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  • Chris Malzone

Teamwork

The past few months for me have been a topsy turvy roller coaster ride of personal & professional changes. Hold your horses… this isn’t gonna be an outcry of “woe is me” so please bear with me here! Anyways… Much to my dismay but also very much to my fortune I was let go from my last position. This was the second time in my career when I was laid off, but rather than receiving words of support and consolation, I received words of congratulations. My family & friends were really excited for me rather than sorry. At first, I was completely in shock by this response but sometimes “you can’t get what you want but you get what you need”. My wife seemed to be leading the charge on this response telling me… “Don’t rush any of your next decisions. This is life giving you a great opportunity. Think about what really makes you happy in your career and focus on that. Take nothing less than a position that makes you happy”. So it was time to start asking myself some deep questions Question 1: What is the most important thing that I need more of from myself? In other words, what can I change about my attitude? Answer: Positivity. Over the past decade, I fell into a rut that often included dysfunction and lots of negative experiences consuming my day. Low & behold, it began to affect my reactions to others and my ability to produce my best work. I am also a firm believer that the energy you project out into this world directly effects the energy you receive back. I realized when I held on to a positive outlook everything about my day went better. To get this positivity to last, I returned back to my meditation practice, I began reading again and got off my screens. Now I had more time and energy to give to the people around me. Things rapidly looked and felt better. Now for the harder questions. Question 2: When I’ve been on my “A” game, what was the key element that allowed me to be my best?

Answer: This took some serious thought and to be honest, I struggled. I’ve always been a pretty independent person and have never been one to make excuses for poor performance. Much of this came from being a competitive swimmer growing up. As long as I was positive and had a good attitude, I tended to perform well. When I performed poorly, I took that on myself with reasons such as “didn’t train hard enough”, “I had a poor attitude before the race”, “didn’t eat or sleep right”, etc. But that wasn’t always the case… it was clear that with all other variables constant in my life, I performed better with certain teams. Why was that?! HOLY CRAP… the answer had been right infront of me since high school… TEAM! It was the team that helped me be at my best. Not just me, my training, my attitude… Yes those are all great things, but without that support of your team, your coach, your mentors, colleagues, etc, you just won’t perform at your best. If they have a bad attitude or constantly make life about themselves… chances are pretty good that will rub off on you. But, if they are there supporting you, coaching you, helping you find your potential and you do the same in return, everyone will be at their best. Ok.. “team” it is! I needed to find not just a company but a group of people that I can do more than just work with. I’ve seen this in my past career experiences…. whenever I was part of “something more” than just a research project, an engineering department, a sales group but rather a expeditionary team, an R&D team and sales & marketing team…. everything was better. But it wasn’t just the “team” environment, there had to be more to it than just that. So I turned my focus on specific teams during critical moments of my life. In swimming, I did my best with Santa Clara Swim Club; in grad school it was the MLML Polar benthic research team; work it was RESON. Hence the third question… Question 3: What is it about certain teams that brings about success? Answer: Again, not an easy question but this time I had help. Quickly after being “let go”, I was contacted by a company that I have always admired and enjoyed working with. I had heard rumors that this company has a pretty extensive hiring process but while at RESON, this company always seemed to have my back when “things” hit the fan, provide a great customer experience, have great products and seemed to be on the cutting edge of technology. During the hiring process, I was asked some amazingly introspective, soul searching questions. Questions that made you think, take stock in yourself and, if your mind is open, find answers. During this time, the answers to their questions came from within rather than being put in place if that makes sense. All answers came back to two intertwined concepts: values & team. Let’s tackle the first concept that came to me… values. If people don’t share the same values as you, it will always be the square peg, round hole issue. You can have a really big hammer, but until your peg matches their hole, you will always be hammering on something rather than seamlessly making things work. While I won’t share my values regarding my commercial ventures here what I can say is that with every team I’ve ever been part of, we took pride inworking towards a common goal. Another “aha” moment … it’s not just team, it’s how we work or it’s Teamwork! In all those examples, we put our egos aside to not only achieve success but found joy in doing so. Yeah, the work was really, really hard but with Teamwork it was all seamless. You see, we spend close to a 1/3rd of our lives with our coworkers, will success come from simply “mailing it in” for a check? Well… actually if that is your definition of success, then yeah but then you’re not part of the team nor are you working in unison with others. A team with common work values quickly becomes more than just a group of individuals but they become friends, colleagues, coaches, mentors. Your minds become one and those teams that act as one always have a hand on the ball, eye on the puck (shoutout to my Canadian friends) and see higher levels of success. Again…Teamwork!

At InOceans, while we all have day jobs with separate companies, we are finding that we can have a team that extends beyond any institutional boundaries. The concept of “Collaboration” is introduced as teamwork for Innovation. We strongly believe that innovating marine technology can not be done by individuals, companies, institutions but rather through collaboration of all of the above. In essence, a team comprised of other teams who all working on a common goal; Innovation. Please share your thoughts on Teamwork. It’s vast concept and your input is valued. Thanks for reading!

Oh… and.. yes I got the job and can’t wait to get started!

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