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The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

The simple secret to success at work: Find your tribe

by Moyra Mackie on February 2, 2014

Nick Pugliese must have given his mother quite a few sleepless nights. When he graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts, with a degree in political science and philosophy, Nick decided he’d like to gain some interesting and challenging work experience.

So he chose a telecoms company in Kabul, Afghanistan.

At college he’d been captain of the football team – or as they say in his hometown of Rochester, NY – “soccer”.  So it wasn’t long before Nick started playing the game at weekends with his Afghan colleagues. It was a mental and physical escape from the restrictive, claustrophobic world of the small expat compound.

And then he got offered the chance to play for Ferozi FC, a professional club in the 14-team Kabul Premier League.

Nick had to choose between his $3000 a month job with the telecoms company and the $300 a month wage at Ferozi FC and a life outside the safety of the compound.

Nick chose the life outside

He became the first American player in the Afghan league since the 2002 invasion.

When interviewed by the BBC World Service as to what he would remember most, he picks out the time that Ferozi FC won the Kabul Cup Tournament, a game that had gone to extra time and then penalties.

“To be just another member of this team in Afghanistan, to be right in the middle of that group pile up – that was a really special time. From a soccer standpoint everyone wants to win… and from a human standpoint I felt in that moment there was a common essence … people want to be happy – they want to succeed together – it’s so simple. I think that’s the lesson, it’s so simple.”

People want to succeed together

Nick is only 23, but he has figured out that the secret to success – and happiness – is quite simple.

Take a risk

Nick asked himself which of his choices were truly once in a lifetime and chose the route that he knew would be the one he would regret not taking.

It doesn’t have to be life or death but if you always play it safe and follow the money, you may miss out on the opportunity to be engaged in more meaningful and fulfilling experiences.

Trust each other

Giving trust is always a risk.  Trust is built on mutual passion and mutual acceptance. Nick accepted his colleagues for who they were and valued their company and their skills. They repaid him by protecting him and welcoming them into their lives, on and off the pitch.

Wouldn’t it be great if all diverse teams could welcome differences as readily?

Have a common purpose

Be part of an enterprise you love and believe in. The ability to work towards a goal that has both concrete and emotional rewards is the ultimate glue that keeps great teams together.

Learn to truly communicate

Communication leads to better performance. Nick realised that in learning Farsi, his skills improved and he felt more connected to his team.

At work it is easy to speak the same language yet fail to connect and communicate in a way that strengthens performance.

Great teams always need coaches

My focus as a coach and consultant is to work with leaders and teams to help them become more engaged, more fulfilled and more connected to their work – to become members of a team that succeeds together.

Smart companies and smart leaders realise that this is not just fluffy “nice to have” stuff.

Lack of engagement and connection with work leads to a lack of innovation, resilience and creativity. Being fulfilled at work is the key to personal and organizational success.

The secret to success is finding your team, your tribe

“A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”  ~ Seth Godin, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Have you found your tribe?

Moyra Mackie

Moyra Mackie helps leaders and teams to work with courage, compassion and creativity. She is an executive coach and consultant and the founder of Mackie Consulting.

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