James, project manager for a large building company in southern Oregon, told Session 7B of the Leadership Development Lab:
"Our company currently has a contract with the Oregon Military Department to design and construct the new Armory to be located in Springfield, Oregon. Our designers came up with the concept drawings depicting a beautiful building that the owner quickly accepted. As the design details progressed and a definitive estimate for the project could be developed, it quickly became apparent that this design was several million dollars over budget. We had many brainstorming sessions with our architects and the Oregon Military Department to find ways to decrease the cost through design changes, scope reduction, as well as exploring additional funding possibilities. The design team came up with many great suggestions. Unfortunately none of our ideas came close to the budget requirement we had to meet.
When I received my red dot at Session 3 of the Leadership Development Lab and was challenged to apply my five times more enthusiasm to an important project, it was an easy choice. It was important for me as a team member not to let the discouraging results of our brainstorming sessions affect my attitude. I needed to focus on the successes of the project to date. A negative attitude of one team member can bring down the entire teams' performance.
Last December we met with the owner again to reveal the latest round of costsaving ideas. When it became apparent that we were still
not reaching our budget goal, the owner's representative finally said what we were all thinking; 'Let's throw away the current building design and start over!' There was a long, silent pause, then our architect blurted out, 'Well we should have done that months ago!'
With new resolve and determination, our architect started with a clean sheet of paper (after a year of working on the first design), and came up with a floor plan, elevation and section sketches for review within two days. Since then, our estimating manager has indicated the new design can be constructed within budget.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that it is essential for every team member to remain enthusiastic toward reaching the end goal, especially those challenging goals that seem to be blocked at every turn. I also learned once again that any one member with negative comments or lack of enthusiasm when faced with difficult problems can decrease the teams' chance of success.
The action I call you to take is to use five times more enthusiasm toward reaching your goal, whether you are the team leader or a team member. The benefit you will gain is most any difficult problem will be overcome. Your team will succeed and you will know the thrill of victory."