This week I was in between destinations and had Sunday to explore Chicago. It was also the day for the finals of the World Cup Soccer – football to the rest of the world. I figured that Chicago would have some outstanding places to watch the World Cup. Sure enough, the place to be was Chicago’s Soldier Field where they expected to have 15,000 to 30,000 people cheering their favorite team on to victory. To get to Soldier Field from O’Hare Airport, I had to ride the Blue Line train to downtown and then catch a bus, hire a taxi, or just walk the remaining five miles to Solider Field!
But, something happened on the way to the World Cup: I stumbled upon a group of ordinary folks playing various musical instruments – violins, flutes, horns and the like. Well, I didn’t really stumble and the men and women weren’t just ordinary folks. I had the good fortune to observe the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra practicing in an outdoor amphitheater.
As I sat in the early morning sun and listened to them practice, I thought of how many businesses I work with who have their own type of orchestra. They don’t realize the 'sound' they make (or are capable of making) with their team. The sounds on this Sunday from this orchestra were beautiful. These magical sounds were created by professionals who have dedicated their lives to a passion for playing a flute or a violin at a concert level, and as one team. Teamwork was essential. Can you imagine the timpani player going off on his own beat and saying this is my department don’t tell me how to do my job. It would never happen with an orchestra at this high level nor would it happen at a high school band level. Because of the sound it would make if teamwork was not in play. There would be discord – no harmony.
My mind began to wander with the music. What does it take to build a successful orchestra? And how does this compare with employee team building for a successful business? The similarities were obvious and amazing. Even more amazing is that business leaders have not asked themselves: How does our business ‘sound’? To an orchestra their sound is what the audience hears as a result of four key team building disciplines:
Discipline One: Define your success for your team. Begin by defining and then owning a clear vision of what your success will look like. In the music world, the concert is the culmination of interpreting and successfully practicing the composer’s written score. The musicians and the audience will know right away if the sound they have created is successful. Have you communicated your vision for success to your employees?
Discipline Two: Commitment of the individual player. The best performers know their role and responsibility as a musician or member of the orchestra. Each individual member understands the effect of their timing, their precision, and their accuracy. Just as important is the tuning and care of their instrument. And, there would be no performance without the musician’s understanding of the written score. These elements are essential to the success of the orchestra. Do the members of your team have a clearly defined role?
Discipline Three: Following the leader. Every orchestra needs a conductor; a leader and coach. Watching them practice, the conductor will stop them periodically and communicate what he expects from the players. The conductor does not accept mediocrity, he expects greatness from each and every musician each time they play. He communicates to each section or specific performer what is needed from them to reach concert level. Do you coach your employees to greatness?
Discipline Four: Practice for success. Practice certainly makes perfect. But, do you want to play perfectly successful or perfectly awful? Once you’ve got the best people in your orchestra (or on your team) they need to have a clear vision or understanding of what perfection will sound or look like. Then, you all know the old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall: practice, practice, practice. But, one must practice the sound correctly. Practicing correctly makes the sound to your audience -- or customers -- a memorable experience.
The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, for that short time on that Sunday, allowed me to be a part of their passion. They were masters of their craft and their discipline to practice and perform at such a high level was proof of their success. They were there on a Sunday morning practicing for beauty and success while some were watching the World Cup and still others were watching them! I never made it to Soldier Field that day to watch world-class soccer; instead I listened to world-class musicians. Just by chance on that Sunday, I was blessed to discover a team of masters who possessed a commitment to expect greatness in all they did and the sound was music to my ears.
Here is a challenge for you today, for every day: Ask yourself, how does my business sound? If you don’t like your sound, then check the four disciplines outlined above and make your adjustments. Maybe your team just needs a little more practice. Or maybe you need to take some time developing a more clear vision for your team’s success -- and help them understand what success will sound like. What do you need to do to help your employees deliver top performance? Stop and listen - you can tell by the sound.
Learn more about team building speaker, author and coach, Jim Jackson.
One day, I was playing golf with Kevin, a good friend of mine. Now Kevin and I have been golfing buddies for a long time. So I don't coach him the way I might coach somebody else. On this particular day, I saw him do something I hadn't seen him do before. We came to a par 3 hole about 150 yards over water. For those of you who don't play golf, that means you have to stand on a tee box, then hit the ball up in the air and get it to land on the green without falling into the water. Otherwise, there will be a penalty.
As soon as I saw Kevin reach into his bag, I said, "Hey, Kevin! Looks like you're going to hit the ball in the water." I wasn't trying to give him negative coaching. I was just stating a fact.
"No, I'm not," Kevin said, getting into position on the tee box. "Oh, yes, you are," I said. "No, I'm not," he muttered. But by this time, he was mad and he said, "Jackson, you travel all around the world coaching people to be positive. Why would you tell me I'm going to hit the ball in the water?"
"It's simple," I told him. "When you walked up on the tee box, you reached into your bag and you pulled out your bad ball. You pulled out your water ball. You didn't want to hit your good ball in the water, so you were thinking about going in the water before I even said anything. You were coaching yourself to fail before I said a word."
A lot of us do this every day. We coach ourselves to lose! Whether we're going on a sales call or talking to our spouse, we pull out our bad ball, because we've already convinced ourselves it's not going to work.
Pulling out your bad ball means you're playing it safe – and playing to lose the game. Like Kevin, you don't want your good ball to get wet, so you use the bad ball - just in case. And you tip the scales toward failure.
You always have a choice. The next time you're tempted to take out your bad ball, stop and ask yourself: why not choose to win?
Learn how you can coach yourself to win with Jim Jackson’s top-selling ‘Coaching Yourself to High Performance’ CD.
Building self confidence
As I watch American Idol there seems to be a common theme from the judges. They coach the participants by telling them they need to have more self-confidence.
I can only imagine what the contestants are thinking. It may sound something like this, I am not projecting self-confidence and I am on national TV. Are they kidding me? I will just run down to the drug store and buy a bottle of self-confidence. Yea right so they try to fake it until they make it and give the judges a little attitude to demonstrate confidence.
I have been there myself until I learned what I am going to teach you. Just so you know I had 37 different jobs by the time I was 27 years old. I can remember people telling me just have more self-confidence. My self-doubt would go into overdrive trying to learn how to have self-confidence right now and why did I not have it whatever it was. I was coaching myself backwards by asking myself what is wrong with me.
The Power of Suggestion
Why is coaching yourself so important? Because we, as human beings, move towards what we think about. Whatever we're thinking about, we move toward-whether it's what we want or what we don't want.
It's like driving down the road. Have you ever tried to cross the white line and not hit those little bumps?
What do you focus on? You focus on the bumps. It's almost impossible to go between the bumps until you learn the art of looking for the spaces while you're driving down the road.
We move toward what we think about. Say you're on your bicycle, riding down the road. You see the rock in the road up ahead. You don't want to hit the rock, but if you see it and keep focusing on it, what will you hit?
In our minds, the power of suggestion is absolutely powerful. You use it all day long, whether you know it or not. Either you're coaching yourself or someone else is coaching you by telling you how you are.
And it's working. Your life is turning out exactly like the coaching you're receiving all day long. It's very powerful stuff.
Coaching is so powerful that I'm going to tell you to do something that's very important. I can't emphasize it enough. Listen very carefully: Stop the negative coaching!
Do this for the next couple of days. Only say positive upbeat things to yourself about yourself and others. Your days will seem much brighter. Do this one positive coaching exercise for yourself. Focus on what you want!
You can go to my website http://jimjacksonlive.com and download the chapter on coaching from my book Power to Change free.
Back to the American Idol, self-confidence starts before you ever walk on stage or in the door at work. You coach yourself forward by saying this statement as if it has already happened. I am confident in who I am and I know I am very good at what I do, I need only my opinion to be happy and successful. The key is to visualize this in your mind walking in and performing at the highest level. I do this each time I go on stage to deliver a keynote in front of 1,000's seeing success before it ever happens and when it does in real life that is called self-confidence.
Discover the secrets to building your self confidence and more with Jim's inspirational BREATHE program!