Yesterday morning, a good friend of mine, Bill Erickson, told a very powerful story that hit me right in the heart. This week, a Japanese woman was rescued from being squashed by a train after she did what we all fear and fell down the gap. Dozens of passengers were quick to react and together pushed the 32-ton train carriage away from the woman in her 30s, and she was able to get away with minor injuries.
With the right people, focused on a single strategy, can do almost anything. I hear so often about dysfuntional teams and people who are unable to get anything accomplished. The real truth is — it's the manager. They haven't done the requisite work to get their team motivated and focused. That's why they are dysfunctional. So let's break down why the actions of the people at the train worked:
They were focused.
They had a common interest and all pushed at the same time to allow the woman to wiggle free. Are your people focused? Do they get distracted easily? How do you keep them on target — how to you regularly ensure they stay on target? Too often, team members are distracted by actions by others or management's changing priorities. Ultimately, they either don't deliver or miss deadlines regularly. Get them focused and keep them on track with regular updates.
They were committed.
They had a life or death situation to deal with and nothing was going to let them fail. They were all in and every little bit of their hearts, souls, and minds were determined to MOVE THAT TRAIN. Have you captured the hearts and minds of your team? As inconsequential as your work may seem, you need to light a fire under your team and keep them committed and motivated to do the extra-ordinary.
Everyone on your team needs to know and understand what is at stake if they fail and for you to show them how to succeed in a spectacular fashion. Most managers don't do this. They deliver the work and just expect their people to deliver. Show them how to WOW you. Give them the tools, direction, and resources to deliver in a powerful way.
They were energized.
The passengers demonstrated extraordinary strength to move a 32 ton train. These weren't bodybuilders or Olympic weightlifters, they were people just like you and me. What gets each of your team members fired up? Are they fired up right now?
Good managers know exactly the right motivators to push at the right times to get super-human strength, endurance, experience, and performance from their people. All by just using words. Find out what fires up each of your people and ensure you regularly make the same circumstances occur on a regular basis. It can be as simple as a compliment, a positive email, or a pat on the back.