Do Things That Take Awhile
I’ve been a high school teacher and coach for over 20 years now. Everyone wants to talk about how different kids today are and how much they’ve changed. Some of which is true and some is not - like every generation before them, I suppose.
I’d like to focus on one aspect of society, not just our kids, that has changed drastically since I first started my education career: the willingness to persist. It’s not debatable. I’ve personally watched the steady decline in grit.
As a whole, society does little reinforce the need for it.
Actually, we do the opposite.
We expect immediate service at the drive-thru window - forget the fact that you are sitting in your car doing literally nothing, while someone else is fixing your food for you.
We expect immediate replies to our text messages - never mind the rest of the other person’s entire life that should now be on hold to reply to your likely trivial request.
We expect our teams to click and have great chemistry within the first week of being together - disregard we are typically pulling together individuals from completely different backgrounds with completely different expectations to try to accomplish a common goal.
Why Should We Care?
That has changed. It’s different now. It wasn’t that way 20 years ago, but it was trending in that direction as it probably always has been. Our expectations grow with each advancement.
What hasn’t changed?
The best things aren’t achieved quickly.
It hasn’t changed and isn’t going to change. The best things require us to wait ... as they should. Work must be put in, obstacles have to be overcome, and failures must be confronted. Teams are the perfect example.
The organic nature of team development is on it’s own timeline. We can influence it, guide it, even push it but we can’t force it. It’s going to take time. Time for shared experiences, time for knowledge of each other to develop, and time for vulnerability to be embraced and trust to be built.
I think our obsession with instant gratification is a major player in the significant increase in poor team performance in all arenas. Leaders, team members, and stakeholders are not accustomed to waiting.
This lack of patience is a considerable problem in the team setting, mainly because there is no way around it. Even the best teams, ones that perform well early in their time together, have not tapped into their true potential at the early stages of existence. They may be good, but they’ll be better later.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
The interesting part of this is applying it. Even if we recognize it, how do we defy the societal norm and embrace the time excellence and true teams require? Here are a few thoughts to help pave the way.
Just as teams require a certain amount of time to truly develop, the same can be said for individual performance. We take time too. Excellence requires time. As Trevor Moawad’s book title states, “It takes what it takes.” Accept it and embrace it - for yourself and for your team.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.