Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do What the Team Needs

Whether you are a teacher, principal, engineer, manager, attorney or nurse, you are part of a team today.  Communication and collaboration are integral to every school and organization and we ask or are requested to be a team player.

For the most part, we strive to be a great team member and team leader.  Certainly we recognize the advantages of being part of a family and a team.  If you are an educator, you have most likely been a part of Professional Learning Community work, which mandates teachers working in collaborative teams to develop and implement common assessments, look at data collaboratively to inform instruction, and enact collaborative intervention and enrichment.  Certainly the new Ohio Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems also mandates educators to engage in collaborative practices to improve student learning.

In addition, much motivational and educational literature has been published on the importance of team, cooperation and collaboration.  Indeed, most recently, author and speaker Jon Gordon has worked with many college athletic teams, organizations and schools on implementing his main principles of The Energy Bus.

This allegorical story of George, unhappy in life and work, and his transformation as a result of riding a bus that initially he hated the thought of riding, is a bestseller that reveal ten rules for approaching challenges.

We started out our year adopting the ten rules and receive short and great motivational email updates from Jon Gordon that reinforce how to overcome negativity and adversity to create success.  One of my favorites is Rule #6, No Energy Vampires Allowed, a visual and positive way to discuss the paralyzing effects of negative people on a team.

And yet, from time to time, we all become energy vampires, some just choose to do so for longer times than others.  One of the things I have noticed is that it is so easy to say that we want to be part of a team.  It is easy also to state we want to be positive team members, and when everything is going well for us, we are, especially if decisions are made that we disagree with but that don't really affect us.

But when a decision is made with which we disagree and directly affects us, it is much easier to forget the TEAM.

Today was a great example of that.  We have had six calamity days used this year, one over the limit.  The school board had previously denoted June 2 as a make-up day and the district announced today that we would use that day as designated.  The negative effect of that is that June 2 is on a Monday, and our exams were scheduled to end on the previous Friday.  We have now moved our last exam to that Monday, and it seemed today that no one liked the decision for varying reasons, not students, not parents, and not staff.

In essence, everyone became a victim, an Energy Vampire, sucking the positive energy out of the team.  Don't you know someone like that?  Every time something doesn't go their way, they play the victim.  Don't we all do that at some point?  Sure.  That is being human.

That is why that from time to time, we need to have those reminders that whether we want to be or not, we are always a part of a team.  Whether that team is our family, our church, our school, our organization, or our company, as a team member, as Mr. Spock once said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."

How appropriate then today, that on Twitter, Jon Gordon posted a video entitled Do What the Team Needs.  Please watch this extremely short video, for it is a great reminder to all of us how fortunate we truly are to be a part of a team, whether we all like the decisions or not.  No matter what, we need to do what the team needs.


  1. Thanks for informing me about Jon Gordon and the idea of an "Energy Vampire." It makes complete sense without any explanation. I agree that we all have a desire to be part of a team and it sounds like you have a great team to work with.

  2. An Energy Vampire! I love that phrase so much and will be using it often!

  3. A really powerful reminder! I spent the day giving makeups for our state tests. What the team needed, but it surely was hard not to be a total energy vampire, after the third 90 minute session of just sitting there, with nothing in my hands, watching a kid take a test.


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