Conference Recap: Fueling the “Me” in Team: An Integrated Approach to Team Performance

Theresa Robinson, the faculty for the keynote presentation on Tuesday, July 12, 2011, is an energetic and engaging woman who had the audience’s full attention for the entire morning. Ms. Robinson focused on burnout in the workplace, and she had the perfect audience for this topic—judicial educators, court personnel, and judicial officers.

Ms. Robinson focused on a different approach to the theory of team and burnout…stating that there is a “ME in team”, and the foundation of a good team is based on each individual’s ability to contribute to the team as a whole. If the individual team members are not functioning due to stress, lack of sleep, poor diet and exercise habits, the team unit will suffer in the end.

Self-care was an integral component to Ms. Robinson’s presentation, as she believes and promotes that self-care is essential not only to individual well-being but also to the ability to participate and contribute to a team. Fueling strategies were introduced to the audience—the strategies help keep mind, body, and spirit in the forefront. Ms. Robinson recommends writing out this affirmation and keeping it posted near personal workspaces: [“When I don’t take care of me, it impacts everyone around me.”]

  • Fuel the Body
    • Don’t over fuel or under fuel but eat a well balanced diet
  • Get Moving
    • Sitting is hazardous to our health
    • Movement and active bodies help jump start the brain
    • Create opportunities to move (i.e., using a restroom on a different floor)
  • Reduce “Bad” Stress
    • Brains are designed to handle 30 seconds of stress at a time
    • Too much stress may erode team functionality
    • May not function at our best
  • Rest & Recovery
    • Sleep is a critical time for the brain
    • New insight formation happens during sleep
    • Most people are sleep deprived
  • Seek Out Joy
    • 1 minute of deep belly laughter is equal to 10 minutes of cardio
  • Connect with Others
    • We are social creatures
    • It is not good to be isolated

What was really great about this keynote presentation was the fact that there was a follow-up session immediately after. While the main focus of the keynote address was to raise awareness regarding burnout and the effects of individual burnout on a team, the follow-up session was very “hands-on” and gave concrete steps for sustainable growth and change. The four stages introduced were geared to be practical and actionable:

  1. Information
    a. Take this opportunity to gather as much information as is necessary to raise awareness regarding health and stress.
  2. A Compelling “WHY”
    a. Find a “why” to help make a change more meaningful (i.e., I want to take better care of myself so that I can play with my grandchildren).
  3. Self-Discipline
  4. Habit
    a. Visit to set up an accountability and tracking system to help create healthy habits.