Follow nature's path to a better career

Squirrels, beavers, and geese present some useful career analogies, according to a team builder speaking at the third annual Worldwide Lessons In Leadership Series held Nov. 18, 1998, at the Rosemont Convention Center (Rosemont, Ill.). The 1998 series, World Class: How to Team Up for Success Wherever You Live and Work, focused on diverse ways to use teams.


Squirrels, beavers, and geese present some useful career analogies, according to a team builder speaking at the third annual Worldwide Lessons In Leadership Series held Nov. 18, 1998, at the Rosemont Convention Center (Rosemont, Ill.). The 1998 series, World Class: How to Team Up for Success Wherever You Live and Work , focused on diverse ways to use teams. Teams are perfect for any industry looking to improve communication within the corporation.

According to speaker, Ken Blanchard, 'You just can't stand there.' There are no slow groups; one of the key elements to his 'Gung Ho' strategy is to build teams. Mr. Blanchard says, 'We need teams to solve problems, and 'cross-functional' teams solve problems in ways never tried before.'

Team building blocks

The first step to building a cross-functional Gung Ho team is embracing 'The Spirit of the Squirrel.' Squirrels are diligent workers who work hard, not only for themselves, but for others as well. This spirit helps solve problems, serve clients, improve interactions outside of work, and defines the company's values. Squirrels show that companies must define their purpose in relationship to their customers.

To accomplish this first step, team organizers must:

  • Get a clear picture of the team's intentions;

  • Understand the importance of teamwork; and

  • Make clear goals.

Building teams and defining purpose lead to 'The Way of the Beaver.' This seeks to create empowerment, and answer the question, 'Who's in charge?' As with beavers, it can be hard to differientate a Gung Ho team's leader because everyone pitches in. Mr. Blanchard says this beaver-like cooperation is what top managers seek in employees. The top two traits sought when hiring a new employee are honesty and an ability to learn new skills. These traits support teams and free, rather than constrict energy.

Relationships and customs are also important to 'The Way of the Beaver,' and good communications are their catalyst. Open communication, trust, and opinions move the team forward because its members know thoughts and feelings can be expressed without fear. The team manages its boundaries and relationships with other teams. However, it also maintains enough flexibility to grow.

End product

There are four stages to achieving the optimal productivity needed to create what Mr. Blanchard calls 'Raving Fans Service.' After maintaining order and preventing customer dissatisfaction teams must address:

  • Orientation -Structures the team to recognize each member's specific talents;

  • Satisfaction -Redefines and commits those involved to specific purposes, roles, goals, and actions with effective communications;

  • Integration -Incorporates collaborative skills, supportive behavior, encouragement, and shared responsibility with less dependency; and

  • Production - Recognizes and celebrates individual and team successes, opportunities for new challenges, and learning from experience for continued growth and development.

In the production stage, team members achieve 'The Gift of the Goose,' which increases morale through recognition and appreciation.

No matter what industry its members are in, 'Gung Ho' teams can help produce a superior product and service team morale. True morale gives people a sense of excitement about their accomplishments and the way team members work together. High morale team members are committed to each other and success within the team.

For more information from The Ken Blanchard Companies, visit

Author Information

Lara Jackson, editorial assistant

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