I’ve only kicked a basketball at a player once. I missed his head and instead hit a window. Not my greatest moment but as I learned that day, every coach has pet peeves and it is up to players or employees to figure these out, steer clear of them and distribute this information to the group. My top three pet peeves that my players quickly picked up on were – Don’t be late for anything, Don’t blame anyone for mistakes and Don’t say I, Me, Mine. For whatever reason those three behaviors on teams that I coach, drive me crazy. It’s quite simple, Be on time, own mistakes so we can improve and say We, Ours and Us. Simple…right.
For about 15 years I have made it a point that when I was with a head coach, boss or director that I would say things like:
- Your team -Your company
- You should feel good about this or that
- That will really make you better
- I’m sure you will win with this or that.
- That sales opportunity will be great for your company.
I’ve said things like this for literally 15 years and never has anyone, a coach, executive or leader ever stopped and corrected me to say Us or Ours or We. Until last year when I was stopped and corrected. I took note of this and smiled because I’ve often wondered who would be the person to finally make that correction. A coach that I admire once said “You dont work for someone, you work with someone.” When I was corrected I remember thinking this – you dont work for me, we work together.
Last night I had a late online meeting with 10 co-workers. We are all currently at the same client working on a variety of software related projects. We meet every few weeks to discuss where we are with our projects, what we can do collectively to help one another and make strategy decisions to help position our client for success. During this meeting I was speaking about our team and the success we have been having – but I framed it as if I was not a part of or included in the success in the project. Literally all of them stopped and corrected me at the same time to make sure I was included and acknowledged in the team’s success. “Quit saying your or them..Say We – you’re a part of this” – Perfect!
First thing you need to do with your teams. Stop everyone from saying I, Me, Mine – get everyone to say We, Ours and Us. Build a team and community where everyone has a sense of ownership and inclusion. That everyone is important and valued. That we are a team.
Notice the people that consistently say I, Me, Mine – correct them. Build that standard within your culture.