This post is part of our 2016 Team Buzz Builder Guest Blogger series. Today we are pleased to introduce you to Sonia Di Maulo, Author and Founder of Harvest Performance.
When you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
is not easily done.
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
After 10 straight losses, the team was getting desperate. You could feel the hopelessness once they lost the lead, made an error or struck out. Every unsuccessful action (or successful action by the other team) brought their energy and positive outlook down. It was thick. Everyone could sense it. No one said a word.
As a baseball team of young teens, they knew something was wrong. They felt defeat before the first pitch was thrown. Until . . . one of them decided that they could do it. And do it they did. The time for action was now.
Whether on the field or in the office, slumps can take a toll on productivity, effectiveness and performance. Here are three tips to bring your team out of a slump.
1. Act and turn it around!
“If you wait, all that happens is you get older.” — Larry McMurtry
If your team is sluggish and dragging their feet, the most important thing you can do is the opposite. Pick up the energy. As a leader, your energy can turn things around. Be aware of the current state of things and then bring hope, gratitude, and positive energy into the mix. It’s contagious if it’s done authentically and is a powerful way to break the slump.
Our baseball team had one such leader. He decided that this game would be different. His positive energy persevered. He chanted and encouraged, and the hope started to spread. Two chanted, then three, then four and soon the players were in the game in a way they had never known before. No more errors were made. They were in sync. There was a connection. And it was powerful as it spread.
2. Take a step back!
Looking at a problem too intently can make it hard to see the solution. Take a step back to observe, without wanting to look for solutions. Become solution-agnostic. When you stop looking to solve the problem and you become an objective observer, it’s easier to see the improvement opportunities.
Back to our baseball team: Parents are often these objective observers, removed from the details of the strategy. One parent was able to identify quick gaps, when no one else could. These observations were shared and the practices and strategy was adjusted every so slightly which gave those boys a significant boost. Small changes can sometimes influence great improvements.
3. Be daring!
It’s time to bring out those crazy ideas. At this point, it’s time to mix things up. Solicit crazy ideas and get the team into the action. Shake up the rhythm and encourage out-of-the-box innovative thinking. Doing this as a team and implementing these ideas can bring a team together in ways you could not imagine.
Hugs! The boys starting hugging each other and high-fiving after every good play. One boy (who had a hard time connecting with the group) started dancing while at third base to taunt the pitcher… and it worked (he even got respect from the group after that)! The coaches changed the batting line-up and started the game strong. A feeling that they were all in this together was created and they understood that passion was at the core of this slumped team.
Getting out of a slump is not based on a single act… but a series of actions that transform low energy into confident actions. Believing in every contributor’s abilities and verbalizing this belief will boost individual sparks. These sparks will then connect to cause a strong flame.
Acting from a place of heart will always prevail and victory will be yours.
Be brave. Bring home the win.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Sonia Di Maulo MA, CRP, is a Global Leadership Performance Strategist specializing in conflict resolution for teams. She is the founder of Harvest Performance and author of the Ken Blanchard approved book, The Apple in the Orchard. Sonia helps leaders grow their influence using living systems thinking principles. She is a proud mom of two and appreciates yoga, dark chocolate, and family time. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.