8Extraordinary Influence for TeamsThree Levers for High Performance

One of my closest friends worked his way through college on a commercial landscape crew. One day “Pat” and the other team members installed some large aesthetic boulders on the edge of a freshly paved sidewalk, which traversed a beautiful nature park. A few members of the team, including my friend, were trained in using a bucket crane to lift the boulders and position them in the location specified in the landscape plan.

The only control in the cab for which Pat did not know the purpose was a red lever on the right side of the control panel. To this day, Pat does not know what got into him, but he impulsively reached over and pulled the red lever. Instantly, the jaws of the giant bucket swung open dropping a several ton boulder from about 10 feet into the middle of a freshly paved asphalt sidewalk. To describe it as a disaster far understates the destruction. It looked like a giant meteor crashed on the lunar surface. The team spent the rest of the day and much of the next getting the boulder out the crater and repairing the damage.

Despite being a strong contributor to the team and well-liked by all, Pat knew he would be fired for this costly mistake. As a result, he would have to drop out of school. His dreams for his future were crushed. The rest of his life would be spent asking the same question hundreds of times a day, “Do you want fries with that?” As he stood in line to get his paycheck on Friday afternoon, ...

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