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Kickball and The Art of Invitation – Part 2

 In Culture, Employee Retention, Leadership
By Tyler Head

Kickball was the real deal at my school, and I knew that as a 6th grader.  One day after lunch an 8th grader walked by me in the hallway, pointed directly at me, and said, “Hey Tyler, Friday for kickball. Will you be on my team?” I’ll never forget that moment. I probably stuttered a bit in my response; shocked, excited and a bit taken back, but not wanting to miss the invitation, I spoke up with a yeah, I’ll be there or count me in, something along those lines – I had to play it cool. I was in 6th grade and this guy was an 8th grader. Top dog in a k-8th school.

Nevertheless, with my chin-up, and chest poked out a bit farther, I walked a little taller that day and most likely the rest of the week. Friday came and went. The game was played, and the crazy part is I don’t even know if we won the game.

I just knew that I had been invited by an 8th grader to play on their team.

As leaders, we underestimate the immense power of an invitation. Let’s face it, no matter how far along you are in your career, no matter how successful you are, no matter what type of car you drive, or the amount of money you make, an honest and intentional invitation feels good. Really good. Especially from a leader, not to mention a leader who works closely with you.

An honest invitation explicitly and implicitly communicates to the invitee the value of working with us not for us.

To further kick this ball out of the park, here are three reasons why invitation is so powerful—especially when initiated by you –>The Leader.

By your invitation, you continue to drive home the 3 truths stated at the start of this insight.

I see much value in you and your abilities as they stand.

I want and need your input and your presence as a part of this team.

I honor that you are an autonomous human being, and by invitation, I am asking that you be part of something bigger than both of us—to work with me rather than for me.

The old way of leadership is safe, sterile and truly serves no one. If you want real change and authentic buy-in from your people, start practicing the art of invitation.

We are willing to bet, from our work with organizations like yours, the more you as the leader practice the art of invitation the more your hallways and offices will start to embody a bunch of 6th grade Tyler’s walking around with their chin up, chest out, and proud of where they are headed.

Be the 8th grader who invited the 6th grader to the kickball team and a shared purpose that lasted a lifetime.

We live in this space and absolutely love it. If you’re a leader who wants to drive cultural change and knows your people are the answer, we’d love to help.

Click here for a strategy session or better yet—let’s get a game of kickball going and see what happens.

You’re not alone. Hear about other success stories here.  
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