I often have lots of thoughts when I’m showering. This morning my mind jumped to things people complain about in SA and then onto the news reports that I see from elsewhere in the world. I thought about how there are problems everywhere – economic, social, political, wars, terrorism – only the details change.
I was reminded of that story about a group of people who all had pretty big problems in their lives. They were invited to swop their problem for someone else’s. Each person wrote their problem on a piece of paper and put it on a table. Then one-by-one they came to the table and picked up a piece of paper (and problem) to take home.
It turned out that all had chosen their own original problem! For the most part we learn how to live with our own problems, whether we resolve them or not.
We are enjoying lovely weather in Joburg at the moment and we have been invited to join friends in big 5 country for the weekend. My closing shower thought was, “there is a lot I’m prepared to put up with in exchange for our weather, wide open spaces, beautiful wildlife, natural scenery, colourful people and minimal incidence of natural disasters!”
In the zone
A few weeks ago I was watching a bit of the Cricket World Cup. AB de Villiers and Rossouw were batting against West Indies. At that moment de Villiers hit a six – slow, steady, watch, wait, hit, follow with eye. He hit the ball so smoothly, with quiet confidence, making it look effortless.
That was the day the score went from 146 for 3 to 408 for 5 with AB scoring his final 50 runs off just 12 balls.
I just love to watch any top class sportsman on a good day – it’s poetry in motion – awesome – so exciting to the maximizer in me.
And what a difference it makes to the score when a few players are in that space on the day.
What enables a player like AB de Villiers to play like that?
I haven’t interviewed him but from my understanding of human behaviour and performance I believe it is firstly because he is working with his talents. Then he has put in lots of practise to create the right pathways in the brain to turn his talents into strengths. He doesn’t mind putting in the practise because he is doing what he enjoys and feeling a sense of mastery. Then he feels well rewarded whether that is through money or recognition. And he has the support of a team that is collectively in the right space.
In sport it is sometimes referred to as being in the zone. The result of both physical and mental preparation.
Interestingly in an interview after the match de Villiers shared the role that Rossouw and the rest of the team had played in his achieving his great result.
The sheer range of shots he played on Friday was breathtaking but he admitted to feeling out of sorts when he came out to join Rilee Rossouw in the middle with his side becalmed at 146-3.
“Rilee played a big part in me getting off my feet today,” he said.
“I didn’t feel too well going out to the wicket, a bit flat. He had a lot energy about him, a lot of intensity, getting into a lot of good positions, making it look flat out there.
“We were getting a lot of momentum behind us at a really quick pace. We’re both really aggressive players, we ran a lot of twos, and all of that together helped in me having a go.”
“I really thought the guys were motivated today to play some good cricket,” he said.
“It’s great to see the team like that, hustling around. You could see their eyes were open, ready to fight. It’s a great turnaround after loss at the MCG.”
I am writing this just hours before the Proteas play Sri Lanka in the quarter finals. I hope the team is again in the right space and that there are enough key players in the zone.
Imagine if everyone working for you, or around you, was in the zone. Imagine the results (the score) that you could collectively achieve.
It can be done. If you create an environment which makes it easier for people to be self motivated, one in which they have a degree of autonomy, can experience a sense of mastery and see a purpose in what they do. If you collect people together with a variety of strengths and match those strengths appropriately to the roles needed. And if you reward fairly and show appreciation in the language (manner) in which each individual needs to receive it.
And then you help those individuals to collaborate as a team. To appreciate each other’s strengths, to accept the imperfections, to communicate, to trust and to respect each other.
How much more would you achieve each day? How much more profitable would you be? How much higher would the quality of goods or services be?
Alison Gitelson, Management Growth Enabler, enabling you to do business better.
© copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved
Quote of the Day
“Excellence can be attained if you Care more than what others think is wise, Risk more than what others think is safe, Dream more than what others think is practical and Expect more than what others think is possible.” – Unknown
My Little Black Book
This is for those in Johannesburg who enjoy theatre. Have you been to Foxwood Theatre in Houghton? We discovered it a couple of years ago. The shows range from revues to comedy to the thought provoking – mostly in English but some in Afrikaans. And there is an excellent restaurant for pre show dinners. You can sign up to their newsletter and watch out for the next show that interests you. http://www.foxwood.co.za/
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Here in South Africa April is the month the school children love and the business owners rue.
It is a month of public holidays, school holidays and mild, sunny autumnal days. Very challenging if you want to get a lot of work finished. However there is plenty of research to show that we are much more productive when we take regular breaks so perhaps we can make this a month of revitalising long weekends and still complete the work?
Later in the month we are off to south east Botswana returning via Herman Charles Bosman country. I have never been to Gaberone nor Groot Marico before, so any advice for what not to miss will be appreciated.
Trust & Respect – Golden keys
One day my daughter commented that she was lucky that I trusted her. My response was that I trusted her because she had never given me a reason not to do so. So it was she who had created her “luck”!
Being respected and trusted are golden keys for leader-managers to be able to help their people to achieve extraordinary results. But I think they are just as important in all our relationships.
One of the most robust discussions I have facilitated in a Conversation that Matters was between around 25 employees of a business unit discussing whether respect was automatically given or had to be earned. There were strong proponents for both extremes and then some who felt it should initially be given by default but the subsequent behaviour would determine whether or not it continued.
It is almost impossible for me to trust someone without respecting them, and vice versa, so I prefer to keep the two terms together.
On a recent programme I was facilitating with a great group of leader-managers, the talented Nikesh made some clever illustrations of the points his small group discussed as well as those from the feedback to the larger group. He was happy for me to share them with you. It is quite fun to work out the meaning of each. Like one of those puzzles in the Sunday paper.
This first one was whilst answering the question “What actions/ behaviours breakdown respect &/or trust?” Which others can you think of?
No matter how well respected or trusted you are it takes very few “poor behaviours” to shatter it. It is a gift we need to treasure.
These next two illustrate suggestions made in answer to the question “What can you as a leader-manager do to earn the respect &/or trust of your team?” Have some fun seeing if you can work them out. And which others can you think of? Then test yourself as to how personally aligned you are to these actions or behaviours.
To what degree do others at work and home respect you? And trust you? If that is already high, well done! I hope you are using that wonderful foundation to build some really effective collaboration.
If it isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, no problem. Think about what behaviours you need to change in yourself and start work on them – one at a time. Bit by bit you’ll get there. At the same time look for people you can respect and trust. It’s a two way street.
© copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved
Quote of the Day
“Trust is the emotional glue that binds followers & leaders together. ~ Warren Bennis & Bert Nanus
My Little Black Book
This is for those of you near to Centurion. With all my family’s sport participation we have spent a lot of time at physios.
As each of the children moved away to study they reluctantly separated from our long time physio Wendy Viviers and found practitioners near to their place of study.
My daughter took ages to find anyone who could meet her high standards. Eventually she found Kobus Maree in Southdowns, Irene. www.kobusmaree.com She appreciated his knowledge and expertise as a physiotherapist as well as his genuine concern for his client’s well being.
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And here we are at the second month of 2014. February always flies by. Those three days less seem to make a huge difference, especially with all the month end/year end type tasks.
I am looking forward to a busy month – we have a new corporate group starting their People Management workshop, last weekend was Round the Island at the Vaal Dam (the world’s largest inland sailing race), and this weekend is the Rocky Horror Picture Show – my rarely seen wild side is excited to be doing the whole dress up and audience participation thing – I am sure that surprised a few people!
And then it’s Valentine’s Day. I ordered a gourmet Valentine’s picnic hamper which I thought was a rather fun alternative to a crowded restaurant.
And the day after Valentine’s I will be donating alcohol infused platelets!
All of that in only the first half of the month. What do you have planned for this month of love? Loving everyone may sound a bit too much for many of us. Perhaps we could concentrate on appreciating ourselves and appreciating those around us?
At the end of January the Theatre on the Square was completely sold out for Anthony Yoko’s annual Jazz Showcase.
I am a relative newcomer to jazz appreciation so my opinion on the music isn’t reliable – I am just chuffed to be able to recognise some of the standards and know that the funny sounds the singer was making is called skat! But judging by the reactions of my husband and the rest of the audience it really was a very good show with really good musicians.
I did enjoy myself. And I got excited about the factors that I think were making it a successful jazz concert which are just as appropriate for a successful business unit.
The musicians had been brought together by Tony Yoko. He was the “owner” and initiator but he shared leadership throughout. A lot of the time the front man was the singer, Andrew Massey, but all the other musos also took turns to play solos or to lead a number.
I have it on good authority that each of the six musicians plus singer is accomplished. Each performing alone would have been good, but it requires the combination to really make the sound and energy great. Each person’s individual talents (strengths) were used in the most appropriate places to make the whole band (team) achieve more. And no-one’s ego got in the way of an integrated performance.
Jazz fascinates me as there is so much improvisation and spontaneity. It requires the musicians to be adaptive, flexible and on the ball. In today’s business world we also need to be able to create and adapt. We need everyone to feel free to contribute their ideas and yet we must remain cohesive to execute.
The musos were communicating with each other all the time – a word, a hand sign, a look and someone would take over with a solo, and then a change in pace or volume of their playing and the others would know to join back in.
For the Showcase Tony, who himself must be in sixties and is a great drummer / percussionist, had focused on giving exposure to young talent.
At the interval he bumped into an old (and apparently well known) saxophonist friend in the car park, who then joined them on stage for the second half. It was amazing to see how sensitively he slotted in. He would listen to a few notes, decide which of his two instruments to use, try a little bit softly and when it was blending he’d really come in and add to the production.
And the others loved it, they weren’t threatened, and they made way for him to do a few solos as well. (His second instrument was a soprano sax which I thought was a clarinet – okay I still have a lot to learn!)
Much of my enjoyment was seeing how much fun they were all having. They loved playing and being creative and there was a tangible air of appreciating each other.
They were all professionals motivated by the satisfaction of being able to do something well, for a purpose, connected to people they respect, and with freedom of choice.
© copyright 2014 – All Rights Reserved
Quote of the Day
“Always look for opportunities to challenge your best people because many of them are like sticks of dynamite; the power’s on the inside, but nothing happens until the fuse gets lit.” ~ Mac Anderson
My Little Black Book
If you would like to take up the challenge to focus on appreciating those around you, a great book to read is “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” by Gary Chapman and Paul White.
If you like jazz or blues in Johannesburg you can get updates on forthcoming productions by signing up to Tony’s mailing list (contact me for the address)
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