I enjoyed a recent column in our Scottsdale Republic by Michael Ryan. He published a poem tiled; “Which am I? “ He was not sure who the author was but the message lives even stronger today than it did seven years ago when he first shared it.
When times get tough we usually see one of two behaviors in organizations;
Teams begin infighting and blame-storming
Teams unite, grow stronger, and emerge as market leaders
Ryan goes on to discuss how “Instead of working together to solve problems, some people seemed more willing to battle one another.” I see this far too often with large clients in which managers retreat to their silos and start shooting missiles at each other instead of competitors.
So I have to ask…
what kind of a team do you work for?….
A market leading team that discusses real issues and works together to solve them?
A market loosing team of managers so concerned with covering their own rear ends they wouldn’t know an unresolved market problem or a roadblock to providing a positive customer experience if it bit them?
No matter how others in your organization may be acting under the pressure you have a choice.
Chose to be a Builder.
( less than 10% of your team will choose to be builders)
I hope you enjoy this poem as much as I did.
Which am I?
I watched them tearing a building down.
A gang of men in a busy town.
With a ho-heave –ho and a lusty yell,
They swung a beam and the sidewall fell.
I asked the foreman, “Are those men skilled.
And the kind you would hire if you had to build?”
He gave me a laugh and said “No indeed,
Just common labor is all I need.
I can easily wreck in a day or two
What other builders have taken a year to do.”
I thought to myself as I went my way,
“Which of these roles have I tried to play?”
Am I a builder that works with care,
Measuring life by the rule and the square?
Am I shaping my deeds to a well-made plan,
Patiently doing the best I can?
Or am I a wrecker who walks the town,
Content with the labor of tearing down?”
– unknown author
I would like to add a few lines….
If you have played the role of wrecker you should not despair,
As wrecking is easy for those who do not care.
To add value, now that is the to pass through the camels eye,
It is there leaders are born solving problems that arise.
Having the courage to often stand alone, to be a part of the solution,
When their peers partake in political pollution.
Ok, so I wasn’t meant to be a poet. But I have worked within a number of organizations that lack leaders willing to be a part of the solution. When we focus on the problem and not attacking the person we are often called “heretics”.
The best way to add value to the team is to be a builder and not a wrecker.
( there are far too few builders these days)
Builders identify and solve problems. They flip what is perceived by most to be a problem and turn them into opportunities to add value.
Wreckers take the easy route quickly criticizing and tearing down creative new ideas and they often overlooking roadblocks and broken processes for perceived personal safety.
So who will you choose to be in 2010?
Thanks again to Michael Ryan for the above Poem.