Culture

Thought from the Road #004: Coach, Manage, Lead...

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

A good developer friend reminded me on Twitter a few days ago something I used to say to my team:

“ I loved the framing I learned from @gusbalbontin years ago - you need someone to coach you (improve skill), someone to manage you (remove blockers), and someone to lead you (give direction + purpose) “

Let me add, irrespective of those roles being formally part of your job description or title, if you belong to a team (literally always) they are informally your responsibility. You have to always, coach, manage and/or lead, you cannot shake the responsibility if you want to achieve things with others ;-). ...

Culture

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How we behave will determine the culture that we build. At the same time the culture that we build will shape the behaviour we display. So to change our culture, we'll need to change our behaviour.

And this is of course easier said than done.

Because of our social nature, we just can’t help ourselves. The moment a group of individuals comes together; a culture gets formed. People will start determining how they like to interact with each other, what artifacts they like and the meaning of those artefacts. The group will amplify the values and and beliefs they can agree on. As the group starts interacting with other groups the culture gets shaped further and amplified, creating a powerful feedback loop.

This distinction between us and them is one of the most powerful forces driving interaction. The us and them distinction will build cohesion and strengthen the group, however at the same time as these positive emotions towards ‘us’ develop, negative feelings towards ‘them’ are created. Who belongs to ‘us’ and who belongs to ‘them’ is determined by setting and context.

At times when these forces are preventing collaboration, a simple reframe or explicit discussion about the common goal might be all that is needed.

Cultures get formed almost immediately but, like behaviour, might be hard to change. Like any change, this is a two-step process, insight followed by actual change.

Thought from the Road #002: Unrealistic

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

Don’t let anyone’s realistic expectations destroy your unrealistic dreams!

Somebody needs to be unrealistic at some point in time to create new realities.

The damage we unintentionally cause in the development of our kids through the school system is often a worry for me, situations that may seem small have a powerful long lasting impact happen every day.

My 12-year-old and the rest of the class had to do a budgeting exercise at school a few days ago. The idea is to first identify what your income would be in 10 years’ time and then figure housing, expenses, food, etc. and conclude with savings.

He looks up the average income of a professional NFL player, writes down $20m per year and starts the exercise. The teacher says “it’s going to be hard to figure out costs in America....let’s pick something more “realistic”. The teacher then convinces him on a Job as a chef for $70k per year.

I was not impressed. That night I told my kids: “my life has been anything but realistic, someone has to be unrealistic at some point in time for new realities to exist. Our life right now is unrealistic but here we are, forging forward carving our unrealistic path, not someone else’s realistic path. Kids! Unrealistic is critical”

Thought from the Road #001: A Team of One

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Join Gus for another thought from the road, this series comes to you straight from the airport lounges, hotels and AirBnB’s around the world.

Don’t think for a second that Team principles don’t apply to you because you work alone in your business or you have no team in your company.

Team principles apply always in every scenario in which people come together to deliver an outcome. Even a business of one has to work with clients, suppliers, agents.... that’s your team.

For example, we are building a home at the moment and Team still applies for the architect, engineer, landscape architect, my wife, myself and the builder, even if we don’t technically have a business hierarchy with reporting lines and job descriptions...we have to apply the same fundamentals of Team if we hope to succeed at building our home!

What are those principles? We must CARE, TRUST, ADMIRE, RESPECT and have a COMMON GOAL. Start applying team principles to everything you do with all the people you do it with, at work and outside of work, trust me, it works!