Hard work is its own reward

I sidled up to the bunch of cyclists stopped at the lights on Beach Road and started a conversation with the young guy at the front. Turns out he was training for an ironman but had been a national level hockey player and a Victorian Institute of Sport scholarship holder. Mal had recently taken over the coaching role for the Powerhouse Hockey Club Premier League men’s team.

Power House Hockey.JPG

He had also been searching for the policeman who had facilitated a VIS leadership program he had been a participant in some 10 year earlier. He thought the leadership insights this policeman had shared and the discussion he generated were valuable and would benefit the hockey team. He had googled and searched the web to no avail. 

I quietly informed Mal that I had been that person and could I assist him in any way now. Mal advised he wanted to share some of the leadership insights he had gained with his team. I suggested we catch up for coffee to discuss how I could support him in that quest.

We decided to catch up in a café in Black Rock as we both lived in the suburb – in the same street -  five doors away…

I now have a wonderful engagement with Mal and the rest of the team at Powerhouse – they are keen, motivated, curious and wanting to achieve holistic success for the club this year. Who would have thought?

Reflection

Never underestimate the impact (positive or negative) you can have on others’ lives 

How important are positive relationships to you?

What impact do you have on others?

What level of authenticity do you want to display when undertaking your business?

What are the core values that drive your business ethos?

Compassion – A Rare Leadership Trait

The dust has settled, the media have departed to focus on the next crisis, the guilty have been
removed from the arena and the majority are thankful it was not them in the glare of the media
frenzy, the public prosecution and eternal judgement.

Blog 4 Smith Warner & Bailey.jpg

I am talking of the Australian players who were made to be unsalvageable villains in the South
African ball tampering incident in South Africa recently.

There is no excusing their behaviour but there is perhaps value in understanding why 3 Australian
international representatives behaved uncharacteristically and brought shame on themselves, team
mates, family and friends and apparently the whole country.

Our expectations are that our international representatives will never soil the reputation of Australia
as a fair go country where honesty and fair play are paramount. And yet it happens with predictable
regularity as night follows day. Think London Olympics swim team, AFL, ARL, business, finance – the
list is endless.

So, what went wrong in this instance? What so significantly affected the decision making of these
reputable young men that they would blatantly and so obviously, cheat?

Is there room in this Shakespearean tragedy for more players – those that operated above and
beyond the scenes and apparently did nothing to effectively alter the script? Perhaps this is an
opportunity to reflect later.

The crucible of battle can melt the most hardened steely combatants if there is even a hint of a
fracture in the armour forged of constant battle. And the truth is, we are all flawed merely because
we fall into that exclusive domain of being human. We will make mistakes under pressure and
sometimes even without the pressure – life happens.

And yet, we can draw on Roosevelt’s speech from more than 100 years ago and which is just as
pertinent today:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where
the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the
arena…”

Compassion is a rare and highly valuable commodity these days and yet its sharing has wondrous
effects.

Perhaps we can remove our collective feet from the throats of these young men and bring them
back into the mainstream as worthwhile citizens – the self-recrimination alone will provide indelible
learnings for those involved and the future returns of forgiveness will be undoubtedly rich.

Reflection

What are the pressures you and your team face today?

How do you guard against ‘fatal’ breaches of your standards and values?

What are the critical conversations you need to have with your teams?

What is it that your team would never do to jeopardise your business?

What appreciative inquiries have you made?

Motivation

Whilst in Kandy, Sri Lanka, we had the opportunity to visit a tea processing factory. We were taken on a guided tour by a wonderful young woman who earnestly explained the process of making tea. From picking, to drying and fermenting and grading the product.

Kandy Tea Factory-1.JPG

The factory was part government owned and was built early last century and the processing machinery was largely from the middle of that century. The factory was sweltering and there was much manual handling required by the women who worked there. Some were well into their twilight years with toothy grins and leathery skin and yet they continually smiled as they toiled away. 

As we walked around, I began to notice A4 laminated sheets of paper with motivational quotes on them dotted on the walls and sitting on top of various piles of equipment and processed tea. I was fascinated. Whilst the young woman was attempting to fulfil her responsibility to explain the grading process I was asking who had placed the inspirational quotes around the factory.

Finally, after much pestering, she introduced to George – the factory manager. George explained that the idea had been the previous factory manager’s initiative but he had moved on in 2013 – apparently he had taken a more senior position.

I was keen to know where the idea had originated, what else had been done, what impact the strategy had on staff and productivity, where the manager had gained his knowledge but my curiosity remained unsatisfied and George did not seem to understand the nature of my inquiry – wasn’t I here just to be informed about the tea making process?

Kandy Tea Factory Blog 2 (2).JPG

I left the factory with a renewed sense of curiosity. Are motivating factors universal? Can you discuss leadership insights across all cultures? Do staff in ‘servant’ countries respond more to positive reinforcement? Is there a greater appetite for leadership development? Have some Western societies become apathetic to leadership development? Does success make us complacent?

Reflection

What do you do to positively affect the motivation of your team?

What is/is not effective when motivating your team?

What is your current level of motivation?

What motivates you?