During a recent global communications meeting, I used the theme “Stretch” to guide our work.
Prior to this meeting, we had been working to lay the foundation. We had done a good job. At the first meeting, we didn’t even have staff in all of the regions. Now we do. We’re still continuing to build on those foundations, but it was time for us to stretch.
A colleague of mine often spoke about leapfrogging, but I didn’t think we were ready for that. So on the first day I handed everyone a rubber band. Anyone who joined us throughout the week also was given a rubber band.
I asked each person to look at the rubber band. Within the space of the rubber was what we were currently doing and our skills. But if we pulled on the band, just slightly, suddenly we could do more. Of course, if we stretched too far, we could lose focus and, even worse, break. That was definitely not the intent!
Throughout the week we examined issues from different angles by stretching our viewpoints. We considered how we could work more optimally.
At the start of each day, I challenged myself and the others to consider how they had stretched the previous day during the discussions.
By week’s end, we all agreed that if each stretched just a bit, we could accomplish so much more, both individually and as a team.
I’m keeping the rubber band on my desk as a reminder to not be complacent and to stretch.