The Patriots: Great Players, Great Team

The Patriots have their perfect season. It requires certain qualities to achieve such a feat. Here's one: Great players who become, together, more than they could ever be alone.

It takes great skill to achieve what the Pats did. Brady, Moss, Bruschi and others are simply remarkable players. Developing your natural talent matters. Developing your natural talent and then adding it to the natural talent of a team is AMAZING. When individual talent meets collective team skill and commitment, watch out--amazing thing are going to happen. This is true for teams and organizations of any type. Part of the reward of developing one's individual talent comes when he or she finds others who are as committed to skill development, and they create something together that is greater than anyone's single achievement.

Greatness, at the team or organizational level, is clearly a both/and proposition. It takes both great individual players and great teaming to become extraordinary.

The Patriots: Great Players, Great Team2007-12-31T06:55:14+00:00

Organizational infections

In the post just below, I wrote about psychic infections, based on a quote from Carl Jung. At the end of that post, I mused about the possibility of organizational infections. Can an organization have what we might call a collective psychic infection?

For a few decades theorists and practitioners alike have suggested that every organization has a distinct culture. From the perspective of organizational culture, it would be pretty easy to make the leap to organizational infections. A few possible infections:

    The group think culture

    The no one takes responsibility for anything culture

    The blame culture (which is really fun if number two also exists in the same organization)

    The burn out culture

    The bitingly sarcastic culture

OK, so you get the point.

The good news is that these infections can be healed. It takes commitment to do so, but it is worth it--just like it's worth it to heal our physical and psychic infections. The first step in healing a organizational infection is awareness. Paying attention to symptoms and even asking non-whining -solution-based employees if they see any infections can bring the infection to the surface. Then, you're in a better place to know what is required to heal it.

Organizational infections2007-12-30T06:00:00+00:00

Do you have a (psychic) infection?

In Carl Jung's book, The Undiscovered Self, he used the phrase, psychic infection to describe all sorts of psychological woes that can overtake us. The phrase stuck out to me because it aptly describes what happens to us when we are run down internally. We get sick psychologically much in the same way our body catches an infection. Think about the symptoms we tend to associate with a bodily infection:  fever, sore throat, weariness, aching and so forth. Now think of those same symptoms from a psychological standpoint, and each one becomes a fairly clear metaphor of what can happen to us psychologically and emotionally.

I could go on and on pushing this metaphor to the limits, but that would get old really fast. Suffice to say, that the phrase, without a lot of editorializing, has merit and might help us understand why sometimes we are psychologically and emotionally run down. We've "caught" something and need to rest and take care of our inner life.

OK, let's push it just a bit more...

I wonder if organizations can get infections. Hmmm...stay tuned.

Do you have a (psychic) infection?2007-12-29T06:00:00+00:00

Why be normal?

Reading some Carl Jung these days. Here is a great quote:

----
To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.
----

No comment needed.

Why be normal?2007-12-28T14:42:30+00:00

The art of dialogue

I'm doing research for my next book, set to come out fall 2008, and I bumped into a great thinker who shaped a lot of my thinking during my doctoral studies.

David Bohm was a quantum physicist who influenced a number of domains, including the field of human interaction through dialogue. Dialogue is different than debate or discussion in that it invites the participants to converse in a manner that leads them to insights they could not have found on their own. It is the collective conversation that yields the better way.

One of the concepts Bohm explored was the idea of suspension. Here's a quote from him on suspension.
----------

Suspension of thoughts, impulses, judgments, etc., lies at the very heart
of dialogue. It is one of its most important new aspects. It is not easily
grasped because the activity is both unfamiliar and subtle. Suspension
involves attention, listening and looking and is essential to exploration.
Speaking is necessary, of course, for without it there would be little in
the dialogue to explore, But the actual process of exploration takes place
during listening -- not only to others but to oneself. Suspension involves
exposing your reactions, impulses, feelings and opinions in such a way that
they can be seen and felt within your own psyche and also be reflected back
by others in the group.

-------------

The power of suspension comes when I'm willing to see the limits of my own opinions, ideas and convictions without denying their importance. When a group can do this together, each one can contribute something to the better way. AND, each person can release the part of his or her thinking that isn't needed or maybe even toxic. This is why dialogue requires other people. It's harder to see the toxicity in my thinking when I'm sitting by myself. Because of course, I think I'm right about everything...well at least everything important (insert sarcasm here).

The art of dialogue2007-12-26T07:14:31+00:00

T-mobile’s (phone) customer service

Since I'm stuck on customer service right now, I have to say that t-mobile's (phone) customer service is the best, BY FAR, I've ever encountered. I've talked to them enough times to conclude it's not a fluke. The reps are friendly, patient, stick with you until the problem is resolved AND are not in a hurry to get you off the phone.

Hmmm...maybe that's the beginnings of good descriptors for customer service:

    1) Friendly (connecting)

    2) Patient (sustained understanding)

    3) Persevering (curious endurance)

    4)  Engaged (staying with)

Imagine if your customers/clients/or whoever felt those qualities from you and your team.

T-mobile’s (phone) customer service2007-12-22T05:00:00+00:00

A tale of two customer service approaches

I'm sitting, take a wild guess, at a Starbucks. For some reason I wasn't able to connect to t-mobile this morning. It made me wonder if something was wrong with t-mobile. I walked up to the Barista's at the counter (two ladies).

Dave: I think something might be wrong with the t-mobile connection. Are you able to reset the system?

Barista One: Oh, we don't have anything to do with that. Sorry.

Barista Two: So, it's not working

Dave: It doesn't seem to be. It could be on my end.

Barista One: Well, you'll have to call them. Sorry.

Barista Two: Would you like us to call them for you? We'd be glad to?

Dave: Oh, that's OK, thanks, but I've called them before. I can do it.

Barista Two: Are you sure? I'm sorry you're having trouble.

Dave: No problem.

Barista One: (Silence)

The difference in customer service, in this moment, could not have been more strikingly different. Barista one, no help at all. She wasn't rude or mean or distant. Just, no help. Barista two, nothing but help and concern. As each Barista said their "lines" in this short one act play, the juxtaposition was stark.

What is customer service if it's not, help?

A tale of two customer service approaches2007-12-21T06:40:10+00:00

If you’re going to offer a deal, at least make it a real one

I'm sitting in a Starbucks right now. As I look out the window, I can see a sign near the road detailing a promotional offer by Curves--a newer gym concept that markets primarily, or maybe exclusively, to women. It seems to be an interesting concept, and I see them popping up all over.

OK, so, the sign reads:

    Curves: No dues til 2008!

Um, that's in 12 days. The sign hasn't been there all that long. So, I'm wondering where  the "deal" is in this. I get 12 free days? I guess that's something.

When a promotional offer makes a customer wonder, "where's the deal?" you might want to rethink the offer.

If you’re going to offer a deal, at least make it a real one2007-12-20T07:22:38+00:00

James Taylor: One Man Band

I recently picked up James Taylor's new CD and DVD, One Man Band.

Taylor's life is a great example of mastery. To me, mastery is a long walk in the same direction. For Taylor, the long walk is his music, and more importantly, his life. If you like Taylor, this is a must. Not only is it a great experience, but so much of his life and personality comes out in the DVD. He brings you in, makes you feel at home, and shares his music and his soul.

James Taylor: One Man Band2007-12-19T06:35:31+00:00

Compassionate Candor: A small practice that can make a big difference (part four)

Yesterday, I did my monthly tele-seminar on, Four Small Practices That Can Make a Big Difference: Increase your productivity by cultivating the little, but really important, things.

You can listen to it here.

One of the four practices we explored during the tele-seminar was what I call, compassionate candor.

Compassionate candor is the ability to speak one's ideas and convictions (about whatever) in a way that is clear, authentic, direct, gentle and kind. It's the combination that so critical. Take a listen to the seminar and learn more about compassionate candor.

 

Compassionate Candor: A small practice that can make a big difference (part four)2007-12-18T08:25:18+00:00

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Written by Dave Fleming