Creating a What’s Going Well culture puts team members in an optimistic frame of mind, and interpersonal bonds and team relationships are strengthened at a deeper and more sincere level. The strong relationships that result lead to increased job satisfaction, engagement and loyalty. Acts of cooperation, teamwork and empathy generated by a What’s Going Well culture can also directly influence an organization’s bottom line. A What’s Going Well culture is a competitive advantage for organizations that implement it broadly and systematically.
Since we only have the capacity to focus on a fraction of what we encounter, our brains are constantly filtering what gets our attention. In this filtering process, our brains are easily distracted because we are wired to pay attention to any new stimulus, especially if we perceive it to be a threat to our survival. This filtering causes us to have what psychologists call a negativity bias.
Humanity on the whole has never been better off than we are now. The world is safer, we live longer, we are healthier, and many people are wealthier.
But as humans, our brains are naturally wired to cynicism. We’re more likely to focus on the negatives of a situation and not even notice the positives.
Changing our focus to What’s Going Well and rejecting negativity isn’t just about making us happier (though that’s a nice side-effect, too!). When we practice it regularly, it extends far beyond day-to-day joy and becomes a part of who we are. Eventually, we don’t have to work to practice it anymore. It comes to us naturally.
Now that your NCAA Final Four Bracket is busted – thank you University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers! – we can start talking baseball. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the lessons that can be found in baseball. I was not much of a baseball player growing up, but I did make the thirteen-year-old "All Star" Babe Ruth team (I didn’t make it because of skill – there were barely enough 13-year olds in my region to field a team).
As many of you know, March Forth is a day I celebrate in honor of my late brother John. The holiday is meant to remind us to celebrate life and find things that help us move forward. I learned a long time ago that no matter who you are, life will throw you heart-crushing blows but we must keep Marching Forth.
My recent blog post titled Is Your Dog a Better Leader Than You? received a lot of great feedback but also seemed to spark a bit of controversy. Some readers have suggested that their cats have better leadership qualities. It was not my intent to ruffle any feathers – it is of course the year of the dog NOT the cat.
Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Dog! If your year didn't quite get off to the start you wanted, think about using Chinese New Year – this Friday, February 16th – as a reboot!
My late grandfather once told me that if I was going to seek advice from someone who has been where I'm headed, to make sure I only ask people who have a smile on their face. This advice has led me to ask older men and women that are smiling or radiant – what's the secret to life?
Last year, I had the honor and privilege of presenting and keynoting at a number of amazing conferences and organizations. The highlight for me was giving the commencement keynote address at my alma mater, University of Oregon. For bamboo insight and inspiration, watch my 15-minute talk, even if you are not a Duck!
Over the holidays I played lots of board games with my friends and family including one of my favorites, Yahtzee.
Imagine after years of planting, tending and weeding, the bamboo is only a few inches away from breaking the surface of the soil, soon sprouting 90 feet in 60 days. The impatient farmer walks away while the Bamboo Farmer faithfully waters one more day.
No matter how skilled an individual or team is, having the self-discipline to execute on projects and ideas is the single most important skill needed in today's business environment. An individual or team with average talent and skill can outcompete a more talented team if they have mastered the art of discipline.
Everyone has "one of those days" occasionally. Since this is a normal, acceptable part of work, it's important to strategize how you manage after a challenging day at work because it can have impact on a multitude of levels both at work and at home.
In Water The Bamboo, my book on leadership and teamwork, I encourage Bamboo Farmers to create a Bamboo Circle. A Bamboo Circle is made up of interconnected relationships that help a Bamboo Farmer reach their goals.
In my book Water The Bamboo®: Unleashing Teams and Individuals I encourage both individuals and teams to identify and water their bamboo (vision). It takes four to five years of watering for Giant Timber Bamboo to grow over 90 feet in 60 days.
Conflict is normal and sometimes necessary to progress. Many people view conflict as negative but, in reality, it’s not always a bad thing. In fact, it has the potential to bring mission-critical issues to light. After all, conflict is often the result of misaligned expectations, so dealing with conflict the right way can strengthen team communication and improve culture.