Who you believe you are – your identity – determines your life experience. Remember when you were in school and you couldn’t understand why the dork-guy was so popular with the girls? Because, of course, he thought he was popular… so he acted popular.

The same thing happens with teams. They function out of the identity they have for themselves. Yet, what do most teams do to determine their identity?

Here’s the elephant in the office: Most teams focus on what’s not working and all their problems – which of course creates this identity: We are a team where things don’t work well and where there are a lot of problems. (Ouch.)

It gets worse: Such teams often rely on outside consultants or motivational speakers to create their identity – instead of using tools to create and nurture their own.


The CFO for the largest bottle maker in the world recently shared, “You can’t outsource your team identity. If you do, you guarantee you’re doing the same thing ten other companies are doing.”

He continues: “An outside speaker or company can’t have your passion. If they do, you’ve got an entirely different issue on your hands.”

The wise parent helps a child create a healthy identity by focusing on and reinforcing what the child does well. This identity serves the child for a lifetime. (“I’m smart,” instead of “I’m stupid.” “I’m creative,” versus “I’m not.” And “I do well in tough situations” rather than “I don’t.”)

The same approach works with teams. Answer this today: How would you like the identity of your team to evolve? Then, make a commitment to focusing on when this quality is exhibited – and watch it become a greater reality.

Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?

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