I’m usually not a fan of “inspirational” keynotes at technical conferences that have nothing to do with the topic, and just have a few of the sponsor’s buzzwords sprinkled incongruously throughout the presentation. However, this morning at the IBM Content 2015 conference in Toronto (part of a road show of mini-conferences), Mark Eaton — a former NBA Alll-Star who turned his experiences into a career in speaking and coaching — gave a keynote on making yourself invaluable on teams. Eaton played defense, so he know all about how teams work, and how you need to support others in order to make everyone successful rather than just making the glory moves yourself.
He presented four key things to creating a winning team:
- Make people look good (provide others with recognition)
- Know your job (narrow your focus, rather than broaden it)
- Do what you are asked to do (listen what others are asking for)
- Protect others (create an environment of safety and freedom to enable innovation)
His key message: to achieve lasting success, make others successful.
This isn’t necessarily a unique message amongst inspirational speakers, but he put a lot of detail into how this worked for him, and made us think about how it could work for us on our own teams. Made me bit nostalgic for the days when I did run implementation teams, and got a lift from making my team members successful.