All In – Together

This week’s blog is a little déjà vu, but considering the circumstances, it seems appropriate to repeat the message. The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals – again!  As with most seasons, there have been ups and downs; good and bad; victories and defeats. Through it all, every member of the team has remained “All In”; not one of them or a few of them but all of them.  It isn’t all about LeBron or Kyrie or Kevin, it’s about a “group of athletes with complementary skills, committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they are mutually accountable.” And that’s the definition of a team.

Like we’ve said before, the most effective teams have a lot of traits in common.  Team members share a common vision, they trust each other, they are willing to co-operate and blend their strengths together to create the best outcome. They all pull their weight – in the same direction. They give each other the benefit of the doubt, they support and encourage each other and they step in to lend a hand when needed. They communicate – openly and honestly. They resolve conflict and move on. They adapt to the circumstances.  Leadership is strong.

Work teams need to follow the same guidelines to be successful. To build a great company you need a great team. Just like a coach you need to build and inspire your team. Think about your team. Does it exhibit the elements needed for success? Or is it stuck in the same place; never moving any closer to achieving the goal, getting more frustrated and disengaged by the minute? Does chaos prevail when things fall apart? Is everyone taking on the role of superstar? If so then you’ve got some serious work to do. Just like a coach, you may need to make some substitutions or even bench a few players.  You may need to alter your game plan. Who do you want ready to rebound that three-pointer if it bounces off the rim? Who do you want to step up if another player gets injured? Who can withstand the heat when the going gets rough? Pick your team wisely. A great team can be the difference between success and failure.

Go Cavs! Go team. All in.

Posted by MJ Thomas

It’s Public Information

The safety and health of workers at any facility should always be top of mind.  Being in charge of the company’s safety initiative is a big responsibility; huge.  It requires commitment, ongoing adjustments, education, continual improvement and documentation; lots and lots of documentation. The collected data can help identify trends, like primary accident locations, types of injuries, frequency and severity of injuries. That can lead to finding preventive measures.

Now the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is taking that to the next step. Along with new regulations, increased penalties and tougher standards for record keeping, employers in high-hazard industries will be required to send collected data to OSHA for posting on the agency’s website.  That’s right. They are taking the information public in hopes of increasing accountability and compliance.

At one time, I worked at a marketing agency. Anybody who ever worked at an agency knows that keeping track of billable time is fundamental. That means filling out time sheets. Some were really good at it while others, myself included, struggled to keep them current.  Other things during the day took precedence.  Then came the LIST.  It listed the name of everyone with missing time sheets and it was posted in plain sight.  If you didn’t want your name on the list, you worked harder to comply with the rules.

To me, the concept of this new regulation is the same. You don’t want to see your company’s name on the list and you surely don’t want your employees, your board members, your investors or your competition to see it. So what do you do? You work harder to prevent accidents and injuries. At least that’s the expectation. Will it revolutionize safety in the workplace? Not really. Will it work? Not for everyone. Will it eliminate accidents or injuries? NO! There will always be accidents and injuries in the workplace and this is just one part of the whole puzzle. But if it in any way spurs us on to find more ways to prevent these occurrences or at least reduce their numbers, we are heading in the right direction.

Posted by MJ Thomas

Tempest Fugit. Yes, it does.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was scanning through the morning paper, half-heartedly checking the headlines when I came to the obituary page. The very first name listed was one of my dear friends. In disbelief, I read it several times; hoping it was a mistake. No, in fact, it was true. My mind started to race back to the last time we had seen each other or chatted about one thing or the other. It didn’t seem that long ago but in reality it had been at least a few years. Time flies.

Last time we spoke, we both made promises to get together for lunch, call more often, take in a movie or just go for coffee and catch up. Sure wish we would’ve followed through. Time flies.

My point is not to be somber as we head into the weekend. It’s just a reminder that in today’s world we are all so busy – all the time. It seems like we are constantly putting out the immediate fires and pushing off the slow burners to a later date. We juggle dates and times and people and places trying to somehow make it manageable. We tell ourselves that we’ll get to it just as soon as…. But then, time flies. And once it does, it’s gone; there’s no getting it back.

The hectic pace is a constant source of stress, anxiety, health problems and in my case – a missed opportunity to reconnect with a good friend. It affects our home environment, work environment and social environment. Time flies and we are left with a list of would have, should have and could haves.

I re-learned a valuable lesson this week. I can’t stop time from flying by, but I can surely make time for the things that are most important to me.

Enjoy the weekend.

Posted by MJ Thomas