The mule or the racehorse?

Do you want to be a mule or a racehorse? Brian Schubring, founder of Leadership Vision Consulting asked me and 34 Strong CEO Brandon Miller this very simple but targeted question in a recent visit that we had with him. We were discussing team and organizational growth and realized that when most organizations are faced with these options, the majority would choose to have their team be the racehorse. Many of you reading this do not wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and proclaim to yourself: I want to be as average, or slightly below average as I possibly can be.

As we paused for a moment in our spirited conversation, this question really struck a chord. How often are we really asking this of ourselves and of our respective teams? When we do ask it…how are we really looking at what we are doing as individuals and as a team to truly be the racehorse? This is not in terms of only looking at numbers for performance and motivating teams around “incentives” to become cutthroat and stomp “team” members strictly for personal gain. Maybe you have been within a “team” like this where it is common to put individual gains above group gains. If teams are incentivized to be co-dependent, leadership is weakening the culture. As Simon Sinek points out in his latest book Leaders Eat Last: “In a Weak culture, we veer away from doing “the right thing” in favor of doing “the thing that is right for me.””

Strong cultures are defined by individuals feeling as they belong to something bigger than themselves. That fosters a sense of pride in that organization, contributing to the strong culture. The people working for these organizations have a clear understanding and acceptance of each other and how they can get the best of each other through interdependence. Strengthfinder is a tool for achieving an awareness of where the “best of” can reside for the team. However, it is what we do once receiving this awareness that matters…developing teams around talent! Focusing on what is right and developing strengths opens the opportunity to consciously choose to be the racehorse instead of the mule.

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Darren Virassammy is Co-Founder and COO of 34 Strong Inc. Darren is also an Instructor at Heald College, where he teaches courses in Entrepreneurship and Business. His top 5 are: Achiever, Arranger, Relator, Learner and Responsibility. Once aiming and applying his strengths, Darren quickly realized his natural ability to find and unlock peoples’ innate talents was something he was very passionate about. Operating in his Strengths Zone, Darren saw the opportunities to help more people and organizations through the formation of 34 Strong.

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