unfortunate that certain people add “jerk” to their job descriptions. You should add “respectful,” “caring” and “nice” to your job description. The nice guy always ends up winning in the end. Which guy do you want to be?

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I Don’t Have Enough Time

Don't Have Enough Time
Do you complain about not having enough time?

I don’t have enough time to do what I want or need to do. If you are anything like me, you often complain about not having enough time either. I have too much to fit into my days. Don’t you?

Stop fooling yourself. You can’t get everything done. It’s impossible. You might as well stop trying and just accept the fact that you can’t do it.

That’s what I’ve been telling myself for quite a while anyway. The last month and a half as I’ve been traveling, I’ve been making this excuse daily. I just don’t have enough time, or so I thought.

Thankfully, my wife is much wiser than me and she told me to stop using that as an excuse. She had been using it too because of her hectic schedule but decided to stop. I’m smart enough to listen when she is adamant about something.

So what can you do to have more time? I’m going to start doing the following:

Stop saying “I don’t have enough time” – You have just as much time each day as anyone else. We all are blessed with 24 hours in a day. What you do with the time you have is the big question.

You can accomplish during the day what you want if you make it a priority. Setting priorities is the key to having enough time. Oh yeah, not making excuses is pretty important too.

Making excuses does nothing for you except to exacerbate the issue. If you continually complain about not having enough time, you will feel you have less time.  I felt the same way while traveling lately. The more I talked about how much I was traveling, the worse it seemed.

Plan ahead – I’ve recently written about planning your week. Have you tried it? It has helped me tremendously. Unfortunately, I forgot about my wife’s schedule while going through the process.

My wife and I have agreed, and we will do it for the first time this evening, to plan our weeks together. Instead of individual schedules, we will have a joint schedule. It will include both of our business appointments, family events and household chores.

My family is blessed that my wife works from home. Having her at home was well worth the financial sacrifice we’ve made. However, I’ve made the mistake of relying on her too heavily. A stay-at-home mom is probably the hardest job in the world. I need to help. This joint schedule will make sure I know what I need to do to provide the help she needs.

Wake up early – The best days are the days I get to the office early. However, I rarely get up in time to get to the office earlier than seven. That’s going to change. I’m going to become the morning person I used to be. I’m going to use that extra time in the morning to accomplish enough to reduce the items on my to-do list.

In contrast, maybe you are a night owl and are really productive late at night. If that’s the case, focus on using that time to be productive. Don’t change who you are. Take advantage of your body’s natural tendencies toward sleep.

Whatever you do, don’t sacrifice sleep. You need a certain number of hours of sleep to be at your best. Very few are blessed with the ability to thrive on fewer than six hours of sleep. If you are, I’m jealous. If you need more, figure out that number and be intentional about getting that amount of sleep each night.

If you practice these three things, you should feel better about what you accomplish each day. You have the time to do what you want. Make your priorities fit in line with the time you have. Get done what you set out to do.

Do you have a problem with complaining about not having time? What are you going to do about it?

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I’ve Been Thinking

I've been thinking
I’ve been thinking

I’ve been thinking. That can be a most dangerous and enlightening phrase. Whenever my wife says, “I’ve been thinking,” I automatically say, “No.” Then, I tell her I’m joking and ask how much money she wants to spend. It’s a little game we play.

But now I’ve been thinking. I’ve had several hours today waiting to board and waiting to get off of planes. I recently wrote a post about what to do in an airport. See it here.

This is different. I’ve been enlightened from my experiences over the last week.  Those experiences made me really think.

I’ve been thinking about:

Judging – Sometimes I find myself judging others. I know I shouldn’t. I don’t do it purposefully. I regret it when I realize I’ve been doing it.

Everyone has a right to the make their own choices. I can disagree with those choices but I shouldn’t judge the person. That person still has feelings, and most importantly, a soul.

I’ve known for a long time that pride is my biggest weakness. Even though I consider myself a leader of people, I’ve been careful with my leading style because I don’t want to be prideful. I want to be proud of what I accomplish but not to the level at which I’d judge someone.

I’ve been thinking; will you join me and stop judging others?

Opinions – You may think the best way to accomplish something is different from the way I think is best. You may have different opinions on someone’s strengths. We sometimes have to disagree.

Agreeing to disagree really is a powerful statement. Compromise is when at least two people agree to not agree on what they both think are the best solutions. We need to compromise more. More progress would be made.

Of course, if we firmly believe in something, we should not compromise. A company’s culture could be viewed like this. Two companies discussing a merger should always talk about culture. The company that feels most strongly about its culture will either be the succeeding company or the merger will not occur.

I’ve been thinking; will you join me and make more compromises when it make sense to do so?

Differences – People are different. No where in the world is this more apparent than in a big international airport. As I sit here in Chicago O’Hare, I am witnessing many different people.

We dress differently. We act differently. We talk differently. That doesn’t make me better than you or you better than me. It makes us different. We were made to be that way.

Can you imagine if we all dressed, acted and talked the same? How boring life would be! We would not have any innovation in the world. We would all be zombies walking through boring lives.

I’ve been thinking; will you join me and embrace our differences?

Like and dislike – You will not like everyone. We should do our best to get along with everyone. That doesn’t mean we need to have everyone over for a barbecue.

While worshipping with a church in Kentucky last week, the preacher emphatically exclaimed, as it related to the sermon, that he does not like everyone. Yes, a preacher said that. That grabbed my attention.

Even those whom we hold to a higher standard, like preachers, don’t like everyone from a personality point-of-view. I know, though, that particular preacher cares for everyone and wants the best for everyone.

The trick to dealing with people you do not like is to deal with them as little as possible. If you have to talk, be civil. It’s not rude to not like everyone. But you should treat all people with respect.

I’ve been thinking; will you join me and start treating people with respect, regardless of whether you like them?

Unlike when my wife says she’s been thinking, acting on the things above will not cost you a thing. Being kind, showing respect and being happy are all free. In fact, you will gain so much more.

What have you been thinking about lately?

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Communication Secrets – Think about What You Are Saying

Think about what you are saying
Did you really mean to say that?

Have you ever recorded yourself and then listened to it? You don’t sound like what you think you do. Most people don’t like listening to themselves on recordings. However, what you say is much more important than the sound of your voice.

If you pay close attention to what you say every day, you will discover that you say certain things that either don’t make sense or add nothing to what you are saying. As you continue reading, think about whether you say these things or know someone who does.

I would – There is a local radio commercial for a window and door company in which the celebrity endorsing the product says, “I would recommend [Company A] to everybody.” I always think, “Why aren’t you recommending the company now? Why do you want to wait to recommend it? If you would recommend it, it means there are conditions to that recommendation because you’re not doing it now.”

Even though I’ve heard other professional speakers say this as well, I’ve also seen it in formal, written documents. Doesn’t “we do not want it any other way” sound better than “we would not want it any other way”? Of course it does.

Maybe I over analyze what people say (No, I don’t think I’m perfect) but that just doesn’t sound good to me. Does it make sense to you?

I know, right? – Or, as my daughter would text it, IKR. What value does this really bring to the conversation you’re having? How is the listener supposed to respond to that question?

We all know – When my wife (girlfriend at the time) began attending church services with me she got frustrated by the assumption of certain speakers that everyone in the audience knew all the Bible stories. She had not been raised in the church and did not know many Bible stories. Either the preacher or another speaker would say, “We all know the story of …”  Well, not everyone knew that story.

Don’t assume that others know what you do. Even the most basic of knowledge you have will be advanced to others. I have to keep this in mind continually as I work with new employees. Even more experienced employees may not have the experience in financial services like I do. We all don’t know.

Uh or Um– You, um, use this more than you think. Be cognizant to listen to yourself talk and you will notice the frequency at which this is said. It’s typically not too annoying if said quietly and infrequently but when said loudly and often, it hurts my ears.

So – So, how often do you end a sentence and then use this word. It’s overused at the beginning of a sentence (see previous sentence) but that typically sounds natural. When you use it as a filler after a sentence but don’t complete a thought with it, then it sounds bad.

You know – I know of someone who every time she stands in front of people for a presentation, she will begin her remarks with “You know.” She doesn’t even know she says it. If she did, she would realize that not everyone knows what she will say next.

I mean – I know you mean what you are saying; you’re saying it. There is rarely a time when you need to use this term because it is inherent in what you are saying.

And – “And” is probably the second most-used filler behind “uh.” You should not make every sentence a compound sentence by using a conjunction. Simple sentences are easier to understand anyway. Along with “so,” don’t use “and” after a sentence just because you don’t know what you’re going to say next.

And my all-time favorite…

I’ll tell you the truth or I’m not going to lie – When people have said either of these phrases to me, I usually reply with, “I hope you always tell the truth.” If you preference a statement with one of these phrases, it implies that you do not tell the truth unless you use that phrase. That is not what you want to portray.

So, how often do you use any of these terms? We all know, uh, it can get really old to hear people stumble over their words. You know, if you tell the truth, I’ll believe you.  And…

Do you think about what you are saying?

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