Here’s what’s been on our minds lately … This is where we post occasional thoughts, observations, photos and ideas that we find relevant and connected to our work.
It’s a new year, it’s a new you. Many of us have some sort of process we go through at the start of the year. For some, it’s a fleeting thought of how they want to do better. For others, it’s writing out goals, or committing to new routines like working out.
My daughter plays a sport in college, and summer conditioning is required for the team to be ready for the upcoming season. One of her teammates was visiting her this past August, and I went with them for a morning workout. I watched as they conducted timed sprints. There were 25 fairly long sprints, each having a timed goal. In between each sprint, there was an allotted time of “recovery.” This consisted of resting time to catch their breath, as well as to send blood and oxygen to their muscles. Then they would sprint again. This went on forever.
Intentional leadership is the key to effective teams and avoiding the riptide of reactivity. Yesterday, I met with a senior leader of a business line who, like many leaders, is highly skilled in executing and operational excellence. The challenge he faces, however, is how to stop reacting and spend more time on the big picture, in order to create the foundation for the organization’s future.
In the early hours of dawn, I wrap my hands around a warm cup of coffee and enjoy a few peaceful minutes to myself. It is in these quiet moments that I am able to pause, and envision what I want to create in this day – and in the days to come. At the start of each year, I carve out a few days to create my visions and set my intentions for the coming year – in my work and in my relationships. On a morning like this, I feel reconnected to this ritual.
I was recently reminded that, in work and life,by the time we reach a giant milestone or accomplish something significant, we are usually already focused on the next project, phase or event. The very next day or even the next moment we are called to start the next “big thing.” Often this next task has been waiting for our attention and demands that we move fast. This quick pivot from achievement to the next project can take a toll. Not only can we miss out on fully celebrating (and appreciating, and learning) our accomplishment, but we all too often can find ourselves not taking the time to replenish our energy before tackling what lies ahead.
What is the glue that makes some teams outperform others? In addition to known factors such as technical competence, team purpose and objectives, and effective communication, successful teams have rituals. A ritual, in its most basic form, is an honored practice that is part of a community’s culture. From singing the national anthem at the start of a major sporting event, to the recitation of a pledge by students at the start of a school day, these rituals are signals of a cultural commitment that joins people together.