The Aluminum Can Theory

6 Jul

On my last business trip I had accidentally packed my book in my suitcase and before I knew it I was forced to have to buy a new book in the airport. I knew I wanted some sort of inspirational thought proving book that I could share with my team when I got back.


How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth

 As I was pacing the book store I saw a booked titled “How Winning Works”  by Robyn Benincasa. I never heard of her, but I love winning! As a child I loved the feeling of winning, the feeling of working hard to achieve a goal and the fulfillment when I reached that goal.  Whether it was hockey or baseball I was fortunate to be around talented coaches and players who liked to win as well. But, other than working hard while I was playing the game or practicing I never thought about how winning works.

 To give you the CliffsNotes version of the book, Robyn is a hard core athlete who talks mostly about her extreme racing events that take place in crazy places that I would never ever think to go to. Robyn tells stories about her and her team working together to conquer these races that could take weeks to finish, traveling by bike, foot and kayak most of the time. They would climb steep mountains and work together to try and beat teams from all over the world. In each chapter Robyn tells a different story with a different message that could be used in the business world. I want to focus on my favorite part of the book, Chapter 4 where she talks about mutual respect and the Aluminum Can Theory

 In Chapter 4 Robyn talks about her boss a fire chief who says that “Anything you say in the heat of battle, when you’re just looking to crush someone and go for the kill is like an aluminum can… will stay in the environment forever.”

 I re-read that a few times and could not believe how much sense that made. I started thinking back to things people said to me that were aluminum cans and I started hoping that I did not throw out aluminum cans to people in my life. However, the one aluminum can that was thrown my way recently I’d like to share. This person said to me “no one will ever care about your business more than you and you should realize that.” Or something like that, I am sure you get the point I am trying to make and you can see that the aluminum can this person threw was heading toward my heart and soul.

 Well, I am proud to say that in the last two weeks that this person was proved wrong. Our team at Search Solution Group got entered into a contest in Charlotte, NC and before we were even told about it we were in almost dead last place. It’s tough to climb out of a huge hole when no one cares and you are at the bottom. Not this group! Led by our social media guru, everyone reached out to friends and family trying to get them to vote for us. I was getting text messages on Saturdays from my team telling me we had moved up 10 places. The “new girl” posted it on her Facebook page (what a good hire) and everyone was doing more than they had to. I will never be able to share the actual feelings of people you love working together to accomplish something, it actually moves me to tears. The day of the results at 7:01AM as I was rolling over and hitting the snooze button in bed our social media guru texted me to tell me that we had made it to the top 8. She was so excited and dedicated to winning it rubbed off on everyone. It was amazing how much everyone cared.  I couldn’t believe it, we had won!  We weren’t going to win millions of dollars or anything, it was just pride. The SSG team just cared more and more, maybe even more than me. It was the proudest I had ever been as a business owner (I am dead serious). I had never been more proud of my teammates and more proud of what we were doing and where we can go together. We had won something by working together and caring. That aluminum bottle that was thrown at me did not seem to hurt anymore.

 I am so lucky to go to work every day and be around people and dogs that mean so much to me.  Thank You.


One Response to “The Aluminum Can Theory”


  1. It’s Not Where it Started…It’s Where It’s Going That Matters! « Gnozzo Knows - September 21, 2012

    […] point is that I am no longer throwing out Aluminum Cans (see previous blogs) I realize how important these decisions that we make everyday are and how they impact […]

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