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🥛 What empty milk cartons can teach us about effective teamwork

Published 15 days ago • 1 min read

Hi Coach :)

This morning, I woke up at 5 am as usual and started my day with a routine that’s become a comforting ritual: I prepared a fresh pot of coffee for me and my wife, Cara.

I got everything ready—our matching cups, the silver coffee pot, and the milk jug.

But when I went to the fridge, there was no milk. Someone had finished it but didn’t replace it!

I want to say that it’s just a tiny annoyance, but small things like this add up over time.

For instance, imagine someone in the house empties the bins—kitchen, bathroom, you name it—but leaves without replacing the bin liner.

Or, in the classic scenario, the last square of toilet paper is used, and the roll remains unchanged, a cardboard monument to procrastination.

The list goes on…

It’s in these moments I’m reminded of a profound work principle from Liz Wiseman’s book Impact Players:

“Do the job that’s needed!”

Wiseman suggests that the most impactful players at work aren’t just those who do their jobs well but those who make the work easier and more effective for everyone else.

This is more than a courtesy; it’s a paradigm shift. Instead of focusing only on what you need to accomplish, consider the chain reaction your work sets off.

What happens when you pass your work on? What will they do with it, and what will their next steps be?

By anticipating and addressing these questions proactively, you’re not just completing a task—you’re improving the entire process for everyone involved.

This approach fosters a more cooperative and appreciative team environment and sets a standard of care and respect that can transform the overall workplace vibe.

“As a general rule, if you aren’t working on your boss’s top three priorities, you are not working on the agenda.”

Today, I challenge you to think beyond your own ‘job’.

Add that extra 1% effort to your tasks with the next person in mind.

Consider how it could improve the workflow and morale around you.

It’s about making your work complete and kindly prepped for whoever picks it up next.

Imagine if everyone at home applied this little extra effort.

If every time someone used the last of the milk, they replaced it, or every empty bin got a new liner without being asked?

These small actions build up, creating a smoother day-to-day life and a profound respect and consideration for each other’s needs and efforts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or any examples from your experience where a little extra effort made a big difference!

🗣️ 👀


PS. My book, Become an Authoritative Coach, is currently discounted on Amazon. Get it here.

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Chris Marr works with established business coaches to help them go from good to great and have more breakthrough conversations with their clients and teams.

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