Character

Character

Each day, our news is filled with shocking revelations of corruption: in sports, entertainment, education, government, healthcare, business, and other fields. The costs are high: severe loss of credibility of institutions/individuals and damage to the personal lives of those people impacted.

What is the root cause of these failures? And what is the solution?

The Japanese speak of kokoro—character, essence, heart, spirit. The Samurai cultivated kokoro in themselves and those they mentored or trained. These breaches of morality, ethics, and law reflect a breakdown in kokoro—in character.

A search in the dictionary finds character associated with uprightness, trustworthiness, incorruptibility, honesty, a state of being whole and complete. Integrity is associated with these same antonyms.

“An individual is whole and complete when their word is whole and complete, and their word is whole and complete when they honor their word,” says Harvard Business School emeritus professor, Michael C. Jensen in an interview that appeared in The Magazine of the Rotman School of Management, Fall 2009. He draws a direct connection between integrity defined in this way and organizational effectiveness and productivity. So too for individuals and teams.

Is your word your bond? Is your team’s word their bond? That is, is it binding? In the daily practice of your work and life, is there consistency between what is said and what is done?

Common remedies are insufficient.

When a baseball player wants to hit a homerun, he doesn’t climb up in the stands where the scoreboard is and manipulate the numbers. He deals with what it takes standing in the batter’s box to powerfully and accurately hit the ball coming at him.

To resolve the root cause of our societal/business problems and to produce a home run in our performance as individuals, teams and organizations, we must deal with what is in the batter’s box of our business and life: our character, and our integrity.

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Barry Pogorel Leadership deals with the root cause of great performance, enabling you and your people to produce extraordinary results. Contact us to schedule a confidential conversation. 

6 Principles of High Performance Teams

6 Principles of High Performance Teams

There is a science to having a high-performance team.

Just as there are laws for how the physical universe works, there are certain laws or principles that determine team effectiveness.

Water molecules require 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Anything less, and you do not have water. High performance teams require 6 principles to be in play. If any of these principles are missing, you do not have a high-performance team.

The 6 principles of high-performance teams are
    1. Team members need to hear others—peers, reports, customers. Hearing means understanding what another says without judgement, without opinion. Getting exactly what they are saying. Ok to consider, judge and evaluate later—but first, hear it untampered so that the other knows you heard them fully.
    2. Genuine speaking—say it the way it is. Respectful always, but completely straightforward. Honest. Not held back.
    3. Each team member’s word is their bond. They do what they said they would do and hold others to what those others said they would do.
    4. Just as you want your favorite sports team to win, you want your colleagues on your team to win in their respective roles.
    5. Verbal recognition of other team members for what they accomplish and for what they contribute to the team and organization.
    6. Having a shared vision for the future—aligned on intentions and goals.
The benefits of having these principles alive in the behavior of a team are
    • A leap in results by both the team as a whole, and (interestingly) the individual members
    • Trust and connection
    • Greater well-being, ease, reduction in stress, happiness
    • The foundation for a high-performance culture

Easy to say, not so easy to do.

Barry Pogorel Leadership brings these principles alive in the daily functioning of teams so that they achieve what they are committed to, and beyond.

Don’t Fight the River

Don’t Fight the River

A friend of mine shared the following story with me:

“I was travelling some years ago in Costa Rica. My travelling companions and I decided to go white-water rafting on the Pacuare River. For those who know this sport, the Pacuare is a Class IV river.

It was spectacular—breathtaking—almost surreal in its beauty. After floating peacefully along for some time, at one point, several of us decided to jump into the water for a swim. It was warm! Delighted, we swam back and forth for a time. Pretty quickly, however, the current was getting stronger, the water more turbulent, than we had anticipated when sitting in the boat. The Pacuare was gurgling in white-water.

The boat’s captain was yelling at us—we could see his facial expression and his waving hands directing us to come back, but we couldn’t hear him given the turbulence of the river. And the current was strong enough that it held us back from being able to get back to the boat. After about 10 minutes of floating downstream, we suddenly saw large boulders up ahead, right in the middle of the river. They did not look inviting.

Several of my swimming team members panicked, struggling frantically to avoid running into the rocks. Others of us after a short struggle with the river somehow got the message that the river was more powerful than we were and that fighting it was completely futile, so we let go into the flow of the river, allowing it to carry us. This definitely took some courage, putting ourselves in the hands of this mighty river.

Amazingly, those who did not fight the river found that they could maneuver in the current with slight hand and arm motions, easily being carried around the rocks, while our less lucky team members who fought the river went directly into the rocks.

Fortunately, everyone survived, albeit some with bruises and scrapes.”

Lesson: if you are present and see the forces around you, sometimes rather than fighting them, you can work with them to get where you want to go.