We’re preparing for our Annual Meeting, coming up this Thursday. This year promises to be our biggest yet, and I look forward to seeing you. What got me thinking this past week is our Chamber team, and all the work they are doing in preparation. This is such a great group of people. I hope you are getting the opportunity to know them.
We all know what it feels like to be on a trusting team. You can raise your hand and say, “I made a mistake.” Or, “I need help.” Colleagues will rush in to support us with no fear of retribution. The opposite is that we can’t admit mistakes or ask for help, for fear of humiliation or lack of promotion. Organizations that can talk about the truth will thrive over time. That’s a good team. The responsibility of a good leader is to build an environment in which trusting teams can develop.
Which takes me back to my military days. I went through my Officer Basic Training in Fort Lewis, WA. Part of our training included being put through different pressure tests, to develop our leadership skills. One was a problem-solving course, in which we took turns leading a squad of our peers to get them all through a physical obstacle course. And each round was timed. Here’s what we found: the men charged right in too quickly because they wanted to win. And they often failed because they didn’t spend enough time sharing ideas and planning. The women leaders tended to be slower, they spent more time planning, and they often came up with the right plan. But they’d fail because they ran out of time.
The best successes were with blended teams. And isn’t that true about anything? The more alternative styles/perspectives we have on a team, the more creativity we bring to a problem. Each of us covers another’s blind spots.
Today’s encouragement is to embrace the new, the different, and sometimes the opposing. They add color to the team, broaden our thinking, and make us more honest.
See you in the trenches,