Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Unstuck" Your Team

Photo by Horia Varlan

I had the honor of serving as part of a Colorado city council led by then-Mayor Joe Rice. Joe went on to serve two terms as a representative in the Colorado State House and has served five tours of duty in Iraq as a U.S. Army Reservist.

Even on matters where our opinions differed, I respected Joe for his vision and, in particular, for his ability to quickly refocus teams. When the council and city staff would get bogged down in criticism of valuable ideas, Joe would move the group from "stuck" to productive with one statement:

"We can find many reasons this idea won't work. Let's talk about how it can work."

The simple statement worked because it refocused the team on solutions, rather than problems. Every idea can have problems, obstacles, and unintended consequences. Leaders don't ignore these issues - they help their team focus on how to overcome them.

If we want to find solutions, we have to look for them.

Thanks for your many years of public service, Joe!

David M. Dye

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Twitter: @davidmdye
David shares twenty years experience teaching, coaching, leading, and managing in youth service, education advocacy, city governance, and faith-based nonprofits. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer for Colorado UpLift and enjoys helping others discover and realize their own potential.

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