The Reality of Teamwork
All week long, I have joked a bit about living in the biosphere of the Opryland Resort. If you’ve never been there, the resort is a gigantic complex of hotels, retail, restaurants and convention center situated just north of Nashville, Tenn., right on the Cumberland River.
I called it a biosphere, because everything is connected by massive glass ceilinged atria (or is atriums?) Actually, all of us at the SHRM Talent Management Conference this past week were thankful for this generous space of indoors, because the weather frankly was lousy. Cloudy, rainy, windy and one night a threat of tornadoes loomed over us.
It’s a bit frightening to be inside a glass dome and think a twister is heading your way. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was transported to Oz like Dorothy, would I even notice? All kidding aside, the actual threat of tornadoes did snap me back to reality, even though references to other movies like the Truman Show or Logan’s Run did sneak into my mind.
As the weather worsened, I began watching The Weather Channel to understand if I needed to climb under the bed. Thankfully for all the denizens of Opryland both temporary and permanent, the most severe storm cells swung to the south. However, this meant places in Mississippi and Alabama were under the gun once again. I couldn’t believe it as they said the most severe weather was set to hit near Tuscaloosa and then roar up I-20 like some destructive truck convoy towards Birmingham. Just unbelievable because, this same area was devastated by tornadoes just two years ago.
As I heard the news, my heart sank for one SHRM staffer (whom I won’t name to protect her privacy). Her family lives in that area and suffered mightily in 2012. The next day, I asked her how everyone fared, and she said there was some damage and thankfully no one was hurt this time around. I told her I immediately thought of her family when I saw the weather report.
She brightened and smiled and thanked me. I only mention this now to make a point that expressing genuine concern and asking about a person’s loved ones can work wonders. We all spin our wheels so rapidly these days and often don’t take time to talk about the things that truly matter in our lives.
So an HR lesson lurks somewhere in this story, I know it. But then again, it really boils down to something pretty simple that I’ve believed and strived to do in my job every day. Common courtesy and true respect of your co-workers does more to engender good will, true cooperation and teamwork than anything else in this world.