7 Ways To Spring Your Team Into Spring

Spring is springing. The vortex is melting, and now you sense spring fever coming on…for you and your team. Embrace this season of new growth and possibilities. Making Spring a workplace celebration will help offset the “wish I was outside” blues.

Spring Into Spring

  1. Establish Spring Growth Goals – Challenge your team to a growth spurt before summer. Help each person identify concrete way they will grow in the next 90 days: a special project, a new skill, mentoring someone or finding a mentor. Model the way. Pick your own goal and talk about your challenges and progress.
  2. Hold A Spring Training – Pick an exciting team stretch goal for the team and rally the troops. Hold a “spring training” to get everyone “in shape” to win against this challenge.
  3. Make Work A Game – Challenge another team to a friendly competition that will help both teams stay more focused and have a little fun. Engage in a little trash talk.
  4. Plant Some Seeds – Hold a “seed planting” campaign. Have your team identify other areas of the business (or prospects/customers) where they could plant some “seeds” (e.g. ideas, new relationships, collaborative work) for future growth. Have each person share their seedling idea in a team meeting.
  5. Do Some Spring Cleaning – Have the team pick something specific they can do to improve their work environment: Clean-up their emails, throw away unnecessary files, bring in some flowers, create a motivational display. Even remote teams can engage in a Spring cleaning competition and share their pics.
  6. Give In (a little) – Plan a team picnic lunch outside. Create an after work walking group. Have everyone pick one day they will leave an hour or two early and plan something fun for themselves. Find ways to share what they’ll be doing with their Spring Fever early start. Plan an outside teambuilder, like bird watching over lunch.
  7. Volunteer – Pick a volunteer project you can do as a team. They’ll have a break, grow as a team, and do something for the greater good.

Cross-Training To Strengthen Leadership Skills

Today’s cross-training moment is a guest post from David Tumbarello. When he’s not guest blogging for Let’s Grow Leaders, David provides data and writing solutions in the health care field. The leisure activity he enjoys the most is coaching children in the art of creative writing. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Cross-Training to Strengthen Skills

I was injured – it was another summer when I couldn’t run as much as I would have liked. My body told me it had to exercise but my Achilles wouldn’t comply. The solution was as old as the sport – begin another exercise and work out different muscles. I pulled down the bicycle and began biking around the lake. It was my summer of biking.

In athletics this is called cross-training. Instead of repeatedly using the same muscles every day, the athlete develops complimentary muscles. Instead of strengthening the running muscles, it was time to let those rest and develop the biking muscles.

I think about leadership muscles. One leader might be strong with her project management muscles. One leader might excel with coaching. Another with leading in creative purists. And another might be good with running a successful meeting. Those are strengths and leaders should maximize their strengths.

But occasionally, a leader should take a sabbatical from their primary leadership muscle. Step back from the typical routine. Begin to cross-train. Instead of running meetings, a leader with this strength should delegate the responsibility. While resting that muscle, the leader can act as a secretary or take notes on the white board or volunteer for a committee. Instead of mentoring, a leader can take a year off and find a way to improve the feedback loop for the enterprise. Let one muscle rest. Let another grow.

A leader at church recently said that there are years when the land produces an abundance of crops and years when it must lie fallow. It’s a cycle. The resting land will reward the farmer the following year. In the same way, leaders should consider resting certain muscles which will allow those practices to come back stronger.

With cross-training, the leader will benefit by learning a new practice — and with new eyes. And then upon returning to the first strength, after some time off, the leader will be able to see that old routine with new eyes. Strengthen, rest, and repeat.

Development Deluge: Are You Working Too Hard?

Bob (not his real name) pulled me aside after the meeting.

Another subscriber told me, “I’m going to have to stop reading your blog, it’s getting too expensive”

“Huh?… ummm… the blog is completely free,” I reminded her.

“Yes, but I’ve gone out and bought all the books you referenced.”

“You do know, I am not selling any of those right? That they are just references?

“Yes, but they all sound so good.”

“I’ve been reading your blog and all the books you talked about. I went out and got 5 mentors, all of whom are giving me feedback. I’ve been trying out new behaviors and asking for feedback on how I am doing. I’ve been thinking a lot about my development and career plans and next steps. It’s completely overwhelming.”

Hmmm…perhaps that is why Chris Brogan is inviting his readers to join him on a 3 Book Diet this year. His movement has gained traction.

I told Chris I can’t do the 3 book thing, I need great thinking to inspire my leadership and writing. Reading other people’s work is also helping me build wonderful relationships. But somewhere between 3 and everything in sight seems like the right range.

Have You Ever Been Bob?

Leaders must work on their development to grow. Most folks I know don’t work on their development enough. On the other hand too much development can be overwhelming, even paralyzing.

It’s like working on a marriage. Sometimes you need to talk about stuff. But sometimes, you just need to go throw a frisbee.

Back to Bob, and so I asked him, “what if you just stopped?”

His shoulders relaxed. I am pretty sure he started to breathe again.

“Development work takes time to steep. What if you just steeped in all this for a while?”

Bob is steeping now. That seems to be working well. The truth is, he seems to be growing more than ever.

What’s the “Right” Amount of Development

It depends.

Development should…

  • expose you to new perspectives
  • challenge you to try new behaviors
  • feel a bit uncomfortable
  • involve feedback from others
  • ????

Development should not…

  • feel completely overwhelming
  • involve trying too many new behaviors all at once
  • require constant feedback 
  • ????

What about you? Have you ever suffered from a development deluge? What happened? How did you steep?