Tug of War

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When working on a team. Your team is your first priority when it comes to success. You should commit to them and likewise, they should commit to you. Your commitment to each other is what glues you together as a team. Working together creates the best opportunity for success. Working against each other or in silos is a recipe for disaster and most likely the failure of your whole team.

The next stage of an organization when it is too big to be one team is when a team runs into trouble. You are now many teams working in relationship with one another. Each team must play their role to their best. Each team member must play their role for the success of the team. The teams’ success leads to the organization’s success.

The squeeze comes in when members of teams aren’t helping members of other teams succeed. When someone is not on your team, it is easy to see them as a distraction. They are pulling you away from your tasks and focus. Invading your time. Slowing down progress to your mission. It will seem easier to work around them or without them instead of involving them in the process for the greatest success.

We need each other, even when we are on different teams. We are still working together to succeed. We cannot succeed unless we are willing to involve more people than our team. We are all working for the same org, vision, and mission. Bringing in more voices from outside yourself with give a better result. More than success, there is excellence.

You will know the difference. Your team will know the difference. Your organization will know the difference.

How do you react to people on other teams than your own? What do others think of you when working with you? How do you leverage your skills and abilities for the success of others? How do you work with other people to leverage their skills and abilities for the success of your team and organization?

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Developing Hunger

I am an easygoing and laid back person. When appropriate, I have a sense of urgency. I generally try to be intentional and use good judgement for when I have urgency or high standards. More often than not, this is a feature of my personality not a bug.

This becomes a bug when I cannot drive others to get tasks done and the tasks have no timeframe. It becomes a bug when I bring up things that are important to me. It is a bug when I think something needs to be addressed and there is no looming deadline.

My selfdefense mechanism thus far has been apathy. When I bring up an issue that is important to me, when it is not received and used, I shrug and let it go. I can only do so much. When I bring up an issue I care so much about, I have to work hard to let myself not get hurt when others don't care about it.

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I have to develop a hunger in others for the meat of the issue. I have to develop a devouring hunger in them to satiate the need before they die of starvation. Developing a hunger in others takes time. But long term, I will be more satisfied because I will be adding value to others and the group as a whole.

Developing a hunger in others to resolve an issue will help me be more fulfilled in my role, position, and relationship.

How do you find value in your role? When have you found the most value from what you do? When have you provided the most value to others? How do you seek out opportunities to add value to other people?

BONUS: How do you discern between urgent moments and non-urgent moments? How do you work to develop a sense of urgency in others when they normally would not be urgent? Do others think you are always urgent or never urgent? How can you better develop a healthy sense of urgency in yourself?

Picking Winners

March Madness. Fantasy Football. Fantasy Baseball. Fantasy Basketball.

They are all systems of picking winners. Picking winners based on statistics and biases developed by the “experts” who spend a bunch of time with the statistics and biases that we all have access to.

They then use those numbers to quantify a player or team’s value summed up in a number of points they might profit your team or bracket as you play against another team. This is purely speculative based on people’s opinions and how high or low profile the given team or player is.

When choosing a player or team for any given matchup, we choose based on our own hopes and dreams of what we hope the player will do. We choose based on our own biases. We choose because we think based on the commentary we like from the “experts” we agree with.

We choose not because we have any hard and fast data. We choose because we are hopeful.

We choose because we are biased to like our own opinion and listen to the people we agree with most.

Unfortunately, this is also how we choose our political views, financial views, family views, and spiritual views. We find the thing that sounds the best coming from an expert and go along with it. We do not spend the time challenging the assumptions and research made by the “experts” we agree with.

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What “experts” are you listening to? What does the other side say about your “expert”? When was the last time you reviewed your values and beliefs based on what the expert thinks and believes? Who are the experts in your life helping you along?

BONUS EXERCISE: Take a minute with one of your values or beliefs and assume that you are wrong. Now look up some articles proving you are wrong. What do they say? What valid points do they make? How can you improve yourself using one of these valid points?

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TEAM

Team. There is no I in team, but there is a t-e-a-m. As if we’ve always overlooked what team can offer versus what it should not be. Team cannot consist of one person working for their own best. But it should consist of a group of people willing to be committed to a common goal. A team does need trust. We need to be able to rely on one another and after we ask each other for help or to get something done, we need to be able to know it will happen and not have to check, double check, and triple check whether or not it will happen.

A team needs to have a common definition of excellence. What does it look like to succeed? What does the goal look like and where will we not make any sacrifices or compromises? We are working together. We are committed not only to the success of each other but also the success of our collective whole. A team knows what a win looks like and what excellence looks like within the win.

A team should also hold each other accountable. When someone on the team is not measuring up, we call it out and help them see how they can do it better for the sake of the team. It is not a personal attack, it is a minor course correction for a ship or making sure the nuts and bolts are tightened all the way. Accountability is also a celebration of success. It is a calling out of places where a team member and the team have been able to step out and succeed in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. Being able to have accountability on the team makes excellence that much better and encourages the trust to continue.

Finally, a team needs members. Not warm bodies. Members. People who are sold out and committed to the team. People who are willing to take a hit every once in a while so the team can win. People who are taken care of by the other members when life has them down. Members of a team are sold out and are willing to sign up to be trustworthy. They agree with the common goal of excellence for the team, and they are willing to subject themselves to the accountability of the team and hold others to the standard of excellence the team has agreed to uphold.

Team is much more than a fun word not containing the letter, ‘i’. Team is built on trust, excellence, accountability, and members. T.E.A.M. There is much more to be said on these four elements and these four elements and far more to be said of what makes a team. These are, by far, not even the tip of the iceberg in reference to teams and teamwork. But these are the four elements I have and continue to experience and therefore these are four elements I can account for the value of them.

What team are you on? Which element do you struggle with maintaining? Do you have a clear picture of what excellence looks like for your team? Do you struggle with holding other people accountable (both positive and negative)? Can you trust your teammates? Do they know you trust them? Is someone on your team not a fully committed member? Is it time to help them find a new place to be a member or show them what it means to escalate their commitment and investment to the team as a fully fledged member?

Teammate,

–JT

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Where I Belong

Belonging. I want to belong. I want to belong to an identifiable group. A chunk of people who all align similarly and are pointed the same direction. A college sports team. A professional sports team. A group of nerds playing video games. A group of people listening to the same podcast, commenting on the same subreddit, or even so simple as to rock out to the same concert. 

I want to belong. 

Most often I know what group of people someone ascribes to by their use of 'we.' I also know what group of people I am ascribing to by my own use of 'we.' We beat the boss in the game, we beat the other team at sportsball, we were talking about topic XYZ online last night. 

When I start to make these comments, and include myself in these 'we' statements I know I have often overstepped my bounds. When I refer to the sports team and say, 'we are playing so-and-so.' It is so incredibly inaccurate but I so want to be a part of the team. I want to belong to this group. I want to be a part of the moment, even if my part is to be on the sidelines cheering along. 

The key is to make sure I am focused on being a part of the right things. 

What are you trying to be apart of? Who is your 'we'?

Belonging,

–JT

Levitated Mass

Levitated Mass is a 340 ton boulder sculpted by Michael Heizer on the campus of Los Angeles County Museum of Art. For more information on it, use the link above to read up and learn about it. It catches my eye because it is such a serious undertaking. It is not a small feat to do anything from it. Much less, a man sculpted it and had the vision to move it to move it and get it positioned correctly, supported correctly, and safe for visitors. 

He could not have done this by himself. He needed help. Simply based on the idea of moving it, he could not have done it alone. Given the full spectrum of ideation to execution, he needed the help of so many other people. 

I resonate with the need to get help from other people. I am in the midst of a phase of life where my goals are larger than myself. My tasks are require more than I can give. The sum of my life does not fulfill the needs of the community I am in. I am forced to connect with other people. Use different teams than I am familiar with. I am forced to rely on people I have never relied on before and I am entrusted to execute at a higher level than I have ever asked of myself. 

I feel as if I am being called to develop teams to move the Levitated Mass in my own life. 

The beautiful part about the Levitated Mass is it is an insurmountable rock. You do not have to have the same 340 ton boulder as I do. Your boulder can be completely different and just as Earth shattering, if not more so. 

I am learning to ask for help in moving my boulder. I am learning who I can ask and who I cannot ask. I am learning how to ask people. I am learning to find new people to ask and I am learning to take charge.

What is your Levitated Mass? Whose help do you need in creating it?

Massively,

–JT

Being Me

“Everything in moderation, even moderation” –Oscar Wilde

Good quote. It is especially weighty when put into the context of team and identity. The greater good of the team, community, group, or collective is always superior to the need of the one. This truth must be taken in moderation. This truth is empirical so long as I don’t completely sacrifice myself to ‘better’ the team. the best analogy I can come up with is snow. 

Snow is made up of trillions upon trillions of tiny snowflakes. These flakes all work together to become a beautiful, serene, blanket of white fluffy powder. I especially like snow when it is in the mountains and not on the roads. All of these flakes work together to not be individual snowflakes, but instead a mound of snow to ski on, snowboard, sled, snowmen, snowballs, and car accidents. It is the collective power of snowflakes working together to become this powerful snow that can take lives or insulate the winter wheat. Snowflakes must work together. However, never does one snowflake have to give up the beautiful ornate design it has to be a part of the collective. The design of this flake is never placed at a higher importance than the group, however, it is still existent from the moment it forms as a frosty snowflake to the moment it melts into a puddle. The flake has a purpose and identity that is necessary for the collective’s success. 

I have a purpose and an identity that is necessary for my team’s success. I had given up my identity, buried it in a bucket somewhere, shoved it in a closet, and ignored it. However, it was waiting for me. 

I’ve been cleaning out my closets. Emptying my buckets. Now I am who I am and I am going to be me, unapologetically. 

For the sake of the team, 

My friends, 

My family,

And everyone I get to be with.

How much of your identity have you given up for those you love? Have you given up too much or too little?

Being me,

–JT