26 Oct When 9 Is Greater Than 11
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the Igniting Souls Conference 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. It was an intense few days of learning the nuts and bolts of an effective book launch and more. During our third and final lunch break, I scheduled my first ever Uber ride to the airport. This was a big deal to me because I’ve always stayed in my comfort zone with taxis.
A few hours later, my driver, Alan, showed up in his Nissan Sentra. As I approached the vehicle, I noticed that his trunk and half of the back seating area were so jam packed full of personal belongings that I couldn’t even fit my luggage inside. Right away, I began to question my decision to experiment with Uber. Embarrassed, Alan politely said, “I’m so sorry.” I responded, “No worries at all. I have some work in my work bag that I’d like to read and process while we drive.”
Not long into our 30-minute ride, I realized that I was not going to open my work bag, nor look at my phone… and for good reason. Alan and I actually had a real conversation about real life. We talked about our families. Alan had 7 children, so I clearly didn’t need to give him any parenting advice ☺. As we rode, we talked about our careers. Alan travels around the United States during the week, installing and remodeling refrigeration systems for a major grocery store chain. He is incredibly passionate about his job.
I asked him, “Do you work by yourself or with a team?” Alan responded, “I work with a team. The company is thinking about adding another one or two people.” I said, “That’s great. The company must be growing.” He said, “We’re growing, but I hope that they don’t add any people to our team.” Surprised, I asked him why he wouldn’t be excited about more help. Alan said, “Our team of 9 is better and more productive than their team of 11.” I said, “Wow. Why is that? Most people seem to complain about being overworked.” He said, “The bigger teams in our company don’t do what we do. We work hard. We get along. We know what each other does well. We know what each other should avoid. And most importantly, we have fun…most people will tell us we’re even a bit crazy.”
What simple, yet powerful, team building lessons.
- Work hard.
- Get along.
- Know what each other does well.
- Know what each other should avoid.
- Have fun.
I thought to myself, “Would Alan want me on his team? Or, would he cut me?
Ask yourself, “Would Alan want you on his team? Or, would he cut you?
…and just like that, we arrived at Port Columbus International Airport. Alan parked, popped the trunk, and jumped out of the car to help me. By the time Alan realized that my luggage was in the back seat, I had already grabbed it. We understandably had a good chuckle. I thanked him for the ride, and we went our separate ways. My big regret is that I didn’t thank him for extending my conference with a bonus team building session.
Alan, thank you for inspiring me to be a better team member.
ACTION: Would Alan want you on his team? If you’re 100% sure that he would, congratulations. If you’re unsure like me, review his 5 tips for better teamwork: work hard, get along, know what each other does well, know what each other should avoid, and have fun. What skill do you need to take responsibility for improving? Become the team member that you’ve always wanted to be by developing that skill with laser focus.
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