September 30th, 2019 Don Packett
Picture the scene: It’s the start of the Rugby World Cup, and your national team has qualified to participate. What’s more, they’re opening the event against the host nation in the very first game of the competition. You’ve never felt more proud to be part of a nation that is at the very top of their discipline, and when the national anthem starts to play with the cameras panning across your team wearing the honoured national uniform, you and a thousand strangers in a bar across the world stand in unison, swell with pride, put your hands on your hearts, and sing with your team as they ready for action. You’ve been following their journey through qualifying matches leading up to this point, and are extremely excited to see how they fare against the rest of the world. The anthem reaches its peak, the crowd – and the bar – go wild, and you settle in for an action-packed annihilation of the host team.
The camera cuts to your national team’s coach being interviewed and asked about their strategy going into this game and the competition. His response to the interviewer: “We haven’t really practised for anything specific, we’re just going to wing it and see what happens. We’ve been playing rugby for a long time, so we’ll be okay.”
Your heart sinks, and you hope beyond all hopes that you made a silly error and actually betted against your team on Superbru. You’re feeling hurt, you’re feeling uninspired, and more importantly, you’re feeling like this team – who has the opportunity to make a difference to an entire nation – are not honouring the immense task they have ahead of them by not preparing for this in the best way possible.
You pay your bill, and along with a tip for your waiter in the billfold, you leave your sense of pride and go home.
So why am I sharing this? Well, because we experience this time and time again when speaking to leaders of teams, who feel like they don’t need to prepare correctly for when they address their teams. The number of conversations I have heard over the last decade, at least, of leaders in businesses saying they ‘wing it’ when presenting to their teams is astounding, and the main reason I think they feel that they can is this: They believe it’s a right to speak to their people.
But they’re wrong.
Speaking to people is an honour, not a right.
In business, the analogies and metaphors of teamwork and how sportspeople work together, maximising different strengths and expertise, the efficiencies of a Formula1 pit crew applied to how teams can work together more cohesively, are shared time and again with reckless abandon. It makes sense. For the most part, collaboratively-focused teams working together efficiently will make a good business function as a great business. The one key missing factor, though, is the understanding from person who’s supposed to hold it all together – and drive that team from the front – that their role requires not only to stand and deliver, but to ensure that their delivery is prepared, it’s succinct and, extremely importantly, it’s able to be measured because they’re working towards a common goal that everyone is aligned to. This is the Inspirer. The Champion. The Driver.
Consider this: Take yourself out of that bar watching rugby, and now place yourself into the last conference, event or presentation you attended where the leader of your team or business delivered something that you know could have made an impact on your and your colleagues, your teammates, but it just fell short. Maybe they waffled on, maybe they veered off track or maybe they spoke a lot, but they actually said very little.
Was that the best use of your time? Did you feel that your time spent in that session was maximised, or mandatory? If the answer is the latter, there needs to be a change. And if you’re the person delivering these talks and not fully realising that the collective time spent in a room for you to talk and for them to listen should be honoured, and not seen as a right, we can help.
The first step is to change your mindset. Put yourself on that standing line-up of the national team, readying for action. They’ve practised, they’re focused, they have their strategy, and they wear those national colours as an honour. They worked hard to get there, and they’re going to do everything in their power to make their country proud.
As a leader of a team or business, it’s your duty to act accordingly. Your position of authority doesn’t give you the right to stand and speak to your team. Their time is valuable and should be honoured accordingly.
Book your seat in our ‘Stand and deliver‘ training session and learn the methods to effectively change the mindset of your audience and drive action while honouring their time and attention.
Posted by Don Packett
Leader of my Free World • MC • Comedian • Legacy-buster • Eco-lover • Bird-chaser • Wannabe farmer • Curator of doideas.org