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[mid-week bump] When have you applied non-work life lessons to the workplace?

Inspired by @Walter Buggenhout _ACA IT_'s series (latest article here), I've been inspired by how we apply collaboration practices to non-work situations (and vice versa).

Let's share our stories of non-work lessons applying to work collaboration (or vice versa) and inspire even more application!


I'll start us off:

When I was in college, I ran a cultural association like a polite commander. At least at the beginning. I had ideas of grandeur to bring language classes, fitness hours that incorporated folk dances, and lectures from historians to our programming. So I implemented them. Those first couple of months, I had to use a lot of food and superficial perks to attract attendees. But after some great advice, I learned that "education all the time" wasn't enough for people in their late teens and early 20-somethings.

So how did I address disinterest in one-note programming? During general body meetings, members submitted their ideas and gave mini-pitches for why they wanted to see certain programming. Afterwards, they put their ideas on a chalkboard and the whole lot was able to comment and express excitement for certain ideas. A few members would sometimes riff on ideas to add even more good ideas. 

The result? We had no problems with attendance moving forward.

  • Members were influenced by other members who expressed excitement
  • Sharing + documentation made members feel like the programming was partially their making and therefore felt more invested

At work, I no longer underestimate the power of giving teammates a voice and including them early in any process.



Somebody once told me that nobody wakes up every day and say "today, I'll screw you". Well, ok, almost nobody.

So every time I get angry or disappointed with somebody at work, I try to see their point of view and side. I'm sure they don't mean bad and have good intentions, I might just fail to see them. So I ask questions. And more questions. And observe. Until I get more insights.

I might still disagree with them, but there is a high chance I might learn and change my own perspective. And become a better colleague and person.

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Yes, intention is very rarely malicious and seeking first to understand is a lesson for in and out of the workplace!

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This is a more recent one for me.  I have an almost 2 year old son and I've been learning and applying Montessori teaching/upbringing.  One of the big takeaways is to redirect their attention to something else instead of saying no or using a negative.  For example, instead of saying "don't draw on the walls" redirect them to draw on paper.  This has been really helpful working with my team as I can try to redirect things that I would otherwise say "we can't do that".  I'll spend more time thinking about the request and ask them to clarify what they're really trying to do and take that information to find a solution.

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Love this! So often do projects not go according to plan. So to keep momentum forward, I think finding the opportunities in the situation is a great communication strategy in delivering work news.

Great reminder as there's practically some kind of unexpected news to deliver to the team every week!

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I hear that it works well with cats as well!

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@Christine P_ Dela Rosa This has been my experience, too. I have learned that when the team has input into building a plan/project/process, etc., they have a greater sense of ownership. This manifests itself as the team acting as influencers and providing more internal and external support than if they had told what and/or how to do it.

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Very great input @Carolyn Carney - I made the same experience with like everyone around me. No matter if it's your team, family or a client. Best thing is to keep everyone involved right from the beginning and make decisions together. Like better together than all by yourself, even if that means my own ideas will not be done 🤷‍♀️

A short discussion often found the best solution (maybe the next day) 

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Andy Gladstone Community Leader Jan 04, 2022

From 2004-2011 I coached a local Junior High School Hockey Team. These were boys in 6th to 8th grade, 12-14 years old, and an age group that is challenging to manage on a single team. The physical, emotional and mental development of a 12 year old when compared to a 14 year old is as different as night and day. I had to figure out how to incorporate each player into the overall team scheme - team meetings, practices, home games and away games (which generally included the entire team travelling on a bus). And each year there was a new bunch of 6th graders backfilling the 8th graders that graduated the year before!

It was challenging at first. But the reason I did this for seven years is because it was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. I learned about different learning styles - visual learners vs. audio learners, different emotional capacities and different mental processing styles - and how a disparate group of 20 individuals can come together as a team. 

There was no better training for managing multiple teams and individuals outside of JHS Hockey over the past 17 years. I often fail to see adults as evolving individuals that are imperfect. I can get impatient and frustrated with them when they don't get it or deliver on their assumed potential. But no one mistakes a 12, 13 or 14 year old child for a finished product. And the effort, patience, nurturing and understanding needed to help them realize their potential is a pre-requisite. I've (at least I've tried to) taken this lesson and applied it throughout my career. It's not exactly muscle memory for me, but it is an experience I draw from in every facet of people management.  

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There may be no better time to witness contrast in growth during that pubescent/adolescent phase! Great reference.

What I'm picking up is that coaching for all those years, @Andy Gladstone may have served as a constant reminder on how different we all are. And how we need to adjust accordingly. And this is relevant all the time.


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