“He wasn’t a very good farmer,” my grandmother would often tell me about her own father, “so he was very happy that I married a man who came from a successful farming family, your grandfather.”
My maternal great, great grandparents emigrated from Eastern Europe to homestead in the Dakota Territory in 1862. They came to escape the societal limitations and political dangers they faced, and risked everything to come to America. Both families considered farming an unfamiliar homestead a far superior opportunity than what they left behind, even though they had no knowledge of the geographic area or of the culture they were entering.
They came to their homesteads, towns were built, and the new Americans gathered together to provide support to each other, while individually applying their blood, sweat and tears in a mighty effort to bring forth crops from ground that had never felt a plow. America gave them land and did not persecute them, so they were happy amid their labor.
Some families came from European peasant farming backgrounds and were again successful in producing crops and nurturing cattle. However, this time their abundance could be sold to the American marketplace, and so some families prospered. Other families came from more erudite backgrounds and resolved to simply “learn” how to farm by just getting busy and doing it. Immigrants in the later group did not fare well, unless they had the help of the families who came from farming backgrounds. Together, the former peasant farmers and the former intelligentsia settled the Dakota Territory and intermarried. Anyone who fancied that their erudite background provided them the kind of class distinction they enjoyed in Europe, were quickly cured of this belief. Farming skills were prized, and without them, you starved.
This was the background behind my grandmother’s opening quote.
I’ve had the great privilege of studying computer science and then earning an MBA to further understand how to apply advances in science to create even more thriving businesses. My grandmother and grandfather never used a computer.
We live and work in an age where it takes teams of people, specialized in their knowledge, to deliver the complex products and services that drive America’s world-leading economic engine.
Advances in science have increased crop yields, produced oil from rock, put a computer into the cabs of tractors, and have changed the way farming is done.
But the science behind success remains remarkably familiar. It is the story of how people work together toward a common purpose and become an unstoppable Surging Team. No individual company is guaranteed success. Companies that strive to develop a culture that encourages each of their employees, with their unique talents, to thrive and contribute to a worthy common purpose, are the companies that will create marketplace value and succeed. On successful corporate teams, the computer engineer needs the salesperson, the marketer needs the accountant, and the lawyers need the customer service representatives. When the well-being of each member of the team increases, the results from their efforts are astounding.
In case this sounds like a convenient conclusion, our military has embraced the science behind the critical role that optimism, well-being, and “embracing the strengths of others on our team” plays in achieving predictably successful results.
Convinced by the work of researchers like Dr. Martin Seligman, Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, U.S. Army officer promotions are partially based on the officer’s demonstrated ability to increase the well-being scores of the soldiers on the teams they lead. People who feel good about membership on their team far outperform their less-than-happy team rivals. We do far better if we genuinely care about our team members, and know that they in turn care about us.
It is fitting that a century and a half of scientific advances confirm the same dynamics of team success that our pioneer families learned together in their isolated but happy farming communities in the upper Midwest, over 155 years ago.
BOLDbreak has one purpose, and that is to provide team leaders and company owners the tools and training they need, to develop an unstoppable Surging Team, a team that repeatedly succeeds in achieving difficult and important company objectives. When teams win, increased company profitability follows! Contact me today and let’s discuss the actions that you as the team leader or company owner can take, to more effectively use the science behind success.
Until then, Keep Winning!