Is Your Team Dreadful or Delightful?
Jaeny Baik asked us to craft a 'hook' for our elevator speech, something to get people's attention in a hurry. She was facilitating the May meeting of the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.
It took a while for the hook to emerge. And it felt strange when it came to the surface. But I decided to play with it for a while. It went something like this - "Does your team drain you like a dreadful vampire?"
Contrasting the draining energy of a vampire with the delightful energy of a jazz group has been a provocative exploration. It's not perfect, but it is intriguing.
Vampires are individualistic, parasitic, and frightening. They are isolated, cut off from any positive or nourishing relationships that are mutual. They suck their life-blood from others, leaving them anemic and drained. They infect others with their toxicity, creating a group of equally isolated and parasitic individuals. The overall environment created one of dread. This is a place and space that puts you on the defensive, that you want to avoid.
Jazz groups are communal, interdependent, and inspiring. They work together, aligning their talents around a positive purpose that generates joy. They feed off each other's energies and vibe, discovering new ideas and possibilities to explore that produce vitality and value. They infuse others with their enthusiasm and creativity, creating a safe place in which to contribute and collaborate. The overall environment is one of discipline and delight. This is a place and space that provokes your best, then inspires you to play beyond that.
Every team is somewhere on a scale with dread at one end and delight at the other - a group of vampires sucking each other dry and a jazz band nurturing each other's brilliance. What's your gut sense of where your team is?
If it's too far to the vampire end, what are you going to do about it? How can you lessen the dread and enliven the delight?
Here are four suggestions:
- Be resilient in holding a positive attitude towards the potential of the team
- Clarify the valuable purpose being served, the beneficial core chart being played
- Behave in life-giving ways, ways you would want to be treated by others
- Express specific thanks to people when they act in positive and collaborative ways
Using vampires and jazz groups to contrast dread and delight in teamwork has been provocative for me. It still isn't perfect. What metaphor ever is? But it has highlighted for me some of the attitudes and behaviours that lead to SMARTer teamwork. I hope it has for you as well.
And if you think Jazzthink might offer some coaching, or a keynote or workshop, to help you generate this kinds of SMARTer teamwork, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.