A Helping of Harvey

A Helping of Harvey

On August 28, 2017, the rains that had been pummeling Houston finally stopped. Thanks to Hurricane Harvey, devastation was all around and very overwhelming. The question became, “Now what?” Our answer at inSPIRE Rock Climbing Gym was “teamwork.”

Our CEO, Paul Short, knew that our employees and members could help. When a call came in from an employee about a family in need of help, three of us loaded up tools and headed out. As we drove into the affected neighborhood, we saw pile after pile of garbage and debris. Teams of people were already at work making a difference. We met another employee, learned what had to be done, and got after it! Furniture, clothing, personal items were carried out of the house. Sheetrock and insulation were torn out of walls. It was tough, but at the end of the day we had accomplished something rewarding.

This started a series of days where our team grew and helped others with their first steps of recovery. As I look back on this experience, I observed several key principles – ones important to the success of any team:

  1. Attitude Affects Effort! Our team members were filled with gratitude. We each had been spared damage from the hurricane. This attitude made it easy to tackle the toughest, smelliest, most exhausting jobs. Without a positive attitude, the desire to work hard evaporates. Monitor your own team’s attitudes, and encourage positivity.
  2. Making a Difference Makes a Difference! Overwhelmed homeowners were so grateful to have our team come in and start the clean-up process. Just knowing we were making a difference energized us for the next home. Help your team members understand they what they do does indeed make a difference for your organization.
  3. Never Stop Learning! The first couple of houses we cleaned went well. But team member Bryan Robins wasn’t satisfied; he knew there must be a more efficient way. He researched how to tear out sheetrock and taught us what he learned. After that, we worked smarter – pulling out full sheets of sheetrock. It is easy for a team to get stuck on methods that get the job done, but aren’t optimal. Challenge your team to think outside the box. Always ask, “Is there a better way?”
  4. Fall in Like with Your Teammates! At one point, Paul said, “This work is tough, but I could do it all day because I like the people I’m doing it with!” Because we enjoyed our teammates and had fun together, it made even the toughest job doable. The same can be true for your team. Give your members a chance to interact and have a good time together.
  5. Celebrate Success! When we finished a home, we usually celebrated by taking a group photo with the homeowner. Celebrations can become things that people anticipate. Boost your team’s morale by finding ways – no matter how small – to help them celebrate their accomplishments.

As people observed our team and these five principles, they joined the effort, enabling us to clean out even more homes. This underscores the vitality of these team-development principles. A well-functioning team will attract and retain people, which will allow it to accomplish more.

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