Tag Archives: teamwork

PMP:078 How To Respond to Resistance

The other day, a principal friend emailed me this question:

Photo by chuck johnson – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License https://www.flickr.com/photos/63038309@N00

>>Will, I’d like your thoughts on something I grapple with: that is the importance I place on staff approval of what I do or present…the need to be liked I know is crazy and irrational, but how do you deal with the knock back, hearing a negative comment or ignoring the nay-sayers etc.?< <

First of all, that is an honest question. I think all of us deal with the tension of wanting to create the best possible environment while also facing the fact that we sometimes disappoint others or fail to motivate them.

And sometimes we need to be willing to go another direction than others, especially if it means we choose to do what is right. But I think there are often two sides to the “school culture coin,” so let’s look three points to consider when weighing the options of leading with courage while also building consensus. Continue reading

PMP:041 What Makes a Productive Team?

When I was boy, my dad bought a long, green Pontiac station wagon.
chicken_eggs
Long before the creation of the mini-van, it was the car of choice for a large family. We spent countless of hours of my childhood driving from the West Coast to the Mississippi River and back during his Navy years.

After we had moved to the farm, Dad retired the old Pontiac in a field beside our first chicken lot. Before long our chickens began to roost and nest around the old car. One day my dad rolled down the windows, and the hens found their way into it. For years to come, the old green station wagon was a makeshift chicken coop.

Yes, we were backwoods folks, but I still have fond memories of spreading corn on the dirt and grass each morning—the red, brown, and spotted black hens gently clucking and jostling around my feet.

Hens are interesting creatures: they feed together, warn one another of impending danger, and huddle close for warmth. They are instinctively team players unless they identify another chicken they perceive as a threat. Then they can become vicious in isolating or attacking the culprit.

Heffernan: Lessons on Laying Hens

Last week I was reminded of chickens when I watched a great TedTalk presentation by Margaret Heffernan, businesswoman and consultant, who uses the research by William Muer to inform others about what truly makes some groups more productive than others. Continue reading

Becoming Better: How You Influence Growth

Last weekend I traveled with my son, Jack, and his Cub Scout pack to a joint campout with an older Boy Scout troop.
batfish
It was a perfect October weekend: 70’s with sun and breeze; evening temperatures in the 50’s—cold enough that a sleeping bag was the perfect cocoon for tent sleeping.

Although Jack and I have camped a lot, this was my first experience watching a Boy Scout troop at a campout. Throughout the whole experience, the boys were in charge. During mealtime, the senior patrol leader, a ninth grader, separated the group of 23 boys into three groups. Each had their own food preparation area, menus they had created, food they had procured, and tasks assigned.

Whenever the entire group needed to be addressed, the senior patrol leader would call them together, hold up a Scout sign (three fingers), and everyone would go silent as they held up their fingers in response.

That night the boys had a special treat: they were given a tour of the U.S.S. Batfish, a retired World War II submersible boat that once toured the Pacific and survived. Its maiden crew of 80 was confined to tiny spaces where each man played essential tasks: repairing engines, launching torpedoes, radioing signals, navigating with gauges and periscope, or preparing pastries for hungry crew members.

After the tour, the boys were allowed to bunk in the berthing room for the night. Two adult leaders stayed on the boat, but I made way back to my tent. Continue reading

What Can We Accomplish Together?

The European Space Agency’s historical comet landing of the space craft Rosetta last week has my head spinning.
image

First of all, imagine organizing a team of scientists and space engineers who design and launch a space craft with the goal of intersecting with a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth.

Then imagine ten years later, your findings show the spacecraft is indeed crossing paths with the targeted comet.

From 500 million kilometers away, your Earth-bound team maneuvers the activation of the space craft’s previously inert power source, it orbits around the comet, and it attempts a landing. Continue reading

4 Lessons in Teamwork from my Son’s Hospital Stay

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my son’s battle and recovery from an infectious disease known as Kawasaki.
image
I am happy to report he is back in school and is happy and energetic. He has made a great recovery with no apparent after-effects.

In addition to the amazing support of our friends, church and community, I was astounded at the phenomenal care he received from his nurses, techs, doctors, and interns.

They were an excellent example of teamwork. In fact, their actions could apply to anyone interested in growing as a team, organization or even as a family.

So here a four lessons in teamwork I have been reflecting on from our experience with my son’s medical team: Continue reading