Promise to The Work Family


Years ago, before I had kids, I was at a friend’s home and remember watching him with his little ones before sending them off to school. The whole family put their hands in the circle, hand over hand, as they shouted altogether, “Gooooooo TEAM!”

I thought: Well, that’s corny.  But cute, too.

Now with my little kids we do the same thing, except we say, “We Are HEWLETT’s!  Hewlett’s Don’t Give Up!  Hewlett’s Do Their Best!  We Are Hewlett’s – ba-ba-bump-ba-bump-bump-bump!” (jingle for “We are Farmers…”)

In other words, we have taken corny and added hokey to obnoxious and created our own version of Sappsville.  It would make the Von Trapp’s, Brady Bunch, and Partridge Family get in a fist fight.

And the kids LOVE IT.

There are 2 types of families: The Family at Home and The Family at Work.

What’s the culture of your Work Family?  I invite you to share this post with the leaders of your organization to encourage them to commit to embracing The Promise movement.

If you are a business owner, you know you lie awake at night during the tough times attempting to figure out how to feed the families you ultimately care for of the employees that work with you.

If you are the manager or executive of any sized company, your promise is to treat those that report to you and under your watch with the type of trust, care, respect that you would an important member of the team.

The Team may feel like the better, more comfortable word for this principle of The Promise, but I prefer to call it The Family, since that denotes a higher level of care, tolerance, always-there-for-one-another-no-matter-how-bad-things-really-get attitude.

But let’s start with TEAM.  And why not start with perhaps the Greatest Sports Team I ever saw play basketball?

Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls ruined my childhood.

As a Utah Jazz fan all I prayed for was one Championship for Karl Malone, John Stockton, my favorite local players.  Running into the Greatest Basketball Team in Basketball History didn’t help.

No one could stop Michael Jordan.  In fact, as much as I hated him for always winning, and at the expense of my own team, I also loved him because he was the most incredible athlete in my lifetime.

His team was comprised of quite the Who’s Who in basketball lore:

The Coach – Phil Jackson – Mastermind of the Zen culture of winning and strangling the entire NBA

The Superstar – Michael Jordan – 6 MVP’s, the man was a freak of nature

The Wingman – Scottie Pippen – All-Star and an All-Time Great

The Stopper – Dennis Rodman – Greatest Rebounder in History & All-Time Defender

  • These top 3 players have since been honored with much deserved Hall of Fame status

From here there were the Supporting Cast of:

Luc Longley at Center, Ron Harper at Guard, Toni Kukoc who could play all positions, and a fairly short dude with blond hair who shot lights out, 3-point Specialist Steve Kerr.

This TEAM was stacked, locked and loaded to destroy other teams.  During my youth in the 1990’s they won more games than any other team in history, finally to be eclipsed miraculously by the Golden State Warriors in 2016 (coached by, yes, Steve Kerr).

1997: My beloved Utah Jazz finally made it past the Houston Rockets and get to our first NBA Finals.  Jordan has now 4 championships and is about to face their biggest challenge yet in the Finals against the Jazz.

Up 3-2 in games won, coming down to the final few seconds of this moment, score tied, all Jordan needs to do is score one basket and Jordan’s Bulls with their 5th Title.

Everyone in the world knew the ball was going to Jordan.

And it did.

Clock ticking down.

As he makes his move the Utah defenders collapse on Jordan – his tongue appeared, which was his “Signature Move” meaning I’m going to kill you now.

In guarding Jordan, the Utah Jazz leave a wide open Steve Kerr at the free-throw line where he was a career 92% free throw shooter.

Michael Jordan, known for his game-winning prowess, instead does something he had rarely done before –

He passed the ball to Steve Kerr.



As the ball swished through the hoop and the Bulls won yet another Title, it was both devastating to Utah Jazz fans, and also enlightening to this author in a moment of defeat: Jordan trusted his teammate to hit the shot.

The definition of TEAM is trusting others to do their job, keep their end of the bargain, to keep a Promise.

Jordan pulled the defense in with his “Signature Move” legend for hitting game-winning shots, and then promptly shared the ball with a team member who’s “Signature Move” was shooting nearly perfect from that spot.

Promise kept in Teamwork, Engagement, Trust, etc.

The same Promise is true in any industry with every Team and Work Family, whether it be the charity event that is still being organized as team members remain late into the night to set up chairs and tape posters, or the deadline for an assignment and presentation is happening at 9 AM as co-workers burn the midnight oil preparing the powerpoint that could launch the company to a new level.

The Promise is in the teachers who collaborate in an effort to guide young students to learn dance moves for the play, the video editors re-shooting the footage that didn’t work because it’s not the kind of emotion they needed for the final edit, and the distributor who stays on the phone an extra hour talking the latest sign-up not to quit because the industry is so tough.

The TEAM is a concept that means The Leader makes sure, in a real crisis, everyone else is taken care of, they are all paid, Christmas will still happen, and then he can hopefully eat, too, even if that means taking it out of his personal savings to cut his own check.  I have seen this happen but only with the best of the best leaders: Legendary Leaders.

Leaders trust their People.  Their People trust their Leaders.  And if the ball is passed to them to make the game-winning shot, the specialist, the worker ready to shine, utilizing the amazing Signature Move and keeping the Promise to share it, is ready for the opportunity!

This is when TEAM becomes FAMILY becomes a Promise.

A Family sticks together when things get more than tough.  They hang in there in dire straits.  Even if hate creeps in where love should abound (yes, give anyone any semblance of a TEAM or Family environment and there is bound to be jealousy, disappointment, and broken promises), but a FAMILY hangs in there!

Family in the workplace is not just people working late and doing all they can to make miracles happen (although that can play a part), but it is amazing people doing their jobs well, right, and fixing mistakes quickly.  Trust abounds in an environment where expectations are exceeded often.  Meetings are attended, calls returned, emails done promptly, respect flows from one cubicle to the next.  Sales guys are out pounding the pavement, trusting full well the customer service team is standing by, shipping is ready, installers at the post.  It takes a TEAM that becomes a FAMILY when success becomes apparent.

What is The Promise to The Family in Business?  It is knowing and trusting in the Signature Moves of those you work with, being certain everyone will keep The Promise and has your back.

I recommend your company/organization/association consider changing the wording you currently use: Instead of calling those you work with your TEAM they are now YOUR FAMILY.

It is acknowledging your commitment, your honor, your respect to that person you consider more than just a colleague but a member of your FAMILY.  It’s saying that someone else may have a better Signature Move or talent and gift than you do, and so you pass them the ball to handle the next step while you keep doing what you do best.

When the TEAM works like a real FAMILY amazing things happen.  People get raises, promotions seem automatic, everyone is happy for the success of everyone, awards come pouring in.

When we pass the ball Championships are won, Legendary Leaders are made, Signature Moves are defined and revered, Promises are made and over-delivered upon when kept.

In sports, entertainment, or any industry, the principles are the same: Consider your TEAM as your FAMILY and you will succeed.

Don’t just commit to this: Make it a PROMISE!


Leadership Expert * Author * Speaker Hall of Fame * Award-Winning Entertainer

The Promise: Become a Legendary Leader and discover your Signature Moves

Ready to become a better Speaker for your next Presentation?  Let Jason show you how click here

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10 thoughts on “Promise to The Work Family”

  1. I love your point about, Trust. Because I can feel it when people trust me. And when Management trusts me, I am confident. Confidence leads to better performance. Better performance leads to: an increase in revenues, customer satisfaction, etc and Championships.

  2. Jason,

    Thank you for sharing this excellent message. You made me think about how I can improve at work and home. You are the best!!!

  3. I love your sports analogies. Saf and I went to watch two of our grandchildren play basketball yesterday. The team is young and makes mistakes – one little girl ran the length of the court holding the ball without one dribble and made a basket. The work family (other players) and the home family (parents, grandparents and friends) all stood and cheered for her. It was exciting to see the support these children receive! Now, if we can all just continue this throughout our lives.

    Thank you Jason for all you do and share with us. And, I love how you lead by example.

  4. Have never been a sports fan but there was no way to not know about Micahel Jordan. : ) However, I didn’t know about this shot and I appreciate being enlightened. It gives me a reason to value him, not just as a player, but as a person. I think that is how we all want to be valued – as a person. When trust exists in a family or at work then people perform better and ask for help to make sure whatever needs to happen does – because when there is trust, you want to be and do your best. The team takes president over self. That’s what this clip of Jordan shows – he wanted his team to win over being lauded as the guy who got the win. That’s
    why this is so moving even for a non-sports fan. : )

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