May 21, 2022

Human Teams & The Ripples They Send


'm most often asked, “why do you do the work you do?”

Sending & Receiving Ripples

First, I'm not sure how I ended up where I am. Do any of us? It feels that the universe conspires to put us where we need to be. What I think about each day is the ripples I'm sending into the universe. It starts at home with the humans closest to me—my family. The ripples I send to them matter. And they to me.

Next, I am fortunate to be responsible for a couple of teams filled with incredible humans.  I have some freedom to try and create organizations where people want to work. A place where good people can come together and do good things. A place that recognizes that each of us is just human. Humans filled with fears, uncertainties, doubts, talents, and struggles. And maybe, just maybe, if we all focused on helping each other win, we would all need a lot less luck. In my dreamiest of worlds, this becomes a fear-free place to work. And place where we know where we stand at any given moment and spend as little time as possible worried about status - up, down, or sideways. Where humility, learning, and growing take center stage. A place where we can be our authentic selves. Where failure is okay, and we can take risks that will leave people and places better than we found them. Teams like that will outperform everyone else. But for those teams, the competition is in the mirror.

Time Matters

Time is our most precious non-renewable resource. All of us want to use our time well. It’s like meetings - it’s not that you don’t like meetings; you don’t like meetings that waste your time. Life is that way too. How we use our time matters to us - whether it is at work, at home, or in our community. We want to do good things with good people. Ultimately, we all want to do good things and with good people.

This is about the future

There are humans around us. They are watching us. They will lead families, teams, communities, and organizations. We hope that they will go into the world and be 'human leaders' that build human teams.

Human leaders focus on people first, humanity always.

Human leaders recognize we are all trying to do the best we can, have dreams, and try to manage the voices in our heads. They will also push us to be the best version of ourselves. They know the world needs that from each of us. They will always have our best interest at heart. Human leaders know that if they create fear-free culture, it will be a place where the humans love what they do and the people they do it with. That place will be all about 'we' not 'me.'

The reality of the teams I’m responsible for is they are not there yet. I would be lying to myself if I thought they were. Each day I get up and try to get a little better today than yesterday. My teammates do the same.

A good day is when the team gets better. We are sending ripples out there into the universe. Most of those ripples do good. We make mistakes, and sometimes those ripples are not good. Fortunately, the sun will come up tomorrow, and we can try again. All we can do is keep trying to do the next right thing. The next ripple. And the next.

For the people around me, thank you for all the positive ripples you have sent me over the years. Keep sending them. They matter. Thank you.

A few words from others

Selflessness is a virtue in a warrior culture. Civilian society gives lip service to this, while frequently acting as selfishly as it possibly can.

- Steven Pressfield, The Warrior Ethos

Radical self-inquiry is how we learn to become more of ourselves, more like ourselves, more authentic. More human. And better humans are better leaders.

-Jerry Colona, Reboot

The most beautiful human deed, is to be useful to others.


How can we make society both more productive and more humane?

-Peter Drucker, Effective Executive

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