Leading a Volunteer Team is Sometimes Like Trying to Nail Jello to a Wall

Before I get started on the leadership lesson you need to know that someone really was interested enough to determine if you could nail Jello to a wall. After trying a number of different additives to strengthen the Jello they determined this:

“Our further investigation into this area leads us to state the following: Jell-O can be effectively nailed to a wall if you increase its density by reducing the proportion of water to gelatin in the recipe, or fortify it by adding more gelatin powder. Molding holes into the Jell-O or attempting to reinforce the holes was not substantially effective in increasing its ability to withstand stress. Apparently you can also nail Jell-O to a wall if you embed plastic mesh in it, or ramen noodles. Sliced fruit may increase Jell-O’s nutritional value, but makes only a minor contribution to its structural integrity when embedded.”

 Here is the link to the site which documents the entire experiment. http://www.myscienceproject.org/j-wall.html

It seems from this experiment that Jello made in the conventional manner is pretty impossible to nail to a wall. To be successful you must change the recipe and reinforce the Jello with other things.

By doing these things you have a greater chance of your Jello looking like this:

Sometimes when leading a team, a leader finds that the original team recipe will not accomplish the goals and the team needs to be supplemented with additional resources. This is what a leader does; he is constantly monitoring progress, adjusting, and when necessary supplementing the team with additional tools or people.

So if you don’t want your team and your project to end up in one messy pile here are some thoughts:

  1. Make sure you pick team members who will complement each other with the necessary skills
  2. Make sure you have properly communicated the vision and it is understood
  3. Make sure you have properly planned the project and anticipated potential roadblocks
  4. When the project seems to be slipping off the wall, react quickly and decisively

 

Have a Great Masonic Day!

How to pick a Great Team

You’ve been given the opportunity to put together your own team. What kind of people do you want?
People with a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. Do they display a positive outlook on life? Psychologists use the term “growth mindset” to describe those whose world view is of a positive nature. People who have a growth mindset are:
  • open to a belief of their ability to change
  • can innovate, adapt and overcome
  • they can learn new ways to do things
  • they aren’t afraid to fail
  • they want and expect feedback for their own improvement
  • they like to be around people who challenge them
  • they don’t fall in love with their own viewpoint
  • they understand that relationships with people make the difference.
People who like to LEARN
  • Are they curious?
  • Are they willing to ask questions and learn from others or do they think they already know it all?
  • Do they have a plan of personal growth for themselves and are following it?
  • Can they be a respected source of knowledge for others?
People who are BUILDING & MAINTAINING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS
  • You need to consider someone who likes people
  • Someone who likes to listen
  • Someone who is patient and understanding
  • Someone who wants to understand people and their point of view
  • People who respect and want to serve others
People who are willing and able to TEACH OTHERS
  • Someone with a skill that will broaden the knowledge of the team
  • Someone who has a passion to share knowledge
  • Someone who will freely share what they know
  • Someone who will reflect often to improve the knowledge they impart

Have a Great Masonic Day!

Who I Think Will Win the Super Bowl

This Sunday is a big day for NFL fans; Super Bowl XLVIII. I was thinking last night I wonder how many fans could actually tell you what number XLVIII is, but that’s another subject for another time.
In any event, if two guys burst into my house, one grabbed me, and the other put a gun to my head and demanded the names of the teams playing in the Super Bowl, I’m a dead man. Pro sports, and thus Pro football, are just not something that interests me.
I’m like President Calvin Coolidge when he was asked if he wanted to meet the Chicago Bears. He said, “I always enjoy animal acts.”
The company that spends a gazillion dollars for a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl hoping to gain my business, might has well of just made a big pile of cash in the parking lot and set it on fire. I will not be swayed because I will not be watching. I will sneak a peek when the commercials are posted online because a lot of them are pretty clever and I enjoy the product of someone’s creativity.
Even though I do not pay attention to Pro football, I do pay attention to leaders the game creates. One is the great coach Vince Lombardi and here are some of his quotes.vince lombardi
  1. “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”
  2. “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”
  3. “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
  4. “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”
  5. “Show me a good loser, and I’ll show you a loser.”
  6. “The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.”
  7. “If winning isn’t everything, why do they keep score?”
  8. “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
  9. “Winning isn’t everything; it is the only thing.”
  10. “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.”
Oh yes, my prediction; I’ll let you know Monday.
Have a Great Blahless Day!

Things to do before sending a team member on a one-way trip to Mars

Mars with shipAn article about a one-way mission to Mars published in the New York Post caught my attention. The article was based on an idea by two scientists who believe that a trip to Mars would be possible and one of their reasons was it would cost one-quarter of the price of a “there-and-back” mission.

So this caused me to think; wouldn’t be great if dealing with an unproductive team member was as easy as sending them on a one-way trip, never to return again. Certainly in many cases, you as the leader of a team, may have that option and can just send them packing. But what do you do if you have no control over who’s on your team? What if your boss says they must remain on the team or if it’s a volunteer organization and they were elected to their position? What do you do then?

 You then must find out why this member is not productive. There could be several reasons and you can begin by asking several questions:

    1. How well do I know this person? – Have I spent enough time with him to understand what motivates him or what makes him laugh or cry?
    2. Has this person been properly trained? – Was enough time taken to ensure that he knows his responsibilities and was given the information and training to succeed?
    3. Are there roadblocks or people interfering with his ability to do his job? – Have I, as the leader, made sure that significant impediments are cleared for him?
    4. Have I provided encouragement and motivation?
    5. Are the other team members supporting him and his efforts?

Answering these questions will help you understand why a team member is unproductive. Everyone wants to succeed, but sometimes things beyond their control or ability will cause them to appear unproductive. It is your job as the leader to train team members and anticipate possible problems for and solve them before they hamper progress.

So many times we complain about the non-performance of a team member without ever finding out why he or she is not performing. Spend time with them, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and help them develop a plan to carry out their assigned tasks.

Don’t be so eager to send someone on a one-way trip to Mars without first doing your job as a leader.

Have a Great Blahless Day!