Is your TEAM a TEAM?

Is your TEAM a TEAM?

It has been an exciting week in the sports world to say the least…. NBA  FINALS  Cleveland became CHAMPS and I’m watching the final match in COPA AMERICA  Argentina vs Chili in OT as I’m writing this blog!

There’s no question that we are seeing TEAMS at work  where collaboration rules the day!

Can you say the same of your TEAM?

Not too long ago, I got to observe a group of team members in a team building session. I was under the impression that this group of staff members worked well together and looked after each other. Looks can be deceiving!

It didn’t take more than 5 minutes into the meeting as they all sat in a circle to observe that something was desperately wrong with this group. Their body language was screaming dysfunction, resentment and discordance.

It was time for some honest critical feedback and reset of the team dynamics. I stepped out at this point in time and let a very capable coach take over to start with first step of recovery by getting the TEAM to admit that they were merely a GROUP of staffers working in the same area and not clicking on all cylinders.

I have never seen a GROUP of people WIN much of anything however I can think of the Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Warriors and now Cleveland who elevated team of players into the stratosphere of performance. WHY and HOW did this happen one could ask?

They understood their mission, their individual roles, they put TEAM before SELF or EGO! The TEAM came together and celebrated WINS and mourned LOSSES spending numerous hours analyzing WHY they lost without placing blame. The TEAM looked at failure as an opportunity for improvement.

Your lesson, don’t assume you have a TEAM working for your! Take your time to observe them in a group session, ask the right questions in a safe environment and take advantage to either start building a TEAM or to strengthen your TEAM!



In the DARK!

In the DARK!

Last week, I experienced being blind for a short hour. It had an tremendous impact on me from two standpoints. First, I felt vulnerable, I was in need of support and security. Secondly, I noticed that I heavily relied on  my hearing which allowed me to be more intense in both receiving and processing information. Honestly, I can still remember every sound and sensation I felt.

Over the next few days I tried to come up with ways to use this in our workplace allowing many to experience this as well with hope that they too will have a more intense learning experience.

It was not until I walked into our conference room this past Friday, that I noticed a lack of modern technology. This was too good of an opportunity to pass up. It was time for a large experiment of being in the dark with approximately 50 unassuming attendees.
We shut the blinds allowing minimal light to penetrate into the room. I waited to turn off the lights after a short introduction and request to participate with an open mind!

Next, the room went dark and for the next 30 minutes, I presented a talk on “Viral Conversations”.

I only one person dozed off for a few minutes and not a single person felt the need to check their cellphone either.

At the conclusion, only the overwhelming smell of fresh oven baked pizza caused a minor distraction.

I was itching to find out how it was received by the audience…did they think I was crazy or was it a mad success?

The feedback and comments were 95% positive and each felt a similar experience as I did earlier in the week. Attendees verbalized  that they were able to receive and process information at a heightened awareness level.

Let’s hope that the information is not only stored but also used going forward.

I will have to do this again.

Let’s meet in the DARK!




Once upon a time we met a group of 60 managers, directors and executives at a far away girl scouts camp to conduct mysterious team building exercises. As teams arrived highly skeptical of our intend, they gathered in a meeting hall to be introduced to today’s adventures.  Nervously looking around for familiar faces, trying to find security within a foreign environment, our facilitators broke the ice by conducting a simple but powerful team building exercise.

It sounds so dramatic but in reality, our teams were pumped for action and passionate about being away from the daily hustle to improve their triad of leadership and team dynamics in an all day off-site event.

It was an amazing day of discovery, getting to know each other on a whole another level, learning, sharing and coaching each other. I could write about each event but rather would spend a few minutes in review and discuss our findings and “Aha” moments from which we all can learn.

Top 10 list:

  1. Communications, Communications, and Communications
  2. Establishing a sense of urgency
  3. Working with clarity
  4. Investing time to learn new skills before executing a project
  5. Shared learning
  6. Alpha personalities MUST learn/listen to talented employees on all levels of the organization
  7. Working in synergy breaking down silos
  8. Listening a vital skill
  9. Leaders must lead
  10. Have FUN!

One of the most powerful teaching tools was to blindfold team members for duration of a game that lasted ~45 minutes. It was an eye opening experience no pun intended!

I would recommend that next time you meet with your peers, blindfold 50% of the room before you conduct the meeting. Post-meeting, interview each attendee and get feedback from their perspective……it will be amazing to learn that the blindfolded participant listening skills were put on steroids and will likely express that they got more from the meeting than they normally would have…. why, no distractions, feeling vulnerable, focus on senses that function, etc.

Today was an awesome day full of POSITUDE!



Vital Conversations!

Vital Conversations!

When was the last time you executed a flawless VITAL conversation? Most will be scratching your hear right now and after some deep soul searching will conclude that you have avoided more VITAL conversations than you have eve conducted.

Highly effective leaders and certainly a positude leader will have learned to embrace vital conversation to strengthen relationship even when coaching, mentoring or counseling an under performing staff member.

I deeply appreciate the human psychology and fears to critically address a shortcoming but failure to learn HOW to conduct a VITAL conversation will lead to stagnation in your career.

Gone are the days that you call someone into your office and go up one side and down the other side to address failures in the workplace. GREAT organizations will have a code of conduct, service excellence or work place imitation/violence policy that prohibits such behaviors. If your organization doesn’t have this in place, start working on one.

Back to the VITAL conversation….. inevitable you will experience moments/conduct that is less than desirable and in need of discussion. Instead of addressing this in front of others, start by creating a safe environment whereby a discussion can be held with the mindset to creating a WIN/WIN outcome based on principles of mutual respect, common bond and teachability.

After carefully selecting the right place to conduct such a conversation, start by using your deep listening skills….give your staff member some time to explain him or herself, ask appropriate questions to clarify situation and repeat back a summary of what you were told to ensure you are on the same page. Take your time asking/answering questions, you must get this right!

Next address the core issue directly, firmly but with respect outlining a desired behavior under similar circumstances. By remaining open minded and teachable yourself, you can start the process of healing and negotiating a WIN/WIN scenario.

Using the 80/20 rule, you will be able to create a WIN 80% of the time and see a changed behavior and improved engagement by the staff member. If it goes super well, your staff member will be able to reflect upon their own behaviors and show gratitude at some point in time for confronting the issue head-on.

Many of us become BLIND to our own bad behaviors and a structured VITAL conversation can bring positude back into the workplace and significantly strengthen your relationships.

It’s like exercising a muscle, if you don’t do it often enough, you will never get GREAT at it!


Ice Cream Socials!

Ice Cream Socials!

Two scopes of vanilla, whip cream and a cherry on top!

 Mouthwatering and no CALORIES… NOT!

As a TEAM you have been working hard for a common goal and after months of preparation you have finally reached the peak… are you going to perform and succeed or go back to the drawing board to improve.

No matter the outcome, you know your TEAM has worked hard to exceed expectations and psyched to show case all of their accomplishments. Indeed the TEAM performed as a GREAT TEAM would!

Now what? How are you going to show your appreciation for their hard work? Is it time to write another “Thank You Card” or is it time to mix it up.

As the title eluded to, an “Ice Cream Social” is a PERFECT way to celebrate a TEAM accomplishment. It’s simple but very powerful after all, everybody loves Ice Cream and it’s even better when served by Senior Leadership!

Don’t screw this up by coming up short… nothing more demoralizing than running out of Ice Pops.

As a Leader, one of the most important things you will ever do is serve ICECREAM!

Saturday Morning!

Where to begin?

Sleeping or getting up early

Decisions to make

For each a personal choice

Neither is right or wrong

It should be refreshing to both

Stress adding or releasing 

So much to do

So little time to do it in

Monday morning will be here before you know it

Enjoy every minute in between 

Even when vacuuming or cleaning

Planting flowers or spreading grass seed

Don’t let a moment slip away 

Because you will never get it back 

Live in the moment 

Live in the now

Be mindful in your doing 

Stay in touch with your feelings

Only then you will appreciate your Saturday morning!

– W

Root Cause Analysis!

Root Cause Analysis!

Some of you must be attending regular root cause analysis at your respective facilities and I’m sure that you can share some fantastic war-stories, finger pointing, blame anything and everything except for the real ROOT CAUSE of course!

I have been involved in pre-RCA, RCA and FMEA’s at multiple facilities and services over the past 20+ years in Healthcare and can say with great confidence that frequently the REAL root cause is ignored and blame is placed on its smaller sibling called TRAINING with little attention spend on big cousin BEHAVIOR.

We really should be doing a root cause on the root cause analysis process!

What should we do know… continue to fake RCA’s or actually dig deeper and start addressing systems issues by starting an analysis of risk exposure and mitigation. Not very sexy to work on prevention and mitigation however in the long run much less expensive and it might actually prevent an injury or illness…..what a concept.

Recently, I had the fortune to listen to a passionate, energetic bulky Lawyer/Engineer who told a story about safety using just three dice…. It was impact full and drove a point home in a very visual manner. Every patient care process should have minimally three individual/independent failure points before one can say that the process is designed with safety in mind. Even with a three dice process, there’s a real need for constant vigilance, surveillance and validation of the actual process to minimize impact!

Prevention is the name of the game… it’s not a question if you have the time to do it, you need to make time to do it!