The Right Vibe

I sat and watched them interact with each other. Laughing, joking, and connecting. It was their party, I was only there because someone close is now part of this team.

I could have been the outsider, but felt completely at home.

My mind wandered back through all of the interactions I have had with various people on this team over the years.

There was something different about them. Something great.

They all had the Right Vibe.

Vibe: a person’s emotional state or the atmosphere of a place as communicated to and felt by others.

I happened to be sitting next to the owner. I couldn’t help myself.

“I have to share something with you. Over the years I have watched your team, and your people. They have a certain Vibe about them. You are in the health industry, and they all have a certain healing Vibe. You feel it when you walk in the reception area, treatment room, and even this party. Thanks for creating the Right Vibe, it is amazing to witness.”

There is a lot of talk out there now about the culture of an organization being the deciding factor on true success. Many are pointing to the culture (what I like to call the Vibe) of an organization as one of the most important aspects to foster and create.

How can you provide amazing customer service if your Vibe is negative, controlling, and overly micro-managed?

How can you provide health care if your Vibe is unhealthy?

How can you motivate your employees to care about a customer’s needs when your Vibe leaves your employee’s needs unmet?

Think about your Vibe. What is being communicated or felt by others?

It may be time to find the Right Vibe.

Running as a Team

It was an afternoon where the temperature hovered close to freezing when our small group of four decided to run together for the first time. We work together. We talk about running together.

Why not run together?

Running can be pretty solitary.

Running can be you, a pair of shoes, and the road ahead.

Thomas Hobbes described life in a way that a lot of people would describe running: solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

When you run alone, no one sees you fail.

When you run alone, no one sees your flaws.

When you run alone, no one sees you stop on the hill.

Despite the insecurity, the fears, a larger question develops.

Why run together?

When you run together, you share in each others successes.

When you run together, your flaws (that only you notice anyway) seem smaller as the laughter and encouragement arrives.

When you run together, hills seem smaller when you are side by side.

Our team has grown to six, and will grow again next month. Each member of the running team is different.

We run various paces and distances depending on the day, but everyone is running a little faster and a little longer than when we first started.

Life and running doesn’t always have to be as Hobbes described. Maybe he just needed to be part of a team.

The Conclusion

This post will make more sense if you read the original post.

Click here for the original adventure post.

Our oldest daughter’s bucket list had this mountain remaining as we set out for attempt number 2.  She will graduate in a few short days, so it became important to try again before she receives her diploma. For the past few weeks it has been cold, but the weather broke and it became just warm enough to hike, but cold enough to ward off the bugs. Duct tape is now a staple of our packing supplies and there was another round of our youngest’s “dam” jokes as we approached the trail.

There is something strange about trying to achieve something that is difficult when you failed the first time. There was a little more determination combined with a little more seriousness in the plan and the pace.

We couldn’t help but talk about shoes that disintegrated and how the first attempt was not successful. With each passing step the goal seemed within reach. New challenges presented themselves with periodic patches of mud and snow (yes there is still snow here on the trails in April), but we pressed on.

This time we had an adventure without the bonus surprise adventure. Sometimes it feels good to have your plans work out without extra stress that the unexpected brings. Certainly the first attempt helped to prepare for the second and brought with it a focus that was not present during the first try. It was interesting to notice the lack of complaining and an increase in encouraging each other that accompanied this new attempt, even though the route was much steeper than the original.

We are going to make it.

You can do it, we are almost there.

I suppose the conclusion is this:

Our first attempts that result in failure can be what helps us succeed IF we try again. Trying again can be hard, but sometimes the view at the top becomes well worth the effort.

The Mountain Top

Let the Teamwork Begin

Snow Snow Snow

It snowed. It snowed a lot. It is still snowing. In the next few hours the daunting task of digging out begins in our neighborhood, and neighborhoods all around us. These events cause a strange sense of teamwork that doesn’t always exist as we rally together and help each other. I have said before that sometimes snow is just what we need.

Let the teamwork begin! Now we just need a better way to keep this teamwork going when the snow isn’t falling outside.

How Do You Define Teamwork?

Teamwork.  There is a seemingly endless list of how to define it, thousands of books written about it, and the notion that we should all strive to obtain it.  Teamwork has been rattling around in my head lately, and I was trying to remember a defining moment for any team where I was a member.  Nothing was coming to mind until I met recently with a member of this team for breakfast.

This particular team had been through some rough times together, but also celebrated well during successes.  The defining moment that I remember was during a meeting where we had been instructed to reduce our budget.  It wasn’t just a little reduction, the reduction was large enough that it would cause everyone in the room to take a hit.  I had instructed each of them to bring a list of what was important that needed to remain, and a list of what could be reduced.

One by one, each member of this team shared their list.  The items on the lists were important things that would have a significant impact on each person’s part of the operation, their ability to provide the right level of service.  After all the lists were read, it became quiet.  Part of me expected the real battle to begin, and each person around that table would start lobbying about why their department should be retained, and someone else should take the cut.

It was at this very moment that I witnessed teamwork, and what I heard had and still has an impact on me.

“After listening to the group, their lists seem more important to the overall operation.  I think I can reduce a little more.”

“I can take the hit, let’s make sure that other department has what it needs this year.”

“I don’t know how I am going to explain this to my employees, but I am withdrawing my list of needs, the other lists just seem more pressing.”

One by one, every member of that team saw the overall organization and operation as more important than their particular department, silo, or fiefdom.  Each member of that team knew that the only “win” was ensuring that the organization “won” not whether or not it was a “win” for them individually.

How should we define teamwork?  Maybe the definition is simple.  Teamwork is when everyone that is working together can look beyond themselves, see the larger picture, and “take the hit” for others.