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The 15 Laws of Reciprocity: How interdependence can elevate your leadership

Posted by Herman Najoli on July 16, 2007

In his blog for February 22, 2007, Brian Tracy says, “There is a principle of reciprocity in business that is extremely powerful. It is simply this: If you do something nice for someone else, they will feel obligated to do something nice for you. You should be looking for opportunities to go the extra mile, to do more than you are paid for, to put in more than you take out.” Reciprocity basically means a relationship of mutual dependence. In other words, interdependence. I’d like to take this idea to another level by looking at the concept of interdependence, specifically, how teamwork elevates productivity. This post is simply a development of ideas that I created a few years ago when I went to Jamaica as a team leader for a group of about 35 teenagers. This was a huge project and it required that every member of the team contribute their very best. To thrive in a reciprocal relationship, you have to grasp the power of interdependence.
Here is the acronym:

Identify every aspect of the operation that requires a team effort.
Notify every member of the team of his or her role.
Team up on the basis of the group’s vision and not individual interests.
Examine your dream together and let everyone capture a passion for it.
Resolve to all be focused on the team aspects of the organization.
Divide responsibilities fairly to every member of the team.
Engage the soul of every member of the team.
Paint pictures and mental images of possibilities.
Employ a variety of people to help cast the vision.
Navigate through situations and circumstances as one unit.
Display an in-depth care and concern for one another.
Empower each other by relying on each other’s skills and abilities.
Nourish each other by equipping and elevating each other’s contribution.
Communicate at all times, making everything clear and plain to the team.
End every effort by sharing the benefits and rewards of teamwork.

Let us explore each of these individually:

1. Identify every aspect of the operation that requires a team effort
As a team, we started off by pointing out every area in which we had to work together. We build into the team an understanding of the team concept by helping them see that one would be too small a number to achieve what we had set out to do.

2. Notify every member of the team of his or her role
As team leader, I notified every member of the team of what would be expected of them. We developed consensus on the things we wanted to see achieved. Every “got on the same page” regarding what they had to accomplish individually (there is no “I” in team but there is a “me”).

3. Team up on the basis of the group’s vision and not individual interests
Our team developed a vision that had meaning to each of us. This was clearly written and displayed so that everyone had access to it. We had to ensure that everyone understood the cause. We rallied the entire team together on this one cause and it worked so well.

4. Examine your dream together and let everyone capture a passion for it
Every morning we had meetings together which greatly helped us to continually harness the vision and hold onto it. Understanding the vision and buying into it as a corporate team was essential to our success. This made all of us to run in the same direction with the same goal in mind.

5. Resolve to all be focused on the team aspects of the organization
Each day there were many obstacles and distractions that threatened our progress as a team. We had to resolve to stay focused. There were team-members who lost motivation every once in a while. We had to encourage each member of the team to stay focused.

6. Divide responsibilities fairly to every member of the team
Each member on the team had different abilities and we divided responsibilities based on their skills and willingness to serve in particular capacities. In the division of labor, we had to ensure that there was specialization in terms of the skill sets of the team member.

7. Engage the soul of every member of the team
We endeavored to “click” with our team by coaching, mentoring and communicating the vision to them every single moment we had the opportunity to do so. Those who soared as leaders within the group contributed immensely in mentoring the others.

8. Paint pictures and mental images of possibilities
Every day in the morning, we had the opportunity to cast vision to the team and we made the best use of such avenues to ensure that everyone grasped the big picture of our entire purpose of being in Jamaica.

9. Employ a variety of people to help cast the vision
We had MAs (Mission Advisors) whom we selected to work with us in binding the team together and communicating our vision to the rest of the group.

10. Navigate through situations and circumstances as one unit
We made it a primary priority to stick together as a team and travel together. The leaders would always look out for our team members to ensure that we were all on one track.

11. Display an in-depth care and concern for one another
We emphasized on the need for great relationships with each other. John Maxwell once pointed out that people go the first mile because of duty, they go the second mile because of relationship. Good relationships were a vital concern for us.

12. Empower each other by relying on each other’s skills and abilities
Interdependence is impossible unless a team learns to rely on each other. By realizing that everyone is gifted to serve, we were in fact able to empower each other.

13. Nourish each other by equipping and elevating each other’s contribution
We advocated for placing individual rights below the team’s best interest. The other person’s contribution was considered as very important and this enabled us to achieve so much progress.

14. Communicate at all times, making everything clear and plain to the team
We made it a priority to always communicate with each other and went to great lengths to keep the entire team updated on our courses of action.

15. End every effort by sharing the benefits and rewards of teamwork
Instead of taking all the praise for our achievements, we would always credit the team with having made all things happen.

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2 Responses to “The 15 Laws of Reciprocity: How interdependence can elevate your leadership”

  1. Heidi said

    Thank You … Thank you for this blog today.
    It’s early in the morning and I’m starting to feel the butterflies for tonight’s meeting, and I felt this morning I was over prepared and carrying everything on my plate. God gave me this piece today. To share the vision using interdependence.
    Allowing people to take a part of it, alot of it… WOW
    Love this especially
    “11. Display an in-depth care and concern for one another
    We emphasized on the need for great relationships with each other. John Maxwell once pointed out that people go the first mile because of duty, they go the second mile because of relationship. Good relationships were a vital concern for us.”

    Thanks Heidi

  2. Good to hear that Heidi. It’s better to be over prepared than under-prepared. Preparation is the magical door that opens the gateway to your success. Expect to succeed now. Your expectation is the key to you achieving or completing the task with a touch of excellence. Start seeing/hearing the wows and ahas in the audience. Good luck (Labor Under Correct Knowledge) tonight.

    Herman

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