Wahoo: A Fable About Team Effectiveness

Chapter 1
A Typical Day

It was a typical day for the Cambia tribe. As the sun came up, the members of the tribe began the same morning routines, in the same manner, and in the same order that their elders had done for as long as anyone could remember.

On the hill overlooking the village, Kainai, the chief of the Cambia tribe, emerged from his hut and surveyed the scene below him. He saw the same people doing the same activities in the same way as they had done for the many moons since he became the chief, and he sighed with heavy discontent. This “sameness” that had provided comfort and a sense of security for all the chiefs that came before Kainai left him feeling empty. From the hilltop, high above the morning activities, Kainai was able to view the whole picture; and to him, it appeared to be lacking something very important.

Kainai saw that, as usual, there was a lot of activity going on throughout the tribe; but it was disorganized. Individuals were acting primarily for themselves and taking care of only their individual needs. Small fires dotted the landscape. Small fields were being tended to.

The Cambia tribe was filled with people milling around acting in only their own self-interest which, in some cases, led to conflict between tribal members.

What if they would work together?

Kainai knew if the tribal members would only work together, they could have a far better life than any of them could separately, but he had failed to convince his tribal members of this. Kainai had tried many things. He had tried a suggestion coconut where tribal members could offer suggestions to improve things. He created a tribal council of six to represent the needs of the tribe, but it usually resulted in arguments and disagreements that went unresolved, leading to discontent. He offered to pay for ideas, but people argued over who had an idea first. He instituted a quality-of-work life program, but it failed due to lack of interest. Kainai knew in his heart that life would be better for everyone if his members would only work together.

Crops could be planted sooner, providing a better yield. Harvest would be more plentiful to share for the upcoming winter. The bridge across the river could be repaired, allowing access to the other side. The fact was, his tribe was not working together but rather as a group of individuals. Kainai called out for his scribe. He asked his scribe to write down a few of his observations. The sun began to set in the sky as the chief returned to his hut, pondering how he could make a positive change in his tribe’s situation.

Chapter 2
A Tribesman Returns

The next morning, Kainai emerged from his hut. He began his daily walk through the village. The sun felt warm upon his face, and he smelled the scent of burning wood wafting through the air. It was a beautiful fall day, and Kainai stopped by the river to watch a leaf fl oat effortlessly downstream. He turned to resume his walk and met one of his tribesmen, Nani, who was visibly excited.

Nani had just returned from a long journey. He had stumbled upon another tribe in the valley and was astonished at what he saw. This tribe was very prosperous. They had large stores of food and had constructed marvelous structures. They were living happily, peacefully, and were working together for the common good of the tribe. The way the tribe worked together seemed effortless, and everyone knew the part they played.

The more Kainai listened to Nani, the more excited he became. He, too, wanted his tribe to be prosperous and to live happily and peacefully. This would be much better than living from day to day, doing the same things and being discontented with the way things are.

At that moment, Kainai decided that he must seek out the leader of this tribe to uncover his secret for success. He asked Nani if he could take him to this tribe the next day. Nani agreed. Kainai went back to his hut on the hill and began to prepare for his exciting journey.

Chapter 3
The Journey

The next morning, Kainai awoke with the sunrise. Kainai had hardly slept the night before in anticipation of his journey. So many questions were running through his head. Could he learn from this tribe the secrets that had eluded him these many years? What was the leader of the tribe like? He imagined a handsome tall man of great strength and charisma. What secret or secrets could this leader possess that would lead to such great success? Nani knocked on the door, and he helped Kainai load his things onto his horse. Kainai, Nani, and the tribal scribe began their journey. Kainai was full of questions for Nani.

“Nani, are the people of this tribe friendly?”

“Yes, from the time I was welcomed to the time I left, I was well cared for.”

“Tell me, Nani, did you meet the leader of the tribe in person?”

“No, but everyone had wonderful things to say about him,” replied Nani.

As they continued to ride, Kainai found himself getting more and more excited, but a bit intimidated by this newfound tribe and their leader. Nani assured him he would be pleasantly surprised.

Chapter 4
The Arrival

Kainai, Nani, and the scribe traveled for several days across the countryside, backtracking Nani’s previous journey. Kainai asked questions the entire way. On the fourth day of the journey, Nani stopped his horse and said to Kainai, “The village is just around the corner.”

Kainai’s heart pounded as he felt his excitement grow. As they rounded the corner in the hillside, Kainai could see huge stores of grain and corn that seemed to appear out of nowhere. As the trees parted, he could not believe his eyes. Before him stood the most magnificent huts, each of sturdy design and beautifully decorated. In the center of the village stood a large community building that was shared by all. The people of the tribe were smiling. They seemed to move in harmony with one another as if they had a common heartbeat providing a common rhythm. Work appeared more like a dance with everyone knowing their steps and the steps of others. Kainai had never seen anything like this before. So much was being done, but it seemed so effortless. This was the dream Kainai had pictured for his people, but these people were actually doing it! What secret does this leader possess that could motivate people to such accomplishments? Kainai had to know.

As they approached, they were noticed by several tribesmen and beckoned into the village. They were greeted warmly. Several recognized Nani from his earlier visit.

They were offered food and drink, and their horses were taken to the stable for care. A member of the tribe offered to show Kainai around. He gave Kainai a tour of the stores of grain, the community center, several huts, and the new irrigation project a number of tribesmen were working on. Kainai was astounded at how the tribe was working together and how much they could accomplish together. He asked his guide how this was all possible. The guide simply responded, “Wahoo.”

Kainai looked confused. He asked his guide, “What is Wahoo?”

The guide replied, “Wahoo is not a what, but rather, Wahoo is.”

“Is what?” asked Kainai.

“Wahoo just is,” replied the guide.

“Wahoo is not a what, or a how, but rather the outcome of what and how. Our leader can explain it to you better than I. Would you like to meet him?”

“ YES , I would!” said Kainai.

“Then I will take you to him,” said the tribesman. “His name is Manish.”

Dash: "What Will Your Dash Mean?"

Chapter One
Being at Cause

There are three types of people in this world: those who make things
happen, those who watch things happen and those who wonder what
happened. We all have a choice. You can decide which type of person
you want to be. I have always chosen to be in the first group.
— Mary Kay Ash

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude
from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man
with the wrong mental attitude.

—Thomas Jefferson

There is a wise Indian prayer that states, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” As time goes by, there are things that you can influence and things that you cannot.

Being at cause does not mean that you adopt an irrational belief that you can control everything. What it does mean is taking responsibility for your own life. At-cause people choose to influence the things they can to make their lives better. It is a mental state of defining options and making choices to guide and influence your future. At-cause people respond positively even to a negative situation and quickly start to identify their choices and alternatives. This then allows them to influence their environment and continue to maintain control of their lives. At-cause people happen to life.

At-effect people choose not to take responsibility for their lives. They will assume a helpless-victim mentality, placing blame on others or the external situation. “The reason I did poorly in school was my teacher.” “The reason I did poorly in my job was my boss.” “There was nothing I could do.” At-effect people frequently will engage in a game called “Ain’t that awful!” “Ain’t it awful what they are doing?” “Ain’t it awful how bad it is?” Since they do not identify choices or ways of influencing their environment for the future, they tend to have little or no control over future events. In essence, they shift the power to control their lives from themselves to the environment, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. At-effect people let life happen to them.

Whether you are at cause or at effect, the reality is what actually happens, happens. Once a situation has taken place, it is what it is. The question is then “How do you choose to respond to it?” Do you choose to respond to the situation from an “at-cause” or an “at-effect” mindset?

At-cause people assess the situation, determine their choices and options, and begin to move in the direction that provide them the best life. This increases their influence over future events. This can result in new options and choices over time. It is a continual process of defining my choices now, choosing the best one, and moving on.

At-effect people give their power away to the environment and don’t identify their choices. They blame the environment and assume a victim mentality, which decreases their influence over their lives and future events. They tend not to move on but stay stuck waiting for the environment to dictate their future. At-effect people wait for

life to happen to them and trade success for the comfort of avoiding responsibility for their lives. Since they do not take control of their life, they lose the ability to influence it and see themselves as having no control.