Posts Tagged ‘Team’

How to Beat Workplace Burnout Like a Marathoner

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Dave Weber - CEO/President

Hidden in the canyons of Mexico’s Copper Canyon lives a shy tribe of people called Tarahumara, or the Running People. The Tarahumara live quiet lives, growing corn and beans and living in family groups in huts and caves often perched precipitously on the mountain cliffs. They are also all ultra-runners.

Marathon-Runners---Black-Silhouette-SunsetAt social gatherings and celebrations, the Running People will conclude the festivities with a friendly footrace. A footrace up to 200 miles, that is. For a guy like me that is out of breath after four miles on the treadmill, the thought of these people running through mountain passes in handmade sandals sounds more like a mirage than a reality.

In Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run, he marvels that in the midst of a 100-mile ultramarathon they, “churned up the slope like kids playing in a leaf pile.” Laughing. Smiling. Somehow enjoying a 100 mile run. For the Tarahumara, running wasn’t a chore—it was a time to connect with their world and with one another.

Now lets step back from the Copper Canyon and into your city, your home and your workplace. You’re fed up with the job you used to love. Coworkers you’ve collaborated with for years are grating on your nerves. Projects that excited you in the beginning seem stale and dusty. Like the American runners racing against the Tarahumara, you’ve burnt out, and you’ve got 150 miles left to run.

How do you return to the blissful state where you began? Mental toughness.

I know, I wish I had a different answer too. But oftentimes the only element in our day that we can actually control is our attitude. And, when the boss is happy and the workload is light it’s easy to stay upbeat. Throw in an irate customer, a missed deadline and some extra rush-hour traffic, and then you have a training ground for mental toughness. Here’s a few tips from the Running People themselves

Take Shorter Steps—your burnout might be the result of overextending yourself. Instead of focusing on everything you need to get done this week, focus on the five things you need to get done today. Break larger projects up into small pieces and knock them out one at a time.

Lose the Shoes—After researchers studied indigenous groups like the Tarahumara, they discovered these groups experienced far less injury than Westerners with hi-tech and cushy running shoes. At work, sometimes the very things we think we need are the things creating problems. Have you gotten bogged down in party planning drama or chasing down someone by email instead of picking up the phone? Maybe it’s time to pick up speed by simplifying your processes. Lose the shoes.

Look to your elders—Would you believe that among the Tarahumara, the best runners are often the oldest!? Though it seems contrary to nature, it’s true. The runners with years of experience have honed their speed, footwork, diet, and strategy. The same is true of great leaders in any industry. If you want to avoid burnout, begin to note the habits of those a few years down the road, and a few rungs up the ladder from where you find yourself.

Never run alone—In Tarahumara culture, racing is a means of bringing the community together. How would our workplaces change if we viewed collaborative work in the same way? Sure you might feel like the project is about as fun as running uphill in the boiling Mexico sunlight, but there is some solidarity in enduring it together. Find at least one person at your workplace who you know you can lean on during a particularly tough day. But be prepared to return the favor.

Mental toughness is choosing these attitudes and practices over the feeling of burnout. It doesn’t matter if you’re running 100 miles or just trying to make it through the last 100 days of school with a rowdy classroom. When nothing around you seems to be changing, change your attitude. After all, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

What Donald Sterling can Teach us about Words

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Dave Weber - CEO/President

As the NBA reaches the end of its season, the news headlines center around a scandal far from the court, a recording allegedly of an argument between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his former girlfriend. The ignorant and small-minded comments about race have players, coaches and owners calling for the league to remove Sterling.

The comments—whether they end up confirmed as Sterling’s or not—are unacceptable, and the entire episode casts a poor light on the sport, where other owners, coaches and players were some of the original trailblazers and boundary-breakers in the civil rights movement. As the story continues to evolve, I hope it will generate productive discussion about racism, privacy, and business ethics. But, with the information we have now (which is not much), here’s a few things to think about:

  1. Words are powerful—One of the main thrusts of my book, Sticks & Stones Exposed, is the idea that our words can do more damage to others and ourselves that we’ve ever realized. Whether spoken, emailed, Tweeted, or texted these little black scribbles can wreak havoc in an instant. In the age of “friends and followers”, it’s wise to be even more aware of how far-reaching our words can be. The words spoken in the recording have hurt plenty of the people in Sterling’s life and many that he doesn’t even know.
  2. Words have consequences—So often we blurt out something without considering the consequences. Or, without considering that our words even have consequences. This is a HUGE mistake! Our careless and thoughtless words can wreck relationships, poison corporate cultures, and sink innovative ideas and projects. It does not matter if you are in public or private, “in the heat of the moment” or “just joking around.” You may not stand to lose an entire NBA team, but your damaging words might put your relationships with employees, clients and family on the line—and isn’t that really the most important?
  3. Words create collateral damage—Maybe you know that sometimes in the heat of the moment, you tend to say some colorful things that might hurt others. Get over it, you think. What you don’t realize is that you’re also hurting yourself. Similar to a boomerang, the hurtful things you say DO come back to you—in the form of a bitter spouse, resentful and unmotivated coworkers, fed up customers that finally disappear, and friends that begin to avoid your phone calls. When your words hurt other people (even unintentionally!), their opinion of you, and consequently their treatment of you will change as well. Your life is the collateral damage.

Lose The Screen

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Dave Weber - CEO/President

Dave Weber challenges your communication style. To bring Dave Weber to your organization or for more information on “Leadership Redefined” or “Sticks and Stones Exposed: The Power of Our Words,” go to daveweber.com.

If you have trouble viewing YouTube videos, click here to watch this presentation on WeberTV.

Tis the Season…To Be a Frog Kisser!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Dave Weber - CEO/President

With less than 10 days to go, I know that your Christmas to-do list is overflowing with the presents you have yet to buy and the outrageous number of parties you ought to attend. The LAST thing on your mind is trying to come up with a way to be kind to the office Grinch or neighborhood Scrooge. However,

Did you ever consider that the holidays are the easiest time to practice “ frog kissing”?

Frog Kissing Girl - Sticks and Stones Exposed by Dave Weber(By the way, if you don’t know what “frog kissing” is, I recommend you add my book, Sticks and Stones Exposed to your wish list.) A frog kisser is someone who intentionally chooses, through their words and actions, to support, encourage, and affirm those with whom they come in contact. I find the holidays to be one of the best times to develop your “frog kissing” skills for two reasons:

  1. The holidays occasionally bring out the frog in all of us. Between crowded malls, buzzing airports and hectic family get togethers, it’s enough to make the sanest among us want to shout “Bah, humbug!” In spite of all the seasonal cheer, most people are busy, stressed and tired. Now, more than any other time of the year, people need words of kindness, encouragement and positivity. View this as an opportunity, not an inconvenience, as you put a new habit into practice.
  2. The holidays also give us plenty of “kissable moments”—I’m not talking about anything that happens under the mistletoe, but rather about the parties, end-of-year reviews, and jam-packed social calendars that are perfect opportunities for you to be a “frog kisser.” Thank a grumpy co-worker for his assistance on a project at the office party. Compliment the festive decorations in a stressed-out teacher’s classroom. Take a moment to wish a TSA officer, grocery bagger, or restaurant server, “Happy Holidays.”

If your own heart is feeling two sizes too small this time of year, I’d challenge you to try “frog kissing” someone else. Aside from brightening their day, it continues to create a new habit in you—one of building others up, fostering teamwork and opening up channels of honest, productive communication. Who doesn’t want to work with, live with, promote, or hire someone with those qualities?

Put “frog kissing” into practice this month and you may have the people closest to you wondering if your attitude isn’t the result of a Christmas miracle!

How will you be “frog kissing” during the holidays?

Good Luck Team USA!

Friday, July 27th, 2012