Team Building | Leadership Breakfast 03.09.23

Sponsored by ITU Absorb Tech

Maranatha’s faculty, staff, students, and the Watertown business community gathered to hear Sam Brock speak at the Leadership Breakfast on March 9, 2023. Sam Brock is the Executive Director of Ironwood Camp in California.

Brock knew from a young age that he wanted to work at a camp. So, his dad, who also worked at Ironwood, suggested he start by working with the custodial crew. As he grew older, and eventually earned a Marketing Management degree and a graduate degree in English Bible, he worked his way up to his current position as director.

Brock opened the talk by presenting the audience with two ways they can make their businesses run smoothly and efficiently; a box of creativity and a set of cards.

First, he presented his theory on the box of creativity. Brock explained that to accomplish a task or project every person begins with a box of creativity. This box contains four important elements: purpose, people, time, and resources/money. He argued that creativity cannot thrive without these four things.

Brock challenged the leaders in the audience to give their own employees a box of creativity to complete every project. People must know why they’re accomplishing the task, who will help them, the amount of time they have to complete the task, and what resources are available. When a person knows these four things their creativity is free, and the results are usually better.

If people don’t know they have resources, they won’t do anything at all. If they’re given open-ended possibilities, they may go beyond what needs to be done or what reasonably can be done within the budget available. When they’re given a box of creativity, however, new possibilities are created.

Brock told the story of how his own employees were able to build an entire paintball course for $500 because they were given a box of creativity. He pushes his employees to see what they can do with $10, then $40 all the way up to their actual budget.

Brock said, “A person loves being entrusted with tasks when they have a box of creativity.”

Creating a box of creativity ensures the best outcomes on an assignment. Employers must be realistic, however, about the bounds of creativity. If people aren’t given enough time, resources, or help they can’t be expected to accomplish a task properly. Often an employer must also balance several boxes of creativity. To focus on one may cause a different one to be accomplished to a lesser degree, however, that’s a decision that everyone must make on their own.

The second secret he shared was a set of cards. Brock began by handing out a set of cards to all the people in the room. Every card held a different character description. He had the members of the audience make two piles, one for “this is me” and one for “this is not me”. Once the audience had gone through the entire deck of cards, he asked them to count how many they had in their “this is me” stack.

He explained that he uses the cards to get an idea of his employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Usually, people end up with anywhere from 60-100 cards in their “this is me” stack. Once they have that stack Brock asks them to drop it down to 50, then, 25, all the way down to 10 cards.

Brock said, “That work from 25 to 10 is golden.”

In the end, the individual has 10 cards that describe their strengths. They can then accomplish their box of creativity based on those strengths. Brock explained that this process allows him to see the strengths of his team members, so he can assign tasks to the right people.

Brock ended the breakfast with a challenge to the audience. He explained, “The goal this morning was to give you two things that you can use this week.” He encouraged the audience to implement these ideas into their own businesses.

A Q&A was held after breakfast.

The next leadership breakfast will be held on April 12. Register here.

Learn more about Maranatha’s Golf Classic here.