Imagine going to a music concert and, during the performance, each instrument section (or individual player) tried to outshine the others.
It would be awful to watch and probably even worse to listen to. That’s because you expect this group of people to be working together to reach their outcome - not trying to outshine each other.
Yet this is what happens in many work places.
There is competition between departments and between people inside departments. Often, the dark side of competition also creeps in - withholding information, internal politics, and sabotaging other people’s efforts.
How can organizations make use of the spirit of competition but try to keep out the destructive parts? If only there was a way.
Ah, but there is.
If you were like me, as a kid, you faced change head on and did so pretty often.
Every year, you’d get a new teacher, were put in a new class or sent to various lessons, played on new sports teams. In summer, you’d go to camps with new kids and group leaders.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever remember being asked, “Hey Paul, would you like to do this or that?” I just remember ending up in a lot of new situations. It just happened and I had to deal.
We may not have realized it but, as kids, change was around every corner and yes, sometimes it was scary. But you know what? We dealt and I don’t ever remember complaining about “change”.
We had resilience.
So now that we’re all grown up, where did our resilience go, and more importantly – how can we get it back?
You know who I’m talking about: they clip their nails at their desk, they air out their smelly feet right next to you, they lick the lid of their Tupperware container in a lunch meeting, they seem to know nothing about personal buffer zones.
Like me I am sure you have been to more than one dinner party where you’ve heard people complaining about a colleague who simply drives them nuts.
It’s a problem that comes back time and time again because people are people and gosh darn it we’re sensitive creatures… well except for “those guys”, right?
Sometimes, we can’t put our finger on why someone really irritates us. Sometimes, we could make a list a mile long.
Does our tendency to find some people around us very irritating make us bad people? No, it makes us very human. The question is, what we can do about it?
Like many of you this time of year, I recently got back from a summer holiday.
One of the constants for our family while on holiday is eating in restaurants. And aside from enjoying a great meal, I find restaurants to be a great place to see engagement and collaboration in action all built around the biggy – customer service.
One night, a particular place stood out for me, not just because of the great food but because of the amazing service.
The star of the night (other than the food) was our waiter.
Supremely confident, knowledgeable, and obviously unflappable. I couldn’t help but notice how happy he was. He was laughing, smiling and carrying on, having great interactions with every table. I had to know how he got through these nights and more importantly I had to know his secret to be being so happy at work.
When I first started on my path to becoming a professional musician I didn’t realize that being able to listen well was going to be my survival skill.
I didn’t realize that it didn’t matter how many notes I could play on whichever instrument.
I didn’t realize that I could make or break a rehearsal or performance by how much I used my listening skills, thereby lengthening or shortening my career.
Fortunately for me, I learned to listen and listen well. And when I really think of it now, over the years, I have listened more than I have played, and that’s a good thing. I'll repeat that - I have listened more than I have played. Many thanks to my teachers and colleagues for telling me ( No, yelling at me) to "LISTEN!".
How about you? How many times have you thought about saying it to a colleague or employee: “I wish you would just listen more?”
The other night I took my kids to a large destination park and I was struck by how many different cultures there were in that one place.
I hadn’t been there for a couple of years and that night I was truly amazed at what an amazing cultural mosaic Canada has become. As I stood there looking at all the different faces around me, it made me realize I don’t know as much about the world (and its people) as I probably should.
I’ve always had a strong interest in the different cultures that inhabit our world (especially their music) but sometimes I have trouble keeping all the details straight.
For example, I sometimes forget what religion is dominant in a certain area of the world, or I can’t recall what might have happened historically in a particular region or what the native language might be. (I knew I shouldn’t have blown off history class in high school).
Why does that matter, you ask?
This is a special blog post featuring my interview with on the Business Innovation Podcast hosted by Michael Martino and Vince Mirabelli. This episode is about how to collaborate more effectively. I wanted to share it with you because I think this topic is so important.
If you are not familiar with the Business Innovation Podcast they refer to it as a long form conversation with guests exploring innovative ways to improve and expand your business - with lots of laughs and entertainment along the way.
In this episode I share some stories and insights about