My overall purpose in life is to ‘bring out the best in others'.
I find myself explaining this to my friends and my clients on a regular basis. I really want people to know that I do my best to bring out the best in them.
This is the third in a series on how to bring out the best in others. I hope you enjoy the series and pick up some ideas on how you can bring out the best in your teams. These are mostly personal stories through the years. I also hope that these are entertaining for you :)
Bring out the best in others - Part 3
About 15 years ago...... this purpose (I also say it’s a ‘calling’) came to the surface in my life. It has been a recurring theme for many years.
I saw this theme in my direct sales roles
I saw this theme in my sales management roles
I saw this theme when I managed teams across cultures or traveled to new places
I saw this theme in my involvement in the local church
I saw this theme in my marriage and family
I saw this theme in the relationship with my son (who was adopted from Bulgaria at a young age
Bringing out the best in teams across cultures:
It was 2003. I had just finished 2 years of living in Ukraine. I was serving as an agriculture consultant in the swine industry. And – I was teaching English for a Christian group in Ukraine.
Masha was a great addition to our team in Ukraine. She was kind, quiet, funny, and very loving. I had known her through a Bible study that I’d been a part of for almost 2 years.
Masha and some other folks were helping me to a series of workshops in Kyiv. The goal was to help equip people to work for international companies in Ukraine’s capital city.
At the time, the average salary was about $200/month. But – if you worked for an international company…you could make $500/month or more. My goal was to help equip people with skills so that they could work for these international companies. Skills such as Business English, working on teams, time management, communication across cultures, etc.
Masha was the chief administrator for the workshops. She and I would sit down and talk about upcoming workshops. I’d start to go through the ‘big picture’ of what we wanted to accomplish as a team. She’d interrupt me and ask questions such as ‘How many pencils are we going to need for the workshop? What specific types of food do you want to have for the workshop?’
This was early in my team-leading career.
At first, I thought Masha was trying to irritate me. Masha…was very simply…doing what she did best. She managed the details. And wow did she manage them well. Every single workshop went off without a hitch. Every single workshop had plenty of pencils, food, and other detail we needed.
This got me thinking. Could we do something bigger?
Over the next few months, we put together an English summer camp. Then, the next year, we put another together. We had over 250 people attend the camps. So many students from Ukraine came. People from the US, England, and Ireland came to help. I somehow managed to lead these camps for the first 2 years. I had good people like Masha around me…or else they wouldn’t have been successful. And…the people that came from different countries as well as plenty of Ukrainians – they were all aligned in their strengths to help serve the students in learning English and developing skills to work for international companies.
18 years later these camps are still going strong. Each summer (and often in the middle of winter) there are camps like the ones above. And…they are led by great people – ones that are even better equipped than I was then to help serve the students in Ukraine.
The first step in bringing out the best in your team is to get to know their talents and strengths.
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