No Jabs – A Better Way of Living

Recently I had the opportunity of spending some time with my brother Bob who is a retired educator, an entrepreneur and a former Mayor of the Town of Dunnville – a vibrant town at the mouth of the Grand River in southern Ontario.

Team Development No Jabs   A Better Way of Living	During his teaching career Bob had developed a “Spring Camp” with the motto “Everyone Helping Everyone Else”, appropriately displayed in the “gathering room”. This camp lasted for some 24 years.

Then, just before his time as Mayor, this motto probably provided the seed for his development of a philosophy for helping to enhance the effectiveness of people working together. This philosophy was subsequently applied to a Marina, Bed & Breakfast and Family Restaurant,which he developed on his property along the Grand River; and to his assistance in the development of a Leisure Living Community on thesame property.

His goal was to involve everyone, working together, in building the community of Dunnville.  To do this, he believed that it was necessary to have people thinking positively, acting positively, and with kindness. He recognized that there were many people in his community with experience and qualifications. On the other hand, there were people with commitment to the community, and time to share.

Jabs Dunnville2 No Jabs   A Better Way of Living	In attempting to eliminate negativity, he developed a model that he christened as “No JABS”. The negative forces he wanted to eliminate included:

  • Judgement: Judging is the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision. Unfortunately we sometimes make judgements based on opinion which we express as facts.
  • Accusations: When you say someone is guilty of doing something wrong, in the absence of fact.
  • Blames:Censuring or making negative statements about an individual or group, in the absence of fact.
  • Sarcasm: Sharp, bitter, derisive or cutting remarks that are hurtful and annoying.

Using any of these actions is not conducive to team building and the development of trust. Avoiding them is crucial to building effective teams, and to living in harmony. People want to be around other people that they know, like and trust; and they do their best work in the absence of negative forces.

But it is not enough to have this philosophy, it must be advertised. In Bob’s case, every business card he handed out had this model on the reverse of the card. He also espoused it on every possible occasion.

Bullyeye No Jabs   A Better Way of Living	If we are going to work together effectively as a team, we must understand that we are all different – with different needs and expectations. But if we are willing to put out the effort, and focus on building stronger relationships in the absence of negativity, the rewards are there. It is entirely up to each of us. It is our ability to adapt our behaviour to build strong and lasting relationships that will determine how successful we are in achieving our vision and goals.

I believe that Bob did much to accomplish this in Dunnville, and in his subsequent endeavours. Both my wife and I were very impressed with the town and its people. It is a philosophy worth trying!

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