Saturday, February 22, 2014

Grocery Team

To my son Tommy,

I use this tactic sparingly, but if I ever need you to do something with or for me, I simply emphasize that we are a team. Somehow I drilled into you the team concept at a young age and as soon as you are part of the team you really up your game. I used this today for grocery shopping since you and I were doing it solo. Grocery shopping can be quite trying with a five year old so I resort to a plethora of tricks to make it enjoyable. If you ever decide to try this specific technique, there are a couple tricks.

  • Involve and Engage. Today I involved you from the beginning. Your mom and I could make a grocery list simply from memory. Instead, we went into the kitchen and opened cabinets and asked questions. We counted boxes of items and let you determine if we need to put this on our list today. It added fifteen minutes to the whole process but you became invested and had you really had your heart into the shopping from that point on.
  • Communicate and Discuss. Teams make plans. Coaches sit on sidelines with little dry erase boards scribbling x's and o's so everyone knows what is going to happen and what they need to do. We made a plan and clearly stated our goals and objectives. This seems obvious but the trick here is to not stop. Any coach that doesn't adjust and adapt as the game goes along, any team that stops talking when the game changes or starts going bad, are never going to have much success. We talked at the house, we talked in the car, we talked in the grocery aisles, and we talked all the way home. We adapted to out of stock items and certain aisles that were overly crowded. Each time we had to improvise and overcome, I once again reverted to trick one and involved and engaged you with the decisions, even if I had to prompt you to the right decision here and there.
  • Make it fun.  Teams have fun. Teams give each other high fives. Teams have uniforms. Teams have fight songs. This time we skipped the uniform, though our last solo trip to the grocery store you wore your rennfest cloak and wizard hat. So this time we added the fight song. On the car trip over and back I taught you "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" and, though I am no James Baskett, you got into it. It actually served another purpose because you had the theme song from Disney channel's "Jessie" and that song was driving me nuts. To keep things light we also used the Mission Impossible theme on a couple of the aisles that we decided required a "stealth" mission. High fives on accomplishments are pretty norm for us, even for something as simple as finding the right level of greenness on the bananas,
It reads like a bad generic business management power point but it works. When you can get someone working with you instead of having that indifferent or, even worse, that antagonistic attitude, things become easier. With teammates like you and mommy in my life, it is so much fun playing the game of life that the fact that we win when we work together is just icing on the cake.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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