Do We Ask Our Employees to Collect Dots or to Connect Dots?


Do we ask our employees to collect dots or to connect dots?

Recently I heard Seth Godin speak to an education conference about how education is taught and what it is for. He said something that I thought was pretty significant, “Do we teach them to collect dots or to connect dots?”.

As an employer I asked myself the same question. Is what I’m asking my employees to do collecting or connecting? The ideal is connecting the dots whereas collecting the dots causes us to become stagnant and not grow as a company.

Of course, connecting the dots is what I want our company to be. But how does it apply specifically to my company and my employees? What kind of environment does it take to encourage people to be dot connectors? And for you guys, what does connecting dots mean to your company? What does that even look like? Each company is different. Each company has to dig deep to see how we can encourage employees to be connectors instead of collectors. So I came up with the following exercise to encourage people to connect those dots:

1) Designate 30 minutes each day on areas of interest pertaining to the business. It may be on efficiencies in production/management or product placement in the marketplace. Whatever it is, set aside time to better understand something that doesn’t presently exists in the business. Work on an issue that could take the business to the next level and could be beneficial to the growth of the company.

2) Create an award system for new, innovative ideas that are implemented in the business.

3) Restructure your business processes to encourage a better outcome. Seth Godin suggests this is how we teach kids in school. For example, instead of having kids hearing a lecture all through the day and going home and doing homework; instead have the kids listen to lectures after school and then during the day doing discussions, practice problems, and hands-on learning activities about those lectures.

Encouraging business innovation in your company will separate you from the competition. Accepting the idea of “but that’s how it’s always been done” and continuing to grow mediocrity within your company will eventually end your business. Keep that from happening and innovate a way to connect dots.

Best regards,


5 Tips for Building a Great Business Team {Anatomy of a Happy Office}

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We have all seen teams in college sports and professional sports that were unbeatable. They have an incredible synergy that makes them seem invincible. And then typically 12 months later they are the worst teams in the world. Building a high-performance business team is not the easiest thing to do. But when you get it right, you become unbeatable.

The following are five keys to an unbelievable team:

5) SPECIALIZE No one person is great at everything. When a team is exceptional, each individual team member typically has a specialty. One person’s weakness can then balanced by someone who is a specialist in that lacking area. You see this in college and professional sports. Peyton Manning doesn’t play running back nor does he play defense. He’s a specialist. He plays quarterback for a highly-tuned team. When he is put in a position to run, you can tell he’s really not good at. So rarely does he run.  Determine the positions on the team and then fill them with specialists. Everyone doesn’t have to be good at everything. But everything needs a person who is good at it.shutterstock_290401040

4) SELFLESSNESS All for one and one for all. We’ve all seen it in a sports game when somebody gets a big head and the team quits winning. Recently, a friend was telling me about a band he was in. They gained great success and even had Top 40 Hits. But as often happens, the lead singer got a huge ego and the band semi-dismantled. You haven’t really heard a hit from them since. If everybody on the team isn’t focused on the company’s end goal, then it just won’t happen.   Success for the stake of the team, not for the individual. Egos needs to be tossed aside. That goes for everyone. When everyone feels vested in the business’ success, people will rise to the occasion to ensure that success.

3) TRUST It is essential that each team member trusts one another. The need to believe that their teammates will put in 110% and can deliver on what is expected of them. I’ve often seen it on teams where they don’t trust their teammates and things just don’t happen. Knowing what can be delivered and trusting that that individual can perform and will give that effort can motivate others to do much more than they would have on their own.

2) COMMUNICATION Like any good marriage, if the spouses do not communicate their goals, aspirations, frustrations and other miscellaneous feelings, the relationship will not work. I’ve seen this within our team years ago when communication between team members broke down. It festered and turned into a 10,000 pound weight. Luckily, leadership stepped in to open the door for communication and set policy on how to communicate frustrations, desires and goals. In the end, we grew from it. Setting a standard for communication is key.

1) LEADERSHIP This is always the number one factor in whether a team will succeed. You see it in professional sports, collegiate sports, corporations, marriages. If there is no leader, there is no one to set the standard and to follow. The team will fail in the absence of a strong leader. . It is also imperative that the leader develops additional leaders within management. You would be surprised how leadership training can inspire the shy to become great leaders within the team. Often times, people just don’t know how to be a leader. Just like riding a bicycle, a few kids may hop on and ride without ever being taught but the wide majority need to be taught how to ride. And also like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to do it once you learn. You may get “rusty” at it but once you learn, you know. Training is necessary in lots of areas of management and leadership. It is not a 90 minute seminar and you know it all. If you find you are the leader at your company and there are weak areas in your leadership abilities, seek out training.   Learn so your team can do more.   You owe it to them and yourself.   Great companies typically have strong leaders.

I would like to hear your additions to my list of what creates a great team. Send me an email at . Share what you think to make a great team.

anatomy smallAll through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”.  Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis