It's been said that "minds work best when open." The same has also been said about parachutes. No one would attempt to use a parachute that wasn't fully open. Sadly, this is not always the case with our minds.
Many of us go through life with a mind closed off to certain possibilities. It takes courage to be open towards what we don't understand, or to listen to a point of view that is different from our own!
I recently visited a non-profit organization to learn about the services they offer the community. I will soon deliver training to them on resiliency and wanted to learn more about their work. This organization serves children with behavioral issues; they seek to help these children grow, and they partner with their families to empower the parents with needed skills. It is very meaningful work, and challenging at times for the staff. While visiting, I witnessed a young girl act out very aggressively towards one of the therapists. The therapist quietly removed the child from the group and began to address the behavior. It was so common an issue that the therapist had trained herself not to take the behavior personally! She simply moved right onto the solution, which in this case, was to lovingly give an appropriate consequence so the child could learn to change the behavior. It was deeply touching to observe this.
Afterwards I reflected on the symbol that the interaction seemed to represent. How quickly we can get caught up in a dead-end way of thinking when things do not go as we expect! If someone else disagrees with us and voices their opinion, it’s so easy to take it personally! What if we just didn’t give ourselves permission to take it personally? If that were not an option, we would move right onto solutions, and open our minds to new possibilities.
May this story inspire you on your journey. And as a bonus, enjoy this new video and the quick tip to staying open-minded (it's the first video on the page). Like the video? We’re putting new ones up every week. Visit our YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe!
We recently interviewed a department director in preparation for a TRP training. We asked her to describe her management team. The following story about one of her long-time managers (we'll call her Sandy) inspired this TRP post.
Sandy has been with us for over twenty years. I just had a review with her and right at the beginning she said, "We've come a long way, haven't we?"
Let me explain. Her comment was a testament to the mutual respect we have for one another.
When I joined the company fifteen years ago Sandy began reporting to me. I greatly misjudged her at first. I did not realize how much she knew. I thought she was too passive and "just along for the ride". She did not speak up when I thought she should assert her authority over her team members.
What I began to see was her quiet strength. She is not afraid of a confrontation, quite the opposite! More than anyone I've ever worked with, she knows just when to step in, and when it is best to let others work it out. She's a true servant leader and she has been an outstanding manager.
Have you ever misjudged someone else's strength, and perhaps perceived it as a flaw? Taking the time to see what's under the surface of our colleagues is one of the most rewarding investments we can make. The strengths of our team members are often hidden in plain sight. Taking a genuine interest in someone else means going beyond what we might find interesting about them. It's so much deeper than that.
One of Dale Carnegie's rules from over 80 years ago in How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as relevant today:
"Regardless of the physical or financial assets an organization may have, it's the people who make it successful. They are an organization's key asset, and getting to know them should be as high a priority as learning the technical aspects of one's job. The key is to be genuine. Don't get a reputation for only being interested when you want something, getting to know others should always be mutually beneficial."
At TRP Enterprises we're continually developing new ways to help people work together. The Circles of Collaboration is a new tool for teams and organizations to see the positive qualities that each bring to any project, and use those positive qualities for deep collaboration and truly meaningful work. To learn more, come join us this summer for one of our Managing Change workshops.
"Yet another promising employee has been let go. He just couldn't seem to make it to work on time. Management gave him every opportunity to succeed and he blew it. On top of that, we had an employee leave last week after only having been here six months. It seems she thought there was a greener pasture for her somewhere else.
So here we go again. Same amount of work and two less people to share the load. What is it we're doing wrong?"
Sound familiar? That is what we call adversity. The good news is, we all face adversity. It's not the killer of dreams. It's the beckoning call to wake up from the wishful thinking that believes life should be easy. Adversity begs us to discover our strengths and unleash them in exemplary ways. Adversity is a teacher.
We recently consulted with an agency that delivers affordable housing solutions to those in need. This agency is at the leading edge of adversity. Many of their clients are living in harsh realities where every day is a struggle. The agency must manage the adversity that their clients bring in to their offices every day... and not get too caught up in it themselves. The beauty of it is, they are learning to see such adversity as a great teacher.
The new training tools we have developed at TRP are here to help each of us look at adversity from a different point of view. The key ingredient to discovering that point of view?
Respect the adversity that others face. And yet, know it is their struggle and not ours. Respect their ability to persevere and to be triumphant. Offer resources and help where appropriate, allowing respect to be the guide.
When it comes to the adversity that each of us face, respect it. It's not the adversity itself, it's the opportunity that it is providing us with. There are powerful aspects of ourselves that we have yet to discover. As Michelangelo said, "Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it." Be the sculptor and with chisel in hand, discover that power within.
As president, Daniel leads the team at TRP Enterprises to help inspire and uplift through world-class training programs.