Strong players win
"One resolution I have made, and try to always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things."
- John Burroughs
Tuesday morning was busy. At 7:00 a.m. I conducted an Executive Briefing for a new client, a trucking company in Yakima, Washington, then quickly traveled across town to meet the general manager GE Aviation in the airport industrial park. I took a break after these meetings at the Union Gap Denny's restaurant. I needed to dictate my notes from the meetings and reorganize. Then I called Randy, owner of the Naches Tire Factory store and a current Leadership Lab participant. He invited me over for lunch and a tour of Naches.
I pulled out of the restaurant parking lot, drove through the newly opened Union Gap turnabouts, and started to drive underneath the I84 overpass. I saw a giant of a man off to my left. I thought I recognized him. I hit the brakes, put down the window, and hollered out, "Bruce. Is that you?" He looked over at me and said, "Yes," with sort of a question on his face. He didn't recognize me right away. I took off my sunglasses and said, "Larry Dennis, Turbo." Bruce and I haven't seen each other for over 5 years. I was lucky there wasn't someone on my bumper. Bruce came over and we shook hands. I said, "What are you doing here?" I knew his firm had constructed the turnabouts and was continuing to work on the overpass. He said, "I'm here to accept a bonus payment and an award for completing the interchange ahead of schedule." His superintendent, Tom, along with almost a hundred other of their senior, middle, frontline managers and supervisors, participated in our Leadership Lab about 5 years ago. Tom said, "Just a minute." I haven't seen Tom since graduation. He ran over to his pickup truck. I saw him reach inside, grab something, and run back over to my car. He proudly held up a dogeared, dirty copy of his Leadership Lab User's Guide. Bruce said, "Tom carries that with him everywhere he goes." I said, "Well, no wonder you got this project done ahead of schedule and earned that bonus check!" Bruce laughed, said thanks, and I had to drive on. The next day I received this email from Tom:
Was so nice to see you in Yakima today. How freaky? I have been practicing your stuff daily and has really helped me grow both professionally and personally. Bruce was here today to celebrate our opening of the Valley mall and the ramps. We finished 29 days early and received the maximum incentive bonus of 250k, I was getting updates from Kris last year but have not for a long time. Would love to have you start sending again as I love this stuff. Take care was great to talk to you.
This serendipitous encounter dramatically made the point that organizations who want a winning team who deliver ahead of schedule must create strong players dedicated to their growth and improvement. Team members who are willing to work at finding ways that go against what is easy and natural, take the high road in communication and win the cooperation of all key players on their team and in their organization.
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