Nobody’s Perfect

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. ‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’

‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’

‘For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it’s the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You’ve just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

Author unknown.

BCW & Associates

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Stay tuned for the new state of the art website being launched in July 2010!

Character Creates Courage

A legend from India tells about a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician agreed to transform him into a cat. That resolved his fear…until he met a dog, so the magician changed him into a dog. The mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog was content until he met a tiger – so, once again, the magician changed him into what he feared. But when the tiger came complaining that he had met a hunter, the magician refused to help. “I will make you into a mouse again, for though you have the body of a tiger, you still have the heart of a mouse.” Sound familiar?

How many people do you know who have built a formidable exterior, only to tremble inside with fear? We face our fears with force…or we stockpile wealth. We seek security in things. We cultivate fame and seek status. But do these approaches work? Courage is an outgrowth of who we are. Exterior supports may temporarily sustain, but only inward character creates courage.

Max Lucado, best-selling author.

Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment #3 Learn from the Customer
When an organization doesn’t understand its customer, then the team environment becomes wasteful and inefficient. Efforts go into products that sit on shelves. Time and energy are sunk into marketing services nobody wants. Eventually, the team tires of doing unproductive work, and its morale nosedives.

Leaders foster a team environment in which the customer experience is a primary consideration. They refuse to allow their teams to guess at what customers need. Instead, leaders teach teams the discipline of consulting customers regularly. By allowing customers to define success, a team learns where to focus its attention and is able to position itself to excel.

Before I speak at a conference, I call the person who invited me so that I can hear their expectations of me. Starting with a clear view of my customer’s needs helps me as I plan for the speaking engagement. I can fine-tune my content and structure my schedule in line with my customer’s wishes. By doing so, I am generally able to meet, and hopefully surpass, their expectations of me.

REVIEW Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment 1) Encourage a Spirit of Togetherness 2) Paint the Big Picture 3) Learn from the Customer

Dr. John C. Maxwell is an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 18 million books.

Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment #2 Paint the Big Picture
James E. Lukaszewski, management and communication consultant, shares the following illustration.
A farmer, while sitting on his porch, noticed a highway department truck pulling over to the shoulder of the road. A man got out, dug a sizeable hole in the ditch, and got back into the vehicle. A few minutes later, the other occupant of the truck got out, filled up the hole, tamped the dirt, and returned to the truck.

Then the men drove forward on the shoulder about 50 yards and repeated the process – digging, waiting, refilling. After a half-dozen repetitions, the farmer sauntered over to them. “What are you doing?” he asked. “We’re on a highway beautification project,” the driver said. “And the guy who plants the trees is home sick today.”

The two guys didn’t have a team perspective; they only saw their jobs. Even though their work accomplished nothing in the absence of their teammate, they went on doing it anyway!

When people don’t understand how their work matters to the team, they fall into mindless routine, and they deny putting their heart into what they do. Leaders have to guard against a purposeless environment by building bridges between what and why. By helping people see their contributions to the team’s goals, leaders ennoble them with a sense of meaning.

Tomorrow: Part FOUR of FOUR: The third of “Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment,” plus a review.

We are in a FOUR-DAY Series on “Creating a Healthy TEAM Environment,” by Dr. John C. Maxwell Today: Part TWO of FOUR
Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment #1 Encourage a Spirit of Togetherness
The true measure of a successful leader is not getting people to work. Nor is it getting people to work hard. The true measure of a successful leader is getting people to work hard together.

Leaders have to create an environment in which people see themselves as a single unit, the team, rather than as a collection of individuals. Building a team culture means stressing that mutual success matters far more than personal brilliance. For a leader, the goal is to instill an attitude of “we” rather than “me.”

Given the nature of athletic competition, coaches have a special appreciation for the value of teamwork. Red Auerbach, while at the helm of the Boston Celtics, shared an insight about his team’s success. After winning back-to-back championships in the NBA, Auerbach said, “When I first started coaching, people told me to put my five best players on the court. But I learned early on that this was not the key to success. It wasn’t putting the five best players on the court that was going to cause us to win. It was putting the five players on the court who could work together the best. We won championships because we put people together. They weren’t always our best players.”

Like a good chef, Coach Auerbach understood that ingredients are limited on their own. The magic comes in how the ingredients are combined.

Tomorrow: Part THREE of FOUR: The second of “Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment.”

A Healthy Team

The readership response was very positive to a six-part series on Dr. Maxwell’s “Planning” published back in October. Today begins a FOUR-DAY Series on “Creating a Healthy TEAM Environment,” by Dr. John C. Maxwell Today: Part ONE of FOUR
Creating a Healthy TEAM Environment By Dr. John C. Maxwell
At Chernobyl, the massive explosion of a Soviet nuclear reactor released radioactive fallout 400 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. While the suddenness and spectacular nature of the Chernobyl disaster drew the world’s attention, another catastrophe in the Soviet Union passed by largely unnoticed. In the 1960s Soviet engineers diverted the two main rivers feeding the Aral Sea so that cotton crops could be cultivated in the surrounding desert. As a result, inflows to the body of water were reduced to a trickle. In time, the Aral Sea began to evaporate. Once the world’s 4th largest lake, it shrank to well under 10% of its original size, leaving behind a graveyard of ships to litter the barren earth. Nicknamed “the silent Chernobyl,” the destruction of the Aral Sea has had a calamitous impact on the surrounding environment. Dozens of species of birds, animals, and fish have vanished from the area. Salt from the lake, which now covers the dry earth like snow, is blown by the wind and contaminates farmland up to 500 km away. The salt also pollutes the air and groundwater, causing throat cancer, lung disease, and kidney and liver complications among the local population. The simple lesson from the Aral Sea is this: When leaders neglect the environment, the results can be catastrophic. Minding the Environment In the workplace, leaders are environmental caretakers. They preside over the climate of a team, and their positive influence can make the office a healthy and inviting place. On the other hand, if leaders ignore the team environment, then the workplace can become toxic and hazardous to all who inhabit it. In this lesson, I’ll share three ways in which leaders can heed their team environment in order to foster a climate of cooperation, engagement, and productivity. Tomorrow: Part TWO of FOUR: The first of “Three Ways to Create a Healthy Team Environment.”