How you begin matters. Better beginnings lead to better outcomes.
Prepare the team. Reinforce the vision. Energize the plans. Refresh the excitement.
“Let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed.”~Muriel Rukeyser
A Sweet Story of Beginning Well
This Sunday, I watched our youth choir director warming up the kids by playing a game.
When she said “Ready” the kids all perfected their posture and looked at her with attentive eyes and big grins.
Then, “Not Ready” they got to be as silly as they wanted (they loved that).
Until she again said, “Ready” and they immediately assumed their sweet singing stance.
She had them visualizing and embodying exactly what she needed from them. Instead, they were showing.
I asked one of the kids why this works, “Ms. Allison is great because she teaches us and we don’t even know it.”
Yes, she is a great teacher and leader who knows the importance of great beginnings.
Better Beginnings for Grown-ups
Since church came next, I had lots of time to think about beginnings and the leaders I have known who have mastered the art of beginning well.
- Call centers where every leader is visible on the floor for the first hour of each shift, greeting and inspiring and checking the temperature
- Retail stores with pre-opening huddles to create energized focus and fantastic service
- Leaders with remote teams call and check in with each team member at the beginning of the day
- “You’ve got this” calls to team members headed into a big event, presentation, or interview
- Use of technology for virtual connection and early morning inspiration
- Caffeine distribution yup, I have been known to drive from location to location with a trunk of Red Bull on important days
Tips for Beginning Well
The art of beginning well can be learned. It requires a deliberate approach and focused energy. Here are some tried and true techniques.
- Start with big energy differentiate important days by making them feel like holidays
- Reinforce the vision and goals
- Explain why this day or project is vital to the bigger picture
- Help the team visualize success “how will we know this day was amazing what will have happened?”
- Set specific, individual goals
- Establish celebration milestones throughout the day or project
- Be visible and interact either face to face or virtually
- Role model “ready”
- Have them role model “ready”
- ____what tips do you have?
Please share: What works best for you when beginning something new?
If you’ve stumbled on this article, you’ve found one of my very earliest blog posts, when I was just blogging casually and still in my day job as a Verizon executive. I’m keeping it here for nostalgic sake… but want to be sure you get a chance to read something more recent to help you on your growing leaders’ journey.
Here are a few foundational articles you might find helpful.