Developing Your Team

Part 1

Throwing the Book

The growth and excellence of your team can be stumped by a lack of development and personal growth leaving your organization in the dust in times of change. We noticed a cautionary take in the previous post about not developing vision and it wiped out Blockbuster.


It still happens to many organizations and businesses today. It may even be happening to yours. Nevertheless, it is my pleasure to introduce to you one of three ways you can develop your team for positive growth and create visionaries, thinkers, and servants that take pride in what they do.


Establish a required reading list.


Yes, you have to treat development with importance. Reading books not only gives you insight to know your team’s devotion to growth but it also produces opportunities for dialogue, critical thinking, and can express the ideas and values that you want your team to catch.


First off, let me tell you why books should be as common place in your workplace as computers and desks and coffee. Books offer up a wealth of information you would otherwise have trouble collecting and explaining to your team. Books exhibit the belief that knowledge is worthy of attaining. The stories in books can help refer new solutions to old problems. Books can also help create the culture you want to have in your organization.


Dave Ramsey, a business and finance expert and author of The Total Money Makeover, believes books are so critical to his team’s success that he has 5 books that he requires all new team members to read within their first 90 days. His company, EntreLeadership, has transformed the lives of many people and Ramsey believes that his required reading list is a catalyst for that success.


If you are concerned about bettering the attitudes of those on your team, give them a book such as The Art of Servant Leadership: Designing Your Organization for the Sake of Others by Tony Baron or The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow by Mark Miller. These resources can rearrange priorities in the hearts of your team.


Phil Jackson, arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time, won 11 NBA Championships as a coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, while mentoring Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as they played for him. It is safe to say that Phil Jackson has influence. It is well documented that he would give his players books to read. However, he didn’t just generalize what books he gave out but he would gift his players these books based on who they were, what they were struggling with, or what they wanted to achieve.


I believe that both approaches can work well. You can take Ramsey’s approach and establish a reading list that your team should enjoy adhering to or you can personally screen (read) and select books based on those you have on your team.


Ever been bored to have yet another weekly meeting? Reading can spark positive and creative dialogues for your meetings. Say goodbye to those dreadful moments and infuse them with a recap of what everyone is learning. Nothing produces confidence like sharing ideas in a safe and welcoming environment. Maybe your team can read Dale Carnegie’s books and find improvement in their personal lives as well.


Now, to be clear, some of you may be wondering, “how am I going to instill reading in my organization?” Many of you have already imagined getting backlash for trying this but I assure you, it is well worth the effort to implement a culture that reads into your team.


While attending high school, I participated in the journalism class. Our monthly newspaper was called “The Portlight” and I was proud to be the sports editor. I remember going to that class everyday and finding The Los Angeles Times on my desk every single day. Our teacher, Ms. Ramos, would have the newspaper delivered to our school everyday and she would have us read whatever we wanted to read for the first 15 minutes of class. Naturally, I would read the Sports section first. She would then ask us if anyone of us read an interesting story that we would like to discuss. Some students would share their thoughts on the war or on politics. Others would discuss entertainment news and give us their take on media. Regardless of what was shared, Ms. Ramos was instilling in us a journalistic culture. She believed that journalist should read the news.


How about that? Shouldn’t those that work together to create their own newspaper learn from the examples of professionals? That was exactly what occurred in us. We began to emulate The Los Angeles Times because we read it everyday. We wanted to present a product that was elegant, interesting, and important.


We would not have grown in our development if we were not given the opportunity to read as a team. That would be like a church leadership team that does not even read the Bible.


You can devote the first 15 minutes of the workday to reading whatever book on your list. Your team may find itself animated through out the day. Or maybe you can read an insightful section of your reading material to finish off a meeting. You find your team eager to come to work and to be attentive and prepared for meetings.


Always remember that a team that reads is a team that is growing and that should be your goal. Put time in investing in your team. They are what will help you and your organization be successful or they will participate in its failure.


I will continually write more on this subject alone but for now, stay tuned for the next two parts in this series.


In the comment section below, leave your thoughts on this approach to developing your team.