E115: Kemmy Raji – Win and Lose as a Team

E115: Kemmy Raji - Win and Lose as a Team

Dr. Dave A. Cornelius and Kemmy Raji

Welcome back to another episode of “Leadership Insights,” where we dive deep into the minds shaping leadership's future. I’m your host, Dr. Dave A. Cornelius, affectionately known as Dr. Dave. Dr. Dave's wealth of experience, including his community leader and mentor role, cemented his reputation as a pillar in transformative leadership.


Today, we have a special guest for Episode 115, titled “Win and Lose as a Team,” which forms an integral part of our Generative Leadership to Thrive series. Joining us is none other than Kemmy Raji, a luminary in agile coaching. Kemmy has been instrumental in fostering team dynamics emphasizing collective success and resilience. Her philosophy is that the strength of a team lies in its unity, both in triumphs and trials.


Today, she’ll share insights that promise to reshape how we understand team cohesion and success. So, tighten your seatbelts as we prepare to journey into the mindset of winning and losing as one. Welcome, Kemmy!

E115 Show Notes

Kayana Singing  00:07

We all have something to share. KnolShare with Dr. Dave.


Dr. Dave  00:16

let me go ahead and kick off.


Dr. Dave  00:17

Hey, welcome to the insightful episode of Nasr with Dr. Dave podcast. This is Dr. Dave Cornelius, your host. And today we're gonna dive into this wonderful topic at the heart of effective leadership and team dynamics, win and lose as a team. In a world where collaboration is paramount, embracing this mindset can make all the difference in a team's success. And today, you know, we have the amazing Kemmy Raji, you know, Agile coach, trainer,


Dr. Dave  00:53

jet setter, I can keep on and on if you want me to.


Dr. Dave  01:00

And so I'm just gonna, can we just like, let's do an elevator pitch so we could like, get people to know more about who you are, and all the amazing things that you're doing.


Kemmy  01:13

All right, thank you so much, Dr. Dave for having me on your podcast. It's always nice to reconnect with you from time to time. I know we don't do it very often. But then when we do we kind of like pick up from where we stop.


Kemmy  01:27

My name is Kemmy Raji. And I'm based in Toronto, Canada. For those who live in Canada. I am actually based in Brampton. Just like one of the suburbs of Toronto. And and when I draw coach, I've been within the community agile coaching and Scrum mastering for the past 15 years now. I've been stumbled upon it while doing project management. I have three wonderful boys and I live in brunch with my partner.


Dr. Dave  02:04

That's so good. No, it's always good to connect with you always and, you know, share our common goals and some of our dreams that we have, you know, together. So I wanted, let's just jump into the questions that I have. And so let's start by sharing a personal experience or a pivotal moment that you made, that made you truly embrace the philosophy of win and lose as a team.


Kemmy  02:29

Hmm, that's a great question. And I was just thinking about, what does it mean to even be part of a team, right. And I've had a experience to a team whereby when you win, it is everybody, but then when you lose is just one person that committed that crime. Right. And I have been in situation whereby one or two people want to kind of like God, what they're working on, so they're not so so to say they're not part of it. I am a very good team player. And I'm not saying this, too, because it's me. To kind of like her, boost my ego or rub it, but I believe in a relationship. And when you believe in relationship, it's I don't like or save seem to when you work with a team. So I like to collaborate, I like to share my ideas in so when I do that, and I work with in that environment or team, it means that when we are successful, even if it's one person, everybody's successful, because it boosts the morale of the team. The leaders don't have to pick on one person that are a shining, but it is a collective effort. And similarly, when we fail, or we lose, it is a team, right? Because we're looking at a team as a system. And not just one person is the one that makes it, it will be another person's time sometimes because we are all good in one aspect or the other. So when we look at the collective goodness of the team, it does help with the win and lose kind of mindset rather than, Oh, can we do that or adopted they do that? No, I don't like to even shine light on one person. But I still like to say how with the help of Dr. Dave, we're able to do even better. Right? So I that's the way I think teams should be behaving.


Dr. Dave  04:44

I like it, but how has that shaped your leadership style, you know, with that type of thinking?


Kemmy  04:50

Um, it helps me in my team to to work better. And I also I use it in that leadership's in the sense that I don't take the credit for things. One, when you give people an opportunity to shine, they feel part of the team. When you give people an opportunity to take action, they would go even more. So that's the kind of leadership I want to I do within the team, right? And I let my team know, we lose, together, we fail together. Right? Even when I've been the one that I've done the work, I still credit a song to my team.


Dr. Dave  05:43

And I need to learn from you. So I can start singing, you know, one team one dream, you know, I love the way you embody.


Kemmy  05:49

That's the way that's the way to go. are obviously you would have people leaving your team? Don't they say that you are as good as your least team member?


Dr. Dave  05:59

That's right. All right.


Kemmy  06:00

You want to bring everybody up to where you are? Well, not necessarily in the same level of thinking or operating, because that's not good as well. So when you bring people to the same level, you'll be amazed at how much you will get done. Right. But it takes on walking initially. It does take a lot of effort. Right? But everybody benefits.


Dr. Dave  06:27

Yeah. And that leads right into our next question, you know, how do you operationalize the win and lose as a team ethos in your organization? So, you know, as a coach and a trainer, how do you bring in about those rituals, those practices, or even helping policies, you know, what we call working agreements? Right? And how do we bring those into the ethos of the organization or team?


Kemmy  06:54

Yeah, like I said, it takes a lot of work. Some people will say, hell crazy, psychological safety, no, psychological safety doesn't mean people speak. But when you create a safe environment, right there, people are able to speak or not. Right? Because when you think of it, creating psychological safety, yeah, you might just see it. And I would not speak, because I believe in small group of people, too. And I kind of look around and say, All right, look at her. And I might not say something. But when you create a safe environment for people to speak, without any fear of consequences, then he does help removing hierarchy. I don't, I don't believe in the hierarchy. Yes, you have to sometimes school ranks or pool authority. And then that comes back to the type of leadership. And I believe in situational leadership style, right? Removing the Iraqi pot of things. And I know where I work, the HR is taking a step back in vain. So it is not about HR, imposing the way people work, it is more about the leader, trying to shape the way they want their team to behave. So basically, you're modeling the behavior you want to see. So how do you do that, ensuring that you are the one shaping how you want your team to be, I'm talking to wherever I have a sponsor, perhaps some leader that you share the same values and the same belief will tend to help. You don't want to boil the ocean, like my people leader will say, you don't want to boil the ocean, start small. So start with your team, emulate what you want to see and then start to talk to more people. And even your team members will start to share it out. You know what my team, we can do this, we can do that. And we have a boundary. So there is a remedy, a remedy about alignment as well. That you can do this much. And if you want to do beyond this one, you kind of like have to speak to your manager about it. Or you have to speak to your line of communication or your next line of communication. It is not an easy task to do, but I think it's doable. And I think a lot of organizations should be moving towards that kind of a leadership whereby you win you lose together.


Dr. Dave  09:33

Yeah, and a very important aspect of that is trust dynamic. So when you think of trust is the cornerstone of winning loses a team principle. You know, how do you cultivate trust within your team? Especially when things are hard? Right? You know, it's always easy to have trust with things or easy one, when you're having a tough time. You know, that's where you really find out what people are made of or how you go Awesome. Yeah.


Kemmy  10:01

Yeah, well, in any relationship, there has to be trust when trust is gone, the relationship is gone. So even within a team. But then another thing which I wear to what you say, Dr. Davies, when someone fails once, don't lose that trust. Be because you're working as a team, find out what happened. Look at it as a learning curve. And as a team, how do we mitigate that in the future? So when something happens, don't stress just yet. Review the team's strategize, and they move forward. Obviously, when it's happened, oh, the same thing happened several times. Yeah, that trust is gone. Yes.


Dr. Dave  10:47

I understand. I understand. So let's get into celebration and reflection. So can you like, share an example of a significant win and painful loss that you experienced?


Kemmy  11:02

painful loss? Hmm. Um, maybe I don't see it as lost. I see it as a learning curve or a lessons learned, oh, when you talk about Scrum, you talk about it as a retrospective? And what do we start doing? What do we start doing? And what is it that we want to take away from it? And I think it would have to be working some years ago with a team where we were working on a project, which nobody knew what they were doing. Nobody knew what they were doing. We were trying to fix what to put a round peg in a square peg in a round all kind of a thing. And we had this client building, breathing down our our throat. And even the directors didn't know. But rather than for the leadership, which were above mine, to take ownership of stuff. They blame us were operational. Right. And the reason was, because the fine for now, meeting deadlines was 50,000 a day. Wow. Yeah, we were working for the government. Yeah. And the team, or the teams in this sense, because we were building a huge product, a huge platform. And we had about seven teams, if I remember correctly. And the teams were suggesting stuff. But they were not been listened to they were not heard and talk about psychological safety, you would think, Oh, that's a, but now we were not in a safe environment. Right? At the end of it, we lost a lot of money in the government because the client wasn't happy. So we asked to just go back and say, right, let's use what we were the legacy system. And then the team will build something within a short time of shorter timeframe, and then plug it into that legacy system. Guess what, Dr. Day A to the team, three weeks, and we were up and running again. Well, yes, but it was so stressful. We lost money. We lost good people, because everyone was so stressed out. I laughed like, four weeks after, and a lot of not because of me, or people followed me to where I was going. But a lot of people left almost immediately.


Dr. Dave  13:58

So yeah, that's the impact of, you know, trust and team dynamics, and you know, celebrating and dealing with failure, right?


Kemmy  14:07

Absolutely. So I guess we could say to Wayne and then a loss as well, almost at the same time, because people then justified what they were saying to the leaders that we can do this only if you listen to us, so they want their own case, but then we'll lose because a lot of people left. They were backed out.


Dr. Dave  14:30

I understand that. So you know, one of the things that we miss out on sometimes is individuality within the team dynamics. So while focusing on the team, you know, individual strengths and uniqueness are crucial for team dynamics. It's really important. So how do you recognize and nurture unique talents and voices while maintaining the great cohesion of team spirit?


Kemmy  14:56

Absolutely. I think it's very important to will allow people to do work makes them happy. Obviously, they get paid to come to work and do what the work entails, but having to feel listened to, or motivated not just by money because people go to work. And then while I need to pay my bills, what are the things, what else that makes people get out of bed in the money. Right. So trying to figure that out, and letting people do a little bit of what makes them happy alongside what the work entails. I've worked in organizations whereby the leaders, or the executives were all right, one day of the sprint, you do what you want. So we only have to do 10 days of work, it's our nine days of work. And one day, you will be team, let's get together, you're doing what you like. So people look forward to it. And they were, they are rewarded by that one day of being creative. And I'm not suggesting that they cannot be creative in your day. But that particular day, they're just doing something that a lot about themselves. And they can even help the organization to grow because they come up with new things that they haven't even thought about, or they come up with things that their competitors already doing. So I think the executives are open to a learning culture. And it is not a top down approach. People would be listening to from right from the cleaners to wherever it is other top they feel listened to. That does help.


Dr. Dave  16:51

Hmm. But you brought up something in the walks into the next question, and we're talking about learning and evolution, right, you know, teams evolve, and so do challenges. How do you ensure that the spirit of win and lose as a team remains intact during change or transformation? But how does this help with continuous learning?


Kemmy  17:13

I think community or practice tends to help with that. A lot of organizations that are doing this and some don't. When people share knowledge, he does help. Can you imagine I work with someone in I have to understand their culture. And for that culture, you got what you learn, you don't share, which is where he dumped excuse my French, but how would you be working in a team and not share? But what then happened with this person was that they were encouraged to go to Community of Practice. And they always observing and amazed at how people were sharing things that they've done, things that they've done that didn't go well. And it was those sharing things that they did that went well, right, and asking people to come to them if they have questions, or if they want them to help them with whatever they were doing within a team that wasn't working. So sharing those kinds of practices does help. And so if we win, we win as a team. Right? It is not one person, because fear of repercussions or fear of retribution does prevent people from coming forward and learning in or even shearing off of the things that they've learned or not completing work. Right. So a an organizer, or even a leader. So let's not even go to the owner of the organization now because sometimes it can be hard to penetrate. But a leader, a good leader, will incorporate group learning with the team and say, Alright, let's take a topic and learn this. Or let's look at what happened last week. What did we learn from it? And what what can we improve? So encouraging the people within the team to share their failures? And I know some people don't like that word failure, but to share that what they're struggling with, right, and how within a team cheeping. So it is not a case of trying to was that word again? Trying to be disparaging to the other people within the team. But what is it that we can do together to help even that person?


Dr. Dave  19:55

That's very important, right? I mean, that's really important. To be able to be in a learning space where, you know, you can help each other grow. And so one of the topics that I've been talking about now for last year or so it's called generative leadership. Yeah. And, you know, it's thing that I'm talking about, and what I'm gonna bring forward, more, because I didn't create it, someone else did. And I'm just expanding upon it. So, you know, generative leadership enables, you know, leaders to thrive and CO create spaces, right. So in your view, how does the win and lose as a team philosophy intersect with the broader principles of generative leadership?


Kemmy  20:42

That's a question I've been thinking about today. And the generative leadership, which I read it, and that's a brilliant book that you've put together.


Kemmy  21:05

And I'm still thinking about how we can use that and even embodied in organization, because when you're not sure someone, or like someone said to me when I was talking to them some weeks ago, when you have a sponsor, within an organization, they look out for you. They push you to some opportunities that you're not even at that moment, sure that you could do, but they see something in you that I know you could do this, I have seen you do something similar. So go for it. That does help. And when you take that back to the team, and you sit the good in your team, you see the weaknesses, because there are weaknesses as well. But you're focusing on on this trends, and helping to build the weaknesses. It could be training, it could be coaching, or even mentoring or handheld. That helps everybody or even that person is lagging behind to be sure of themselves, too, to know that you care about the career, and so much so you care about them succeeding within the team. However, like I said earlier, it is a sometimes a tough one.


Dr. Dave  22:44

It takes work. It does. But still, but what would you say as a coach, you know, the trainer or mentor, facilitator, all those wonderful things that all those skills that you have, you know, what would you say to leaders still on the fence about fully embracing the philosophy of generative leadership and winning and losing as a team?


Kemmy  23:09

I would say it's lonely out there. They need to bring more people to the ship level. And everybody is a leader. I mean, if you ask so Dhabi, there is always a leader, you know, so you don't need that kind of, to be a leader. I think they need to invest more in people, they need to trust people as well. They need to trust in provide an environment where people it is okay not to get it right the first time. It is okay for you to try to experiment. to spray man. So when you create an A spray mentoring environment, people know that, yeah, I would just try this. And if it doesn't work, I'll try again. But at the same time, I'm involved in people that understand i Oh, I've done this before, enjoy so that it's successful. So they're not just trying for the sake of it, but they are trying to help the team move forward and invariably the organization move forward. So leaders needs to embrace this kind of leadership. For everybody sake, and for the sake of the organization, we I mean, we see where the economy is growing right now. If you're not able to pivot as fast as you can, then you're left behind. Right?


Dr. Dave  24:43

This is not the truth. That's so true. But let me close and say, you know, thank you for joining this joining me for this episode of knowledge share with Dr. Day podcast. And I just want you to remember as generative leaders in our journey is about nurturing a culture of collaboration, mutual support and respect and a shared accountability, embrace the win and lose as a team mindset and watch it as a transform your team and the entire organization. So, Kimmy Raji CAMI Raji, yes. So awesome. You know, is there one thing that you would like to leave our listeners with, you know, a whisper of wisdom? How's that?


Kemmy  25:34

I would say that you are a leader as well. You will definitely get to where you want to go by engaging others. What is this adage again, me as South African and I could be wrong. If you want to go fast. You go alone if you want to go farther, you go with people. So you go together. Yes, yes. And that's what I'm going to believe in people with today because it does help when you have a good relationship and good relationship is what makes you a good leader.


Dr. Dave  26:15

Thank you for saying that. So until next time, keep leading generatively and empowering your teams to thrive. Kemmy you're awesome. Thank you so much. Let me stop recording


Dr. Dave  26:29

Lets talk about it.  Talk, talk, talk! Let's go deep.  We all have something to share.  KnolShare with Dr. Dave.