5:30 AM this morning I managed to get to the Y to work out. This is the hardest part of the day for me but I believe if I can get out of bed, get to the club and get my swim in, then I’m set up for the rest of the day. So while I’m usually bleary eyed and somewhat hesitant, I always show up. As I was leaving the locker room to go to the pool, I heard someone banging his locker repeatedly. I looked over and saw him, opening and closing it, fiddling with the lock, trying to get it to latch securely and close. I quickly realized that was the same locker I had tried last week, and that the latch was broken. I watched for a while as this person repeated the same actions to no avail, then I walked out to the pool area, the sound of a banging locker and frustrated person receding into the distance.
Ten minutes into my swim, and finally becoming mentally alert it struck me: There was stark contrast to the way the person banging the locker this morning and I had reacted to the same problem. He kept repeating the same action steps, even when it was clear they wouldn’t solve his problem. He was engaged in the physical activity of frustration without allowing himself even a moment to reflect that there could be a simple solution. Part of his problem: He had committed to that locker and was resistant to changing to another. When I encountered the broken latch last week, I tried it twice, and then I quickly moved all of my stuff into the neighboring locker which was in fine shape. The entire process took me about 30 seconds, and it was easy.
So what struck my was how our underlying attitudes toward change, toward commitment and to seeking alternate solutions effects even the small chores we do. Imagine then, how our disposition or lack of disposition to embrace change effects our team’s ability to innovate and solve problems. Believe me, I’m not trying to hold myself up as perfect when comparing myself to the frustrated locker banger. In fact, the more I thought about all of this during my swim, the more guilty I felt. I had knowledge of an existing problem, “the broken locker”. I had a solution, “move to a neighboring locker”. And yet with my knowledge in hand, I quietly exited without offering help or empathy to this guy who just wanted to get on with his workout. So today, I’m dedicating myself to becoming a better change agent, to be a better team player, and to use whatever positive traits I have to influence my team for the better. Visit this link for learning about change agents who want to change the world for the better. And I hope you’ll watch one of our videos to witness how a large group goes from hesitancy to uninhibited participation during one of my favorite team building activities, Your Song – Dynamic Sing Along
Be A Change Agent
- Do you roll with the punches easily – do you tend to be more fluid or stagnant?
- Do you volunteer to share possible solutions with co-workers, even if they haven’t asked?
- Can you advocate for change without being overbearing or fixed on one solution?
Team Building Activities
- Schedule time with your team to ask who feels like they’re banging their head against the wall, or the locker!
- Allow time to enable discussion and become your own change agents.