There is an “I” in TEAM

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford

Thought I’d begin my post with some words of wisdom from someone who had the personal skills and leadership to change the world.  How did he do it?  He worked and he learned.  He envisioned and he succeeded.

For us more ordinary mortals, who are not destined to make changes in the world that would make news, it is still possible to make a mark.  Nobody ever said the mark had to be really big but I believe it should matter.  Every team member’s effort matters because whatever it is, it affects the entire team.

I am a chronic autodidact. I want to learn stuff.  I suppose it came from my dad always telling me to look things up when I ask him questions. This learning style has enabled me to pick up skills in all sorts of things from crafts, cooking, gardening, computers, history, etc.  If I see something that perks my interest,  I want to learn it.  I mention this not because I want to talk about myself but because from learning comes personal skills.

To me, it doesn’t matter what the skill is – as long as you learn it the best you can.  I admire how the garbage collectors in Chinatown NY tackle their job.   Since the streets are tight, they just can’t park the truck and conveniently use the “claw” to pick up trash cans.  So they created a technique of collecting heavy bags with a certain choreography. (Discovery Channel: Dirty Jobs)

Nobody is born already having skills.  Maybe a predisposition to being good at certain things but certainly not skills.  Skills are not just important for self-improvement but also in teamwork.  Skills are assets. The good news is skills can be learned. Utilizing the tips for success such as organization, time management, reading, and communication will enable any individual to tackle any learning environment.

We’ve heard of the saying “There is no I in Team.” Well, in reality there is.  Every single “I” (individual) is crucial. In any group situation, everyone has to bring something to the table.  So if you don’t have skills, learn some.  If you have no suggestions, think of some. Don’t be the person who comes to the pot-luck bringing the plastic cups.

Dr. Haycock’s lecture on teamwork is very thorough and addressed every aspect of teamwork.  The best thing I learned from his lecture is the idea of bringing everything to the table.  If someone doesn’t know how to do something, be honest.  Either learn it or offer another skill that would help the team.  Establish ground rules.  Drop the attitudes.  Seems simple enough to rational people.

But, guess what – we are not always rational.  I have my cuckoo moments myself!  Being online, we don’t have the best opportunity to get to know one another.  So I suppose honesty is really important.  Like Dr. Haycock said, trust is crucial.  I think once trust is achieved through honesty, the team can work at keeping together to finish a common goal.

 dream team would have members who are honest, punctual and determined to produce work that is not just finished but done well.  Can we do it?  Of course, we can. Think Nike – just do it!

Back to the Blog

I’m ashamed that I left my blogs unattended all year.  But a lot has happened in the last 13 months.  The day after my last post, my coworker was murdered for reasons yet unknown.  His absence thrust me into a full-time position at work which left very little time to do anything else until I eased into my new responsibilities.  We have a very friendly atmosphere at work and thanks to the support, we all managed to smooth things out in due time.

Having just mentioned that I have less time, it seems curious that I would decide to go back to school.  But I did just that.  Two days ago I started my graduate degree in Library and Information Science at San José State University.  I have to do everything online, of course, since SJSU is in California and I live in Virginia.

Since I graduated from college in 1987, I haven’t gone to school formally, although I dabbled with different things and earned certificates in  medical transcription and  novel writing.  I worked as a substitute teacher for 7 years and I considered getting a teaching degree but the thought of teaching the same thing over and over again didn’t appeal to me.  I didn’t feel like going back and getting a refresher in Architecture but I know I wanted to get a master’s degree.

Getting a job as a library assistant set me on my educational path at last.  I’ve always loved libraries and I enjoy working at ECPI University.  The integration of technology with library science is just what I am looking for  my geek/nerd self.   It wasn’t easy at first.  Customer service is part of the job and we all know how that can be.

As time went by though, it felt very fulfilling to help people find information, and heartwarming to hear their gratitude.  So it wasn’t really hard to make the decision to make this a lifetime career choice.

It has been a year of changes and opportunities and I’ve been crossing out things on my bucket.  I finally plunked the money and went not only to Rome but all over Italy on a whirlwind pilgrimage to about a dozen and a half churches.  My precious dog nearly died but $7000 worth of emergency treatment on four different occasions saved her and she’s with me still.

It’s been a tough year but I have a lot to be thankful for.  And I’m looking forward.  I suppose that is my life’s motto:  Always look forward.

With that said, visitors on my blog can look forward to my musings on a more regular basis.  Till next time!

The Blame Game

Why is it that today, very few people want to take responsibility for their mistakes?  We all have witnessed car accidents where both drivers claim it’s the other person’s fault.  This happened to my daughter.  She slowed down for a yellow light and the car behind her overtook her from the right.  Unfortunately for him, he didn’t notice that a semi-truck was coming, which hit him.  His car hit my daughter’s (which was already at a stop) and he spun around to the intersection.  According to him, it was my daughter’s fault.  The judge thought otherwise and sentenced him to take driver’s classes and a fine.

Another personal encounter I had with the blame game is when our college’s electricity went out and the  fire alarm went off five minutes later.  As we all learned in elementary school, you are supposed to exit the building in an orderly fashion and the people inside our library did.  I stayed ten minutes walking around with a flashlight to secure the place before locking the doors. We have a cash drawer, a cart of MacBooks, and other valuables so I had to make sure they’re safe.  It turns out, someone was in the conference room.  She did not ask permission to use the room so we didn’t know she was in there.  She did not leave when the lights went out and she claimed she didn’t hear the fire alarm.  And no, she’s not hearing impaired.  When she finally saw emergency vehicles coming into the parking lot, she decided to find out what’s going on.  Of course, I had already locked the doors and she panicked.  She was shaking the glass doors and students passing the hallway couldn’t open it for her and told her to get to the emergency exit doors.  There’s one right next to the front doors and another across the conference room.  She was understandably upset but she took it all the way up to the campus president and of course, who was to blame?  Me.  For following directives to secure the library.  She said somebody should have checked on her.  What is she – five?  Like I said even elementary kids know what to do.    My boss apologized to her but I didn’t.  The campus president said it was embarrassing but he didn’t really scold me and just told me to make sure all the rooms are empty.   Now we have a new directive in place that states staff (professors, et al.)  were to leave all rooms unlocked.  So to hell with the school’s and people’s personal belongings.  We have to make sacrifices for stupidity.

I mention this today because I’m a test administrator and today a person shows up saying that he is scheduled for today when in fact he was supposed to come in yesterday.  I have it in the database and in an appointment book.  On top of that, he was sent a confirmation e-mail.  But my boss is a firm believer in accommodating the customer so it was implied that I had to take the blame for the misunderstanding and fix it.

Finding someone to blame is a common human tendency.  I would surmise that this probably stems from pride.  Nobody wants to look bad or stupid.
But it is a lack of consideration to the person you’re dumping the blame on is also an awful reflection of character.    Of course, we all know about the woman, her coffee, and McDonald’s. No wonder we read warning labels on products like : “Warning, iron may be hot when turned on.”

I read this interesting article titled “The  Psychology of Blame” from The Department of School Psychological Services of the Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center in Ohio, that I’d like to share.

It gives some insight on why people blame others.  For some laughs, check out this post on Squidoo:

And if you don’t like these articles, please don’t blame me.