Thursday, May 14, 2009

Harmony Is A Beautiful Thing

I just finished spending time singing with my wife and eight children. We try to spend some time each Thursday afternoon in this melodious exercise. My wife is very talented with music and her genes have fortunately made it to most of our children. When we hit those 4-part chords well it is really quite beautiful. But, it isnt always that easy. It seems like there is always someone who is off.

Sound familiar? Does it remind you of your family, your team, your company?

Getting everyone to do their part at the right time in the right way takes great effort and coordination. When you do it, it is music to everyone's ears. When you don't, it can be a painful experience for everyone.

One of the challenges we face is finding the right part for each person - especially as their voices change through the teen years. It has made for some good fun (we're not laughing at them...we're laughing with them), but it makes creating pleasant harmonies a little difficult.

Sound familiar? Does it remind you of your family, your team, your company?

In weeks past I have referred to focusing on people's strengths as a key leadership activity. This is exactly why. Finding just the right part for each person to play is a crucial leadership function. Unless we invest the time and energy necessary to properly identify everyone's part, we will wind up with dissonance that makes it hard for our team to deliver what others want and enjoy.

What is one thing you can do today to help your followers identify their part? Maybe it's time to shake up your lineup like professional sports coaches are forced to do at times. It could be painful in the shortrun, but may lead to a beautiful harmony that is hard to beat.

Seize the day!

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