A couple of months ago, Jason Crawford, co-President of Block Imaging, was teaching through Stephen Covey’s infamous “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to hear Jason teach on this many times, but just when I thought I’d heard it all before, he exposed some language and texture from the 7 Habits that have come to mind countless times since.

We’ve all heard the quote “there’s no I in team” and endless other references to the importance of teamwork. And yet, regardless of what we think or even know, oftentimes, it’s hard to make the shift from a group of individuals working autonomously to people working as a team.

As Covey walks through the 7 Habits from “Be Proactive” to “Start with the End in Mind” to “Synergize” and “Sharpen the Saw,” he correlates the habits to the stages of maturity that people move through over the course of their lives.

In the first stage of maturity, individuals carry a posture of dependence. Within this stage, the primary language is “YOU.” I depend on YOU. For babies, this includes food, clothing, clean diapers, and everything else. While the context may change as one gets older, the language, posture, and attitude remain the same.

The second stage of maturity is a move toward independence. Sadly, some are forced into this stage at a very young age, and others gradually move toward independence. The primary language within this stage is “I.” I am responsible for myself, for my provision, my happiness, and my relationships.

With few virtues more celebrated in the United States today than independence, it’s not surprising that so many struggle or frankly see no need to develop beyond this stage. After all, independence is so great because it’s all about ME!!

The third stage of maturity is when we move toward interdependence. The primary posture and approach in this stage are centered around the language of “WE.” “We” is a focus on relationships and others. It is a move toward teamwork. Interdependence invites us to quiet our egos, hear feedback, and refine ideas. We get better faster, TOGETHER, and experience the incomparable joy of celebrating TOGETHER.

Each shift is dynamic and changes the way people function, whether individually or in a team. Take notice of the posture, attitude, behaviors, and language across our teams in this regard. How about within ourselves?

Cheers to the move toward WE – it’s a gift as groups become teams and a gamechanger in the way teams move and perform!

Leave a Reply