Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Year in Review

Slowing down to savor the year’s highlights brings a blend of satisfaction and anticipation. From team to team, the stories of courage, innovation, and transformation have a unifying theme: harnessing adversity to fuel growth and change. Consider a few examples.

  • A second-year Teach for America professional inspired a network of generosity to build a resource library for her middle school classroom.
  • A global consumer products team created packaging that made healthy and nutritious snacks more attractive and accessible to children.
  • A local retailer launched a customer experience initiative designed to link shopper needs with product qualities.
  • A rehabilitation facility designed physical therapy techniques that hastened athletes’ readiness to return to the field of play safely.
  • A non-profit organization developed prevention education methods that reduced the incidence of risk-taking behaviors in teens.
  • A national telecommunications company diverted tons of used equipment from the waste stream to recycle opportunities.
  • A regional accounting firm volunteered expertise to a local college to teach young adults basic money management skills.

Each of these examples arose from a willingness to try something new in the face of challenge. Rather than giving in to the fear that often accompanies struggle, each of these teams stopped to decipher the opportunity that was hidden within the pain and convert it to something innovative. As a result, they are leaving 2012 in better condition than when they entered.

Will your team be one of our 2013 stories?


Welcoming 2013 in 4 Easy Steps

Here we go – one more time around the cycle. Traditions and celebrations will mark the coming weeks as we take stock of a year gone by and prepare for the year ahead. Other than turning the page on the calendar, though, what will really be different? Consider these 4 easy steps:

The Team Clock model recommends taking time to soak in what has been lost as we say goodbye to 2012. Favorite memories and accomplishments ring as loudly as mistakes and missed opportunities.

Acknowledging all that is left behind and carefully selecting what will be inherited into the future, define the anchors. What is not changing? What should be different moving forward and what commitments are we willing to communicate to make real change possible?

Having anchored our foundation and shared new goals, it’s now time to own the plan. Simply, this plays out in literally everything we say and do each day. Behaving our commitments allows us to become the change we seek. Collaboration with others ensures accountability.

Create something new. Have the courage to be different. Take smart risks. Explore. Experiment. Be curious. Learn. Discover. Dare 2013 to be a year of innovation.

Happy New Year from the Team Clock Institute!

This is Not Set in Stone

Sitting in the lobby waiting to be greeted by the company’s chief human resources officer, I took in the decor. Workspace design is often the first clue to an organization’s mission. This particular organization was the parent company for over a dozen global businesses. Each business logo was proudly displayed on a sign attached to a post embedded deeply into a massive foundation of granite. The message was clear.

The discussion of our future partnership arose from a conversation of the evolution of culture. Because the historical growth of this company was driven by mergers and acquisitions, they were continuously challenged by blending missions, values, and visions. Often, there was common ground. Sometimes, however, there was significant disparity in organizational philosophy despite the wisdom and business sense of the acquisition. Either way, blending differences and managing change was woven into the fabric of the corporate culture.

Further exchange revealed the secret sauce of their success. Their growth was made possible by ongoing strategic decisions about whether to invest or divest. Selling a company often had greater advantage than buying one. On any given day, an associate of this organization could learn that they were hereby either now employed by this company or hereby no longer employed by this company. The business logos that filled the signs embedded deeply in the granite foundation were easily interchangeable.

The granite foundation, however, never moves. Sign posts move in and out as strategic business decisions are executed from year to year. The overall philosophy, mission, values, and vision of the organization, however, remain anchored and stable. When changes occur, whether expected or unexpected, everyone rests upon the strength of the foundation that, for decades, has guaranteed the sustainability of the business. While everything always changes, some things don’t.