This past Thursday we brought our legendary intent to 900 very extraordinary SFL employees in Quebec City with the launching of our Sole Purpose event. Partnering with Soles4Souls, we are taking a joint effort to get shoes to the 300 million inhabitants of developing countries who have no such luxury. But instead of just shipping out a bunch of shoes, our goal was to empower people to make a difference. To be the change creating a lasting impact.
What a day! This past Thursday we brought our legendary intent to 900 very extraordinary SFL employees in Quebec City with the launching of our Sole Purpose event. Partnering with Soles4Souls, we are taking a joint effort to get shoes to the 300 million inhabitants of developing countries who have no such luxury. But instead of just shipping out a bunch of shoes, our goal was to empower people to make a difference. To be the change and create a lasting impact.
So we quite literally put the creation of impact in the hands of each SFL employee. Walking into a room of tables and chairs, they gazed upon hundreds of transparent bags containing ambiguous pieces and parts. Armed with their ingenuity and guided by a sheet of instructions, this group of people were going to construct sandals that were then going to be shipped off to children in third world countries.
Wow! Talk about impact. These legendary people were assembling sandals with their own two hands, which, in a couple of weeks, were going to be on a child’s feet. Those very pair of sandals were going to vastly improve the life of another human being. The sandals that they made! Impact rarely comes more direct then that.
CEO of Repario and creator of Sole Purpose, James Carter, spoke to these truly special people before constructing the sandals. Imagine a world filled with legendary people and legendary actions, that would surely be a world I would love to see. But as impossible as it seems to you or me, this is the journey of James Carter, and the theme of what he talked about. Control your awareness, command your beliefs, and harness your courage. The three components of Be Legendary. The beauty of it is, and what James spoke so passionately about, is you do not have to go out and find these ingredients, we already have them. We just have to relearn how to make use of them!
If someone was to tell me I could be legendary I would definitely say, “no way, me legendary? Na-uh.” But now if someone was to tell me I already am legendary, that would be a whole new perspective that I automatically look at with disbelief. But James challenged these SFL employees to think of themselves in legendary ways. Legendary was simply not reality to them, lets face it, it really isn’t to any of us, but our beliefs shape our reality. So it then comes down to – what do you choose to believe in?
Clearly this group of people believed in making a difference. They assembled pieces, attached laces, helped others, and in the end, built a pair of sandals. As the event dwindled down, something quite amazing happened. We saw people walking around the tables gathering unassembled sandals. They would come up to us and say, “Can I take these sandals that no one has used and build them to be sent out?” James and I just looked at each other, both knowing the same thing – this, was legendary.
And so our kick off Sole Purpose event went wonderfully. To see people break from their limits simply by realizing that they can, is an astounding and inspiring site to see. Every time it happens, it helps me break through a few of my own limits.
“Think of a list of legendary people in your life. Do they consider themselves legendary? Probably not. Regardless, they are legendary because you think they are. Oh, and by the way, you’re on someones legendary list too.” – James Carter.
February 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Meetings & Conferences | No comment
How many times have we uttered the phrase, “That was a waste of time.” As good as our intentions may be, the outcome clearly did not pan out the way we wished it to.
Hours upon hours of time invested into something, and the result goes unnoticed. Perhaps it’s trying to figure out how to use a new piece of seemingly cryptic technology. Maybe it’s an attempt at learning a new language. It could be time spent exercising, consoling others, studying, reading, helping, conversing, or just showing some support, and yet nobody really seems to notice.
We tend to measure our investments based off the worth other people see in them. But any experience you engage in runs deeper than the perception others create.
Walt Disney World is a wonderful example of this. Described as a magical place, Disney has an atmosphere of sheer wonder and awe. How did Disney come to be what it is? Investments. Many of which go unknown, but no doubt play a pivotal roll into creating this living fantasy.
There is an incredulous attention to detail at Disney.
Sign posts are repainted every night after closing so as not to appear worn or chipped.
Pictures and murals contain such detailed ambiguity that each time you look at one you’re bound to find something new.
Carousels are painted with gold paint. No, not gold-colored paint, but 23-karat gold-leafed paint.
But why invest in things that 95% of the guests won’t even notice? I seriously doubt kids can tell the difference between gold-leaf and gold colored paint.
It is Disney’s commitment to their guests, letting them know that they go all out in everything they do. And even if the guests don’t notice the employees certainly do. Passion is contagious and so the commitment to excellence certainly catches on.
And so a good amount of the efforts that contribute to Disney’s greatness go unnoticed. But unnoticed does not mean unworthy. All those hidden details contribute to Disney’s unmatched reputation.
The same idea can be applied to each and every one of us. We may not see direct results and our actions may go unnoticed, but like the freshly painted signs and ambiguous illustrations of Disney World, everything culminates into the essence of the whole.
Every action you take shapes who you are. And so even if you have spent countless hours investing your time without being recognized for it, its okay, it is all part of the fantastical character of you. And that is what get’s noticed.
Some people would view a golden painted carousel as idiotic and a waste of money. But those horses and chariots were painted gold because of the belief of Disney’s passion for excellence and commitment to it’s guests. To Disney, their guest are gold, they are the reason for it’s existence.
If everything you do creates the essence of who you are, then is there really any time wasted? Unmeasurable and unnoticed does not mean misused.
So what are your gold painted carousels? Do you think your actions develop character? What is something you thought to be a waste of time? Was it?
February 12, 2011 at 8:08 am | Better Business | No comment
Consider this. Two people watch a speech. Both hear the exact same words, and yet both come up with drastically different conclusions.
How does this happen?
Well let’s say this were a speech about politics, and one person was a democrat while the other a republican. Each person would see facts reaffirming their preexisting views.
The brain and the eye may have a contractual relationship in which the brain has agreed to believe what the eye sees, but in return the eye has agreed to look for what the brain wants.
Awareness is more of a choice rather than a general knowledge.
It’s like a word search and we are looking for the 10 words listed on the side of the puzzle. Even if there are other words filled in, we tend to only see the ones we look for. We use tactics that hone in on the first letter of our targets or chunk a couple of the letters together as our eyes scan the page.
It’s not that other words aren’t there, it’s that we aren’t looking for them, so in our world, they aren’t there.
Say I took that word search and gave five words to one person and five words to another. Like the politicians who listened to the same speech, both would look at the same thing and come back with two completely different lists. We see what we look for.
Go for a walk around your neighborhood and look at all the different styles of doors and roofing patterns. You probably never would have realized all the different colors, styles, patterns, sizes, and textures. And yet you have lived in this neighborhood for years, you must of looked at them. But there is a difference between looking and seeing.
Looking is like breathing, natural and innate, seeing is whole separate level that requires effort and commitment.
What are we really seeing and what are we just looking at?
If life is a chaotic sequence of ambiguous letters, then our frame of reference would be the word bank sitting at the bottom of the page. But how do we grow that word bank? How do we look for new inputs in life?
Step outside your preexisting scope of life. People often drive the same way to work everyday. You see the same things you saw yesterday. Why not take a new way to work everyday? The latter constantly sees new things while the former constantly sees the same old things.
What if you…
Listened to a radio station you’ve never heard before.
Order something at a restaurant without knowing exactly what it is.
Read a magazine you have never heard of.
Learn to tie nots, read music, throw a boomerang.
Escape in nature, and look for plants you have never seen before.
Take up painting. Jackson Pollock throws paint on a canvas so can you!
Go to a place you have never visited.
Rent a movie you have never heard of.
Read a book on a topic you think you’ll dislike.
Have a wider variety of experiences. Who knows what new words you’ll add to your bank when you start doing different things.
When you diversify the elements of your life, your awareness grows and you begin to see a world of many viewpoints, and a puzzle that doesn’t just hold words, but sentences, stories, experiences, journeys, and adventures. You’ll see a life that holds the most legendary potentials.
January 2, 2011 at 7:46 am | Awareness | No comment
The old days of silly ‘team building’ is over.
There is a time and place for bonding, but with meeting time precious, make sure any time you spend is serving at least two purposes.
Years ago I was First Mate on an 80-foot sailing vessel and there were a couple of simple rules:
- Every item on the boat MUST serve at least two purposes.
- If an item did not serve more than two purposes, it must be absolutely critical to safety or well-being of the crew.
Every single item was examined and many were discarded. This was done intentionally to create a better quality of life aboard. Previously, we spent 70% of our time in beautiful tropical locations just fixing stuff.
After we examined everything, we found that we were able to cut a huge number of items from the boat, creating more space (very limited even on a big boat). Also, we found we were very creative and invented a few items that have become hugely popular among sailors.
Most importantly, the amount of time spent on the deck, spent diving, spent enjoying the great locations went up dramatically.
This same idea, in some form, must be translated to meetings.
Spending time building towers, building boats, racing go-carts, <insert any ‘teambuilding>, while occasionally fun, is a waste of money and more importantly, time.
Make sure every aspect of your meeting is serving another at least two purposes. And if it isn’t, chuck it. Or find a way to make it serve another purpose.
I have used ‘team building’ as an example because it is abused so badly in meetings. However, this idea can and should be applied to every aspect of your meeting.
Just like our quality of life on that boat, the quality of your meetings will go up dramatically. Your clients, and the attendees, will LOVE your meetings.
April 8, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Meetings & Conferences | 1 comment
Times are tough.
2 million jobs lost in 2008, 533,000 in November alone, the most in 34 years. Manufacturing is down. Now the automotive industry is requiring a bailout.
The economy is moving into a very difficult and tumultuous time. We are all feeling nervous about what is coming. Even companies in strong positions are running scared.
But, in the meantime, we must accomplish more in less time! Why? Because of the 2 million lost jobs.
We MUST be more productive and it is quite possible our job depends upon it.
What can you do?
Surprisingly, more than you might think. Below are some ideas that may help you and/or the people you work with. Follow our made-up 10-step recovery system and you will at least feel better:
- Stop reading the news. Or at least read less. The dire headlines will continue with every nuance discussed about how the economy will never recover. It makes for good, continuous coverage for journalists but is bad for our psyche. When the economy is recovering, the news will trumpet that too. Absolutely stop watching the news, for the same reasons as above.
- Do something selfless. Go do something positive and self-less for someone else. You will feel good, they will feel good and perhaps someone is watching your random act of kindness.
- Create a ‘Thankful’ List. Sit down as a group and create your ‘Most Thankful’ list. Each person shares one item on the list. We really do have a great deal to be thankful for. Go volunteer at a homeless shelter if you don’t feel thankful. Trust me, you will after that.
- Think positive thoughts – you will, in fact, get through this. Say it to yourself. Say it to each other. This may seem silly, but thinking positively is a habit. Create a good habit.
- Find Motivational Quotes. Assign a task for everyone to go out and find their favorite motivational quote, then share it with each other about why you picked that particular quote. What personal meaning does it have.
- Fund an Entrepreneur. Have everyone pitch in $5.00 and create a pool. Goto www.Kiva.org and invest in an entrepreneur in a third world country. There are dozens to choose from and through the process, you get to decided, as a group, the kind of person and industry you want to support. This can lead to a great discussion of values.
- Spend Time As A Group. Set focused time aside to problem solve as a group. We have tremendous experience that we could share. When times are good and the money is rolling in, no one needs to worry about best practices or share ideas. Right now is the time. Now.
- Communicate Clearly. Communicate VERY clearly about the above tasks and any other tasks, situtation or challenge facing your group. Don’t make it sound more that it is – be honest and clear, yet positive. Tell people times are tough and you will all need to get through it together. Difficult times and challenges faced are what bring out character, both individually and as a group.
- Buy One of Our Group Activities. Carve out 60 minutes and run it. It will bring the group together and potentially discussion about how you can all be more productive as a group or possibly communicate better or any number of potential outcomes depending upon which activity you choose. And worst-case scenario, you purchasing our product will help us and make us feel better!
- What is your idea for #10? Send us your best idea for what we should add to this list and you will receive your choice of a digital product — $24.95 value – simply for sharing your knowledge.
Email James Carter at jcarter @ buildingteams.com and tell him your idea and which digital product you would like to have and she will respond to you. Pick them here.
We will accumulate the responses and ideas and put them in a future blog post.
Let’s talk seriously for a moment — during these difficult times many organizations struggle with decisions to reduce expenses and even lay off employees.
But now more than ever, it is imperative that companies optimize their employee’s potential and strive to develop a high performance teams. When companies work with minimal resources, it is more crucial to improve interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Teams with the right combination of knowledge, skills and motivation to excel can give the organization a competitive advantage.
Whether conducted by company trainers or outside consultants, team initiatives can promote greater cooperation, better communication and minimize dysfunctional conflict. Experiential learning techniques such as interpersonal trust exercise, collaborative initiatives or interactive games can be very beneficial.
Remember, it is the Holiday season. Give Thanks. Reach out. Help a Stranger. Smile.
Did you see this article with the headline above?
If not, here is the gist:
TAMPA – A Hillsborough School Board training session erupted in accusations, scoldings and door slamming Tuesday as the group met to create a vision for the district.
Packed into a tiny conference room at Orange Grove Middle Magnet School, the board and superintendent met with a facilitator from the Florida School Boards Association to keep them focused.
The meeting had barely started with a discussion of “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” when the veneer cracked.
April Griffin, the newest board member elected in November, said she lacked trust – one of the five dysfunctions – and called board meetings “an orchestrated play” rather than an honest discussion.
She recalled the board’s negative reaction a week earlier at a televised board meeting when she questioned the process of appointing an administrator, not usually done in public.
The group devolved into finger pointing and blaming and ended with April leaving the meeting and vowing not to return to another voluntary ‘team building’ session.
Here is the link if you would like to read the entire story:
While an amusing story we can all relate to, this is a great example of ‘team building’ wrong from the beginning.
First of all, are these people really a team? Do they share the same goal, or do they each have their own goal?
After all, a team is a group of individuals with a common goal. My guess is that each individual of that school board has their own agenda they were more attached to than the ‘team’ goal.
Certainly Pat Lencioni’s book, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a team’, is a decent place to start. However, the error of the facilitator is that she used the wrong context. It is too personal. The group immediately showed a lack of trust amongst each other and began discussing the lack of trust in the context of their work on the school board.
This is where the use of ‘team building’ activities is important.
I can talk about my lack of trust in the context of a silly game and that I screwed it up for the group. But I cannot make the same admission of error with regard to my work! I have too much ego and pride involved.
Additionally, activities and games help us experience what we actually do versus what we know. We all know how to communicate well, we just often use all the knowledge we have when we practice communication.
Through the use of activities, the group can talk about what went wrong and right, how they could improve the group process and then translate that learning back to their work on the school board.
Because activities and the facilitation of the discussion after the activity focuses on the process the group went through:
* Did they communicate well?
* Was there a lack of trust?
* Did the group plan?
* How well did leadership work?
All during the process. Then the process is translated back to work by the group, not the facilitator.
This leads us to the secondary issue — was this a training session or a facilitation? Training and facilitation are very different and require different skills. Training is learning a skill and facilitation is a group process though discussion. Perhaps it was the journalist who made the error.
But this second error is very common in our profession. Trainers are NOT facilitators. A good trainer may also be a good facilitator, but typically not. Educators and trainers are used to teaching — helping individuals learn something new. And they are focused on the learning outcome. This is very necessary in an educational setting, but not in a facilitation setting.
Facilitation is about the group and the group process. The group may learn something completely different than what the facilitator had planned. But that is the power of facilitation. The group will learn what is most important to them, NOT what the facilitator wants them to learn.
When you combine activities with professional facilitation, the outcomes are much more likely to produce positive results.
Beginning a small group discussion and immediately moving into personal issues is sure to bring out offense and defense in each one of us.