Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
When I decided to start my blog, I told myself that my reason for writing was to serve as an outlet for my own mental health. Essentially, it served as a journal to express my thoughts, but not hidden in my nightstand. Deep down, I hoped that it would be a pathway to IMPACT others in a positive way - to engage those who I may not normally engage or even meet. But I made sure my purpose, my value, was focused on what I could control and anything beyond that would be an extra benefit.
It didn't take long to start getting feedback on my blogs. First from people with whom I already had a strong relationship, then I started hearing from people at work that I had not ever talked to - such as interns from other parts of the organization. Casual acquaintances would send me notes or bring up my blog when we would run into each other sharing feedback and their own experiences.
A few people engage me on a different level. They pose questions to dig deeper into the topic and challenge my point of view. They compare and contrast to their own experiences to help expand my understanding of other perspectives. Still others, seek out my insight on other topics and ask to explore it further through my blog. They share their own experiences and challenges that they are facing, hoping that I can not only shed a light on what they are facing, but help create pathways through my stories that can help others find their way to a solution as well.
One day in the breakroom, I was caught off guard when a coworker started talking about the Friends episode when Ross, Rachel, & Chandler were moving a couch up their apartment stairway with Ross barking at them to “PIVOT” until Chandler finally lost his cool. Actually, that was not the conversation we had, but I love Friends and thought it was a great way to introduce PIVOT as the topic of this blog.
My coworker knows my love of basketball and he suggested that a blog post focused on Pivot would be a great way to use a basketball analogy with challenges at work. Merriam-Webster defines pivot (v) as:
1. to turn on or as if on a pivot
2. to adapt or improve by adjusting or modifying something (such as a product, service, or strategy).
In basketball, the term is used to describe when a player, typically on offense and with the ball, keeps a foot planted on the ground and then moves the other foot allowing them to “pivot” around the defender. It allows them to change direction and gain a different perspective.
His reference to work was one about introducing change, which can be a difficult undertaking at best. What made it even more challenging for him was that he was not responsible for the introduction of a new system, but he and his team were the end-users of the system. The system was introduced without a formal change management plan. Buy-in was not obtained prior to the creation of the system nor were any of the team involved in the design or implementation of the system. It was rolled out as an improvement but in reality, it created a lot of headaches and even some extra work.
With his teammates frustrated, pushing back and in some cases refusing to use the new system, this person took it upon himself to seek out the initiator and ask more in-depth questions to get at the WHY. What he soon realized was that there was a bigger purpose for the system than what his team understood or was even told. The real value had never been explained.
As he engaged the system owner, he uncovered the hidden value and began to connect the dots on how his team can have a greater impact on the company. He took it upon himself to help his team pivot. He helped them look at the process from a different perspective. He helped them see the value that others get from the system and then connected the benefit to the customer all the way back to where it impacted them.
This pivot, around the obstacle in front of them, allowed them to get a clean look at the goal. He not only helped them pivot to a new perspective, but he also allowed them to pivot to a greater sense of worth. This alone would be a great success. But the pivot wasn’t done as he followed-up with the system owner/creator and helped them see the folly of not engaging the end user. He educated them on why there was frustration and the damage that was unintentionally done to productivity, morale, and relationships.
In basketball, the pivot is normally focused on the person with the ball. But the teammate also has the ability to pivot, to change their view, to change their pathway to receive a pass, to help their teammate achieve their goal. So don’t get stuck - whether on the court or at work. Be prepared to pivot. To improve your outlook. To improve your position. To improve your chance to achieve your goal Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.