Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Team Spirit the Oprah Way

Last night I watched the first episode of this season's Oprah Talk Show. According to Oprah Winfrey this is the show's 21st year. Quite an achievement wouldn't you agree? I don't always agree with what Oprah has to say, but I must admire an individual (a woman at that) who has built up a very successful media empire from basically believing in herself. The story of her humble beginnings and her rise to become the biggest talk show host in the world, a very powerful and successful individual, as well as one of the richest women in the world, is very inspiring. She personifies the 'American dream' - from rags to riches, actualising your potential through self-belief and self-motivation. That 'can do' attitude that Kuseni Dlamini (Richards Bay Coal Terminal) emphasised in his talk as the winning attitude to embrace. The first barrier to self-actualisation is the mind, it is important that we adopt a positive outlook. This does not exclude being realistic about your capabilities and limitations, it just means that you recognise your own potential and strive to actualise it.
However, the reason this particular episode of Oprah made such an impression on me, is because Oprah Winfrey demonstrated some of the qualities we learnt about in the past 3 weeks. Particularly her excellent leadership qualities. She showed her appreciation for all the hard work her Harpo team had put in towards making the show a success in the past year, by treating them and their families to an all-expense paid trip to Maui in Hawaii. They were altogether 1, 065 adults and children. She chartered 4 American Airline jets, one of the team had never flown before. Her gesture reminded me of the documentary we viewed in Brad Arden's session on one team's travails and triumph during the Tour de France.
This documentary showed the incredible team work and team spirit, that goes into team sports. Oprah's Harpo team is an excellent example of a team that has become a 'family'. What I took away from this particular episode was that team spirit is inspired by an organisation's leadership style, it's values, principles and culture. Oprah is a woman that exemplifies a good leadership style. She recognises that the support of her team is crucial to the success of her organisation. One is able to get a sense of who she is through watching her show or reading O the Oprah Magazine. She continues to give back to her community and the world at large through her charitable works and contributions to worthy causes. As Gordon Greer (Insight Strategies) and most of our speakers have emphasised, it is important to give back to your community as a way of building on our human resource base. All our speakers are living examples of what we can all achieve by giving back to our communities, through sharing knowledge, experience and expertise.


Thomas Blaser said...

So you are an Oprah fan? She said the same thing as Lovemore today: she wants to change people's lives. I am not sure if I want to do so too...I mean its good to make an impression but changing their lives..Your blog is going strong - keep it up! Perhaps more artwork?

Valentin said...

Dear Ijeoma, I can see that you are quite observant and you link issues that we have raised during our discussions to various TV programmes etc., for example, the issue of "team-work" and "team-spirit" (what Brad Arden was actually talking about).
In fact, this shows a growing interest on your side-in other words, applying what you have learnt in those seminars to every-day situations in the world outside and critically analysing those situations.
It is, therefore, impressive that you show effort to bring the experience from the seminar-room outside to real life-experience situations. Well done!

Valentin said...

Dear Ijeoma, I am glad to see that you are quite observant and you apply what you have learnt from the seminar-room to every-day situations in the world outside- for example the notion of a "team-work".
You draw an interesting link to Oprah's show and the fact that as a team-leader she is trying to serve back to her community-exactly what Brad Arden has taught us.
As you illustrate very well, it is important that as leaders we should be striving at sharing our knowledge and expertise with others and giving back to our communities what we have learnt.