Granted Only Three Wishes

I woke up this morning after having a strange dream about a genie with a magic lamp. This was not an ordinary genie; this was a work-obsessed genie that offered me three wishes, but they all had to be used to make myself and my team more productive at work.

It’s common knowledge that a genie can put restrictions on our wishes for riches, invisibility powers, and of course, more wishes, but as I got ready for work this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I would answer the genie’s question.

After considerable deliberation, I think this is where I would spend my newfound work fortune.

Wish #1 – Apply the principals in Extreme Ownership

Wish #2 – Live by the credo Team, Buddy, Self

Wish #3 – Have a thirst for knowledge

Extreme Ownership – A couple years ago I read Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Throughout this book, the authors talk about the need for individuals to take extreme ownership for every decision they make or don’t make in their lives. I frequently wish that myself and those around me would point the finger inwards to see what they could have done differently to ensure success—rather than trying to direct the blame elsewhere.

This idea of taking extreme ownership is easy to say, but extremely hard to do. For instance, when a project fails, you don’t want to ask yourself the question, “What could I have done?” to communicate our goals more clearly, support my teammates better, or become more active in the success of the mission…

Team, Buddy, Self – I had the good fortune to have a business coach that talked a lot about the importance of Team, Buddy, Self, and making sure that your priorities stay in that order. At the completion of a successful event, it is easy to want to kick your feet up and crack a cold Busch beer, but let’s take a look through a team-focused lens.

Team – What work needs to be completed before everyone gets to put their feet up (mission is completed, trucks are emptied, equipment is cleaned)?

Buddy – What assistance can I lend to my teammate to ensure that they also have a successful event (assume additional responsibilities, assist with incomplete work, help carry their load)?

Self – What further work can be done now to ensure future success (after action reviews, clean and organize kit, rest and relaxation)?

When a team operates with a mindset of putting their team first, then their buddy, and finally themselves, they ensure that everyone on the team is successful and significantly decrease the chance that while their contribution was a positive one, the overall mission still failed.

Knowledge – Throughout my life, I have been blessed to have business coaches and mentors guide me both personally as well as professionally. It wasn’t until later in my life that I truly understood how lucky I was to have these people and start to fully appreciate the guidance that they have provided to me over the years.

The granting of this wish would have helped me immensely in my early years, but still applies today. Too often I hear myself and my teammates trying to prove that we are subject matter experts in a given field rather then turning to the true experts and asking for guidance. There is no shame in admitting that you don’t have all the answers, and as a business coach once taught me, before you can be a good leader, you must first learn how to be a great follower.

I am still mad that that I was dreaming about work and not a Lamborghini, but I am interested to see how you would answer the question. What wishes would you grant to make yourself and your team more productive?

Sweet dreams,