Tag Archives: Risk

Do You Go All In?

poker chips

As we neared the project deadline it was amazing to see the dedication and commitment of the team. People where putting in long hours if needed, helping out with things outside their responsibility and just looking for ways to ensure success. It was a great feeling, particularly when we hit a really ugly snag a couple of days before our deadline. When that happened it was amazing to watch everyone pull together, pull out all the stops and get things done. We hit our deadline to almost everyone’s amazement. The team members humbly told the stakeholders that they just did what had to be done.

This was a team where everyone was ‘all in’ when it came to the project. There were many different factors that created the conditions leading to the formation of such a high functioning team. One of the most critical pieces of that puzzle was the personal choices made by the team members to fully commit to the project.

Each person was 100% vested in the success of the project. This wasn’t something we discussed amongst ourselves, it was just how each of us showed up. Not everyone started off that way, a few went through the motions at first; they did just what was needed and not anything more. As time went on the team grew together and by the last few days everyone was on board and giving their all.

More recently I’ve been part of teams where there were a few members who just did the bare minimum. When their shift was over they left right away. These team members did what was mandated but did not go out of their way to do more or learn more. Sadly it meant there were many more issues as the project rolled out. The people who held back during the preparation ended up playing catch up later. Additionally they were surprised when there were problems and issues. These problems were obviously the fault of the rest of project team.

Why the difference in the commitment level of these two teams? Part of it is their personality, part the business culture and lastly the expectations of the project leaders. When expectations are set that each person is expected to be fully engaged it builds an environment where that is the norm not the exception. Team leaders must give 110%, hold people accountable for their commitments, and bring an energy that helps keep the team excited and going during the rough patches.

Yet each of us has a responsibility to bring our all to whatever we are part of each day. The most engaging, inspiring and exciting teams can still have people on them who just won’t go all in. This means they are missing some of the benefits of being fully engaged. There are three key things gained when you are fully engaged with your team.

  1. Experience: When you are willing to do more than expected you get the opportunity to experience new things, learn new skills and see things in different ways.
  2. Satisfaction: Most people want to know that what they are doing makes a difference. When you give your all you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your best to create success. Whether you succeed or not you will know that your efforts mattered.
  3. Perception: Those who are seen as going all in on a project are seen as valuable team players. These are people who are get recognized as having potential because they can be counted on to get things done. This perception of dedication and ability can make your next career step a move up.

It’s so easy to say ‘let someone else do it’ or ‘it’s not my job’ or ‘someone else is responsible’ because it means less risk and less work. Yet it means you are creating limitations for what you can do, now and in the future. Holding back means boxing yourself in to a limited role. If you want to only be in a supporting role then only do what you are told. If you want to lead and grow you must break out of the box and show initiative, show commitment and go all in.

Like in poker when you go all in you can lose big or you can win big. However, you will never know how big a win it can be until you risk it all.

If you are ready to take the risk and go all in you can start today. Ask yourself what more can I do today to help create success? Is there something I can do to help someone get more done today? Where can I lend a hand?

Image from iStockPhoto.com

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership, Personal Development, Project Management

How Deep Does Your Courage Go?

16 2009 07 04_0083_edited-1There are times when you need more courage than you think you have in you.  When you enter unknown territory you need to have the courage to move forward.  These situations often appear completely unexpectedly and catch you unaware.  As leader you have to be able to quickly pull on your reserves of courage to get you through the tough times.

You may need courage to:

  • Make a tough decision
  • Take on new responsibilities
  • Share your position on a topic
  • Get out of your comfort zone
  • Be vulnerable
  • Admit a mistake/error
  • Speak in front of a group
  • Delegate an important assignment
  • Ask for help

These are just a sampling of when you might need to find the courage to proceed.  It’s important that you manage your fear so you can step up when needed.  It’s okay to be afraid; in fact if you aren’t ever afraid of failing, or letting someone down, or being wrong about something important then you really aren’t committed.  Healthy fear means the outcome matters to you.  When you have no fear, nothing matters anymore.  So embrace the fear just keep it in perspective.

To keep your fear in its proper place you need to balance it with courage.  Courage comes from confidence.  Build your courage by building your confidence that you can succeed.  Confidence is created from recognizing and acknowledging past success in a related area.  If you have previously negotiated a contract successfully you will be more confident of your ability to do it again.  The real challenge comes when you venture into new territory, one where you have no direct past experience to use as your compass.

Here are several tips to build confidence when you are in a new situation:

  1. Look for similar experiences.  Maybe you are giving a speech in front of 500 people which is 400 more than you’ve ever done before.  However, speaking in front of people can be the same no matter the size of the audience.  If you did well with 100 you can do well with 1000.
  2. Identify transferrable experiences.  If you are good at making decisions in a project based environment you can be successful making decisions in other environments.  Decision making skills transfer across industries and organizations.
  3. Remember past unexpected success.  Think of times when you accomplished more than you believed possible or even met a goal that seemed unachievable.  Once you have done the seemingly impossible you can do it again.
  4. Enlist the input of someone who has succeeded.  When you are going into something totally new and unknown find a mentor or coach or trusted colleague who can share how they succeeded in this kind of situation.  You can use their experience to learn what is needed to succeed.
  5. Take action decisively.  Once you make the decision to brave the unknown act quickly and decisively.  The more time you spend preparing yourself the more time you will have to create doubts by worrying.  As Nike says “Just Do It”.

Use your past success to give you the courage to dare to do something new now.  Be brave and take a stand, do something new or go where others fear to venture.  The more successes you have in new things the more likely you will be to have the courage to go further and do more than you dreamed possible.

If you are a leader, your courage to go out on a limb will inspire your team to do the same and the results will be even greater than imagined.  Create an environment where fear is okay but courage is cherished.  Be brave for yourself and your team.

When did you have to dig deep for courage?

 

If you would like help building your courage to face new situations contact us at carol@delta-group-llc.com

Logo with txt below

10 Comments

Filed under Leadership