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A Shaggy Dog Story

Motivation and Team Building

Impact Factory's Words of Wisdom - Team Building

A Shaggy Dog Story - Team Building

by Liz McKechnie


I have a dog. He's a flat coated retriever which means he's about the size of a small horse. It also means he is very loyal and eager to please (they have a constant tail wagging issue which challenges coffee tables). He is very fond of chocolate which is bad for him.

When he was a little chap we had a stair gate on the bottom of the stairs to limit the trail of playful destruction to the downstairs areas. He soon learned that upstairs was a no go area. He was trained. A pattern had formed in his doggy brain that would not let him transgress. With full confidence we removed the stair gate.

My daughter also likes chocolate. A lot!

One Easter there was a chocolate mountain in my daughter's bedroom. The dog knew. This presented an agonising dilemma for him. He sat at the bottom of the stairs and whined sadly. His fight was between his ingrained patterns, his values (eager to please, loyal) and his desire for entry into chocolate heaven. When he could stand it no longer, the chocolate won out. The outcome wasn't pretty.

Once the dizzy heights of upstairs had been attained, the pattern was broken and it was up for grabs. The stair gate had to be reinstated. It remains a constant reminder that the story we write for ourselves is not the definitive script. It's just the one we have right now. Given the right motivation we can overcome self limiting beliefs or patterns of working to achieve the apparently unachievable.

What motivates us?

It's worth finding out what really motivates us and our teams and whether the obstacles in our way are perceived or real. Do we know the reasons why we believe and behave the way we do or is it simply the way it has always been?

Go on... take a step.



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