Team-Building Lessons from the Boxing Ring to the Calibration Lab

Back in my boxing days, when I was more familiar with the canvas than a painter, I learned some crucial lessons that surprisingly apply to team building and management. Picture this: I'm in the ring, southpaw stance, fancying myself the next Smoking Joe Frazier. Reality, however, had a different script. My boxing nickname? "Canvas." Yep, I spent more time studying the lights over the ring than the inside of a textbook.

But amidst the bruises and the taste of defeat, boxing taught me an invaluable lesson about life and the workplace: the difference between "we" and "I" people.

Core Values Team-BuildingIn the world of boxing, as in life, when you win a match, it's all about "we." "We fought a great fight," "We had the right strategy." We? The other guy punching me was the only “We” in the ring. But when you're on the losing end, suddenly it becomes, "Steven didn’t work the jab right." Sound familiar? Success in the ring, like in the office, draws a crowd. Failure, on the other hand, is about as popular as a turd in a hot tub.

This dichotomy of "we" versus "I" extends beyond the boxing ring into the workforce. Take my time in higher education, for instance, if you don't mind. Working in admissions is like being in a fishbowl. Hit your numbers, and it's a campus-wide celebration: "We did it!" Miss the mark, and suddenly it's "Admissions dropped the ball." Sales teams across industries nod in agreement – they've heard this tune before.

The key takeaway is learning to use "we" in success and failure. This approach is crucial in building a strong team. It fosters a sense of shared responsibility and unity, crucial components for any successful group. It's about being a gracious winner and standing together in the face of setbacks.

Now, let's talk about the "I" people. You know them. They bask in the glory when things go right and are quicker to take credit than a con artist in a Ponzi scheme. But when things go south? They're faster at pointing fingers than a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. These folks are the antithesis of team players, and their mindset can be toxic in a collaborative environment.

Boxing and my career have taught me that the strongest teams are built on a foundation of collective effort and mutual support. In the ring, every punch, every block, every round counts. Every idea, effort, success, and failure matter in the workplace. It's about taking the hit together and sharing the victory lap.

Team-building:  Communication

Instilling this "we" mentality is crucial for leaders and managers. It starts with setting an example. Leaders must first use "we" in both triumph and trouble. This isn't just about semantics; it's about creating an atmosphere where team members feel valued and responsible. When a team celebrates together, it strengthens bonds. When it faces challenges as a unit, it builds resilience.

Communication is key. Regular, transparent discussions about goals, challenges, and achievements foster a sense of shared purpose. When team members are informed and involved in decision-making, they feel a part of the bigger picture, not just cogs in a machine.

Recognition plays a vital role, too. Acknowledging individual contributions within the context of team success reinforces the idea that while individual efforts are appreciated, they are part of a larger collaborative effort. This approach balances the need for personal recognition with the importance of team achievement.

Team-building activities can also enhance this sentiment. But let’s avoid the clichéd trust falls and instead opt for activities that foster collaboration and understanding. Think about problem-solving tasks or social events that allow team members to connect personally. These activities should aim to break down barriers and build trust, not just fill a slot on a corporate retreat schedule.

Empowerment is another critical aspect. When team members are given the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work, they feel more invested in the outcomes. This doesn’t mean a free-for-all but rather creating a framework where individuals can innovate and contribute meaningfully.

Lastly, dealing with failure as a team is as important as celebrating success. When things don’t go as planned, avoid the blame game. Instead, focus on learning from the experience and moving forward together. This approach helps problem-solving and reinforces the belief that everyone is in it together, for better or worse.

Navigating the "I" people in a team is a bit like boxing in the dark - you know there's a hit coming, but you're just not sure from where. These are the folks who, when success knocks, are first to answer the door with a loud "I did it!" But when failure rings the bell? Suddenly, it's a chorus of crickets. I often joke that if 'I' were a commodity, these people would be billionaires. However, this is where the good "I" word - integrity - comes into play. Integrity means owning your mistakes as openly as you claim your victories. It's about being as quick to say, "I messed up," as "I aced it." This honesty builds personal character and fortifies the team's trust and respect. It's a trait that turns the solitary “I” into a unifying part of “we.”

Incorporating the "we" mentality into the workforce is not a one-off task; it's a continuous process that shapes an organization's culture. It requires commitment, consistency, and a genuine belief in the power of collective effort. Leaders and managers foster this spirit, much like a coach in a boxing ring, ensuring that every team member knows that they are part of something bigger, something worth fighting for, together.

At Morehouse Instrument Company, we strive to build a team of "we" people, not "I" people. Regardless of their roles, everyone at Morehouse undergoes calibration training. This ensures that everyone understands the importance of precision and accuracy in our work and empowers them to contribute to our collective success.

Furthermore, we hold regular team meetings to discuss failures and successes openly. These meetings provide a platform for sharing insights, learning from each other's experiences, and reinforcing our commitment to continuous improvement. We foster a culture of transparency and mutual support by openly addressing challenges and celebrating achievements as a team.

Our core values, such as "Trust the Team," guide our daily interactions. We emphasize the importance of trusting and relying on each other to achieve our goals, reinforcing the idea that we are stronger together than we are individually.

Incorporating the "we" mentality into our workforce is not just a one-time effort but an ongoing process requiring dedication and consistency. Leaders and managers play a crucial role in fostering this spirit by leading by example, encouraging collaboration, and ensuring every team member feels valued and included.

As a customer of Morehouse Instrument Company, you're part of our journey toward excellence in calibrations. Our team works together, learning and growing to ensure your equipment gets the best treatment possible.

Every person here, from the technicians to the office staff, undergoes calibration training. This means everyone knows the importance of precision and accuracy in our work. When we collaborate, we solve problems faster, ensuring your calibrations are done right every time.

We're always looking for ways to improve. Through regular team meetings, we share ideas and discuss how we can serve you better. This dedication to continuous improvement means you can trust us to provide the most reliable service possible.

But most importantly, our focus is always on you, our customer. With our "we" mentality, we're all committed to your satisfaction and success. When you choose Morehouse, you get a calibration service and a dedicated team working together to meet your needs and exceed your expectations.

About Morehouse Instrument Company

Morehouse Instrument Company, a trusted and accredited provider of force and torque measurement services for over 100 years, offers measurement uncertainties 10-50 times lower than the competition.

Morehouse helps commercial labs, government labs, and other organizations lower their measurement risk by lowering equipment uncertainties for torque and force measurement. Contact Morehouse at or

More Information about Morehouse

We believe in changing how people think about force and torque calibration in everything we do.

This includes setting expectations on load cell reliability and challenging the "just calibrate it" mentality by educating our customers on what matters and what causes significant errors.

We focus on reducing these errors and making our products simple and user-friendly.

This means your instruments will pass calibration more often and produce more precise measurements, giving you the confidence to focus on your business.

Companies around the globe rely on Morehouse for accuracy and speed.

Our measurement uncertainties are 10-50 times lower than the competition.

We turn around your equipment in 7-10 business days so you can return to work quickly, saving you money.

When you choose Morehouse, you're not just paying for a calibration service or a load cell.

You're investing in peace of mind, knowing your equipment is calibrated accurately and on time.

Contact Morehouse at to learn more about our calibration services and load cell products.

Email us if you ever want to chat or have questions about a blog.

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