One of my friends asked a really good question a few weeks back, which made me think further about our dedication to single persons when it comes to celebrating success.
In reality, as many of the wise social scientists have pointed out, all successes are a product of teamwork and there is no single person who has the "power", unless it is a case of communism or other autocratic social setup (but that has nothing to do with business normally).
There is no single idea that can be made a success without a team behind that involves brilliant people in their own area of expertise.
Despite this, we like to celebrate the idea owner, or a leader that is charismatic, as they say.
People like this hero image for some reason (for clarification only: heroes in my definition aren't necessarily role models and vice versa)…it reminds me of the ages, when the only tool humanity had in their hands was faith...or sort of.
I agree that these are very important from a lot of aspects: to successfully defend ourselves, to help in case of a crisis (either external or internal one), to drive motivation and improvements etc-etc. There are many areas where faith & beliefs help us.
However, when it comes to celebrating and showcasing success from a business point of view, I'd really like to see more teams being featured as symbols of success.
I know that usually heroes add to the interviews, that they are supported by so and so (or even by a larger team), but then why not showcase a team photo?
Why can't we normalize that it is indeed a team and it "takes a village" as the famous saying goes?
Even with startups, it makes me wonder how the teams showcased in the pitch decks through the initial phases disappear as soon as they reach some status (i.e. unicorn or grinch or whatever...ups, the grinch status is a new term - I created it lately based on the flops I've seen from stardom to sh*tcom).
Obviously, if there is a solo entrepreneur and they don't want to showcase their family & friends and their wider support group - I understand that they mention them only in the interview (or not even that, depending on the personal preference).
But in the case of bigger corporations, the norm should be showcasing the teams and not individuals or simply just the top leadership, when it comes to success.
All the factory workers and the rest of the management are the ones who contribute to the majority of the success and not the other way around (once again, sh*tty execution is the death of any brilliant idea).
Every single person in a company is a valuable contributor (note: if not, then that role should be gone from the organisation), every person is a mental lighthouse in their field and every single one of them deserves recognition.
I always cringe, when I see a face on Forbes or elsewhere, while we all full know that if XYZ is not pressing the button well enough on a manufacturing equipment, then no high quality product leaves the factory, or if a nurse is not giving the medication in time, then patients may have severe consequences….I won't even bring in supply chain folks, where team play is as essential as having breakfast.
Heck, even without the cleaning ladies and the assistants, CEOs would not have their important investor meetings as the meeting rooms would be filthy and there would be no coffee for the investors and journalists to keep them at bay between questions (I don't even delve into the harder parts of organizing such events behind the scenes, which very few CEOs can actually do themselves).
At the same time, becoming a hero is also an extraordinary pressure on a single individual while they also know full well that they aren't the golden goose laying the eggs (or they don't know, but that is a psychological issue that needs attention - which we have seen recently more than enough).
Actually, good leaders know the value of everyone they have on board and they do cringe themselves, if they are asked to be featured alone on magazine covers (treasure hunt for the holidays, if you have time/interest to Google).
The point once again is: no hero delivers alone.
How about a magazine cover with a team next time?
How about recognizing the so-called "support" roles in companies of successful leaders?
How about showcasing causes instead of individuals?
Not every time, but from time to time. Balance out, if you will.
If you ask the majority of supply chain professionals, they will tell you. They are a team and everyone is a hero, a lighthouse, a success factor and a valuable contributor. The rest is just fluff.
Thanks for the inspiring question Karina Mereuta from Fructify Network!