Last week, my friend Martha came to visit from Vancouver and together we hosted dinner party. We cooked great food and put out flowers, candles, crisp linen napkins, gleaming silver, fine china and sparkling crystal, that most people no longer use. All this created the special mood for an interesting, thought-provoking and hilarious conversation, reflecting the interests and opinions of a changing cast of friends and acquaintances.
As people were getting to know each other over drinks, one man talked about the pleasure of living out of the hustle and bustle of the urban environment. He and his wife frequently see deer, wild turkeys, possums, raccoons and squirrels. Anyone who feeds birds, knows that squirrels will do everything possible to steal the birdseed. Bold and shameless in their quest, they leap and jump, frequently failing and falling in their attempts. He went on about the squirrels ever persistent attempts to open even the trash containers.
Now that my friend is retired and enjoying the leisure of sitting on his porch, observing the creatures around his house, he noticed the raccoons. Raccoons work in teams. One lifts the feeder off the branch, the other takes it. For trash containers, they join forces with one on either side of the top, so that gaining access to the goodies inside is child’s play.
His story pointed out a valuable lesson for our personal and business lives. Personal energy and commitment is great (just like the squirrels), but the smarter play comes from teamwork!
That’s why every guest at our dinner parties gets a Post-It Note ® with their job for the evening. Tend bar and make sure everyone has water and wine. Help get the first course on the table. Clear the first course and get the dishes in the dishwasher. Clear the main course. Help serve dessert. Get the dessert dishes in the dishwasher and so on.
Everyone pitching in helps all of us, including Martha and me, have more fun.
The same thing is true in your professional life. Where are the opportunities to team with a colleague, a client, a vendor? Once we start thinking and acting like raccoons and not squirrels, we will be more effective in what we do, and we will have more fun.
Where can you be a raccoon? Let me know what you discover.
Until next Tuesday.