Team Building in the Real World

Okay, I’m biased. I’m so into this team building thing that I often,(maybe too often), view life through a team building lens. But beyond the lens, I do believe my work experience has changed the way I react in personal life and has helped me face challenges.

Two weeks ago the phone rang at 2:30 in the morning. I woke to see my daughter’s number flash on my caller ID and my heart was in my mouth. At 2:30 she wasn’t just calling to say, “hi dad”. Her apartment building in NYC was on fire; luckily she was not home at the time. But everything was destroyed and it was traumatic, to say the least. By 6:00 AM my wife, Julie, was on a plane to New York.

The Old Me

Before my team building days, I wouldn’t have let my wife fly to New York without me. I wouldn’t have taken time to think about best courses of action or how our family could utilize our individual strengths to best navigate these stressful waters. I would have charged in like a bull, attempting to do everything myself, thus minimizing the positive impact of those around me. I would have found it too hard to stay in Nashville while my wife and daughter dealt with moving damaged and destroyed items out of the apartment, shared emotional times and embarked on the impossible task of finding new housing in the big city in a short period of time, before the start of the fall semester.

The Team Building Me

I kept my eye on the team, not just my own selfish desire to rush in and take control. I realized that my wife and daughter were capable, actually perfect, to handle the challenges they faced. And I realized that my optimal role, was to do what I do best; organizing via phone, dealing with insurance companies, legal issues, coordinating apartment applications and the like. And I had day-to-day responsibilities to continue to run this crazy show I call Kidbilly Music.

The Result

My wife and daughter rose to new heights. They handled a complex and very tough situation beautifully. And they bonded in a way they’ll never forget…they have so many inside jokes right now. By giving rope to those around me, I enabled them to achieve in ways none of us had experienced before. We’ve set a new standard for our family team. As for me, while it was hard to stay in Nashville initially, to not fly north to hug and hold my daughter, she knew I was doing my part and optimizing everyone’s effectiveness in a crisis.

Power Tools

When Isabel and Julie finally secured an apartment, I did get to do the guy thing. I rented a u-haul truck, moved furniture, assembled stuff and fixed a few things with power tools. Guess it’s a win-win, when you work as a team!


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