Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying “You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” This quote applies to nearly every aspect of our life from starting a business, seeking a new career opportunity, changing the direction of your organization and so on. This quote also applies to leadership, management and building your team.
Far too often we sit around with an idea, perhaps the greatest idea to come along in a while. Yet we don’t act. We think to ourselves that we need to plan, or do more research or some other procrastinating excuse. Unfortunately the idea passes, someone else does it and we lose out.
When you are charged with leading a team, project or division you have the autonomy to take that first step and implement something that will transform your team. You just have to start. From the moment you write it down or announce it you will set the ball in motion and all the excuses will dwindle. It is also a proven fact that once you start something, even just by writing it down, you increase your chances of completing it.
Recently I’ve wanted to do more to improve the bond and loyalty of my agents. Their loyalty to myself and my managers runs pretty high but I have noticed that, in many cases, they don’t have that same loyalty to each other. Without realizing it, my first step started by playing a lecture on The Last Mile, a non-profit organization that operates inside of San Quentin. The program teaches the male inmates skills and technology to help them have a better future once they are released. Part of that program is to create a business plan that includes a technology and social component. Those plans are then presented to entrepreneurs and VC firms. Several of the plans have been adopted and are currently in operation.
Once the lecture was over something magnificent happened. The group of agents who signed up started brainstorming on things they could do within the call center to further their skills, knowledge and team work. They wanted to model the example the men in the video had demonstrated. They asked for more video presentations and discussions like that. They asked for the required reading list of the program and wanted to have a book club where the books could be discussed. They implemented a “sit by someone different day” to get to know other agents they normally wouldn’t socialize with. All of the ideas they came up with are all ideas I have had in my mind but have put off for one reason or another.
Without realizing it, playing that video was my “taking the first step” without knowing where the staircase would lead. I know now that the staircase is one to greater team loyalty, expanding their knowledge and ultimately a happier and more productive team.
Stop waiting and take that first step, you will never be disappointed in where it leads you.
I welcome you your comments below on how you took the first step and what the result was once you did.
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