Stand Up

Clyde with Pe’a, 2015 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

– Maya Angelou

I didn’t know it would work, and I was scared to try it. But I did, and it happened every morning without fail, even though a lot of mornings it would have been easier to avoid. I called it Stand Up.

The idea had come from my wife, who worked in Agile teams for software development projects and they had been doing this at her work. I will pause here to mention that my wife has some pretty good ideas before, but this one was dynamite (more on her on another blog soon). The premise of the Stand Up was this: the whole team comes together, we all stand not sit, we timebox the meeting at 15 minutes, we praise the wins, reflect on lessons learned, and raise any upcoming challenges or issues. That’s it. We did it for nearly five years straight.

It wasn’t until I left that job that I realized what had occurred. By creating a non negotiable daily ritual, one that involved all members of staff, celebrated achievements, and discussed obstacles openly as a team, we were becoming a team. We were learning about each other in a natural way. It was intimate, it was nurturing. Like breaking bread at the dinner table, we were a family.

What is a routine then without consistency? A Blackbird does not merely refuse to sing its dawn chorus, just as the sun would not suddenly refrain from rising. So too did we proceed every morning with our Stand Up.

Tatau is an ancient Polynesian art form which is associated with the rites of passage for men. Samoan males with a Pe’a are called Soga’imiti and are respected for their courage.

You may be afraid to start something you believe in because you think you’re going to fail, but if you embrace the possibility of failure then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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