The Rain in Spain

The Rain in SpainMany of us remember the Pygmalion story of Eliza Doolittle, the Cockney flower-seller who was turned into a social experiment by Professor Henry Higgins, who bet a colleague he could turn this crass, accented person into a ‘real lady’.

Professor Higgins did his job, but Eliza didn’t let go of her spunk, and in the process, she changed Professor Higgins as much as he changed her. Continue reading

The Team at the Top

The Team at the TopA leader is one who, out of madness or goodness, volunteers to take upon himself the woe of the people.” – John Updike
Teamwork as a cultural norm is crucial, as described in last week’s blog post.  But it will never be embedded as a norm if the leaders at the top of the organization are not part of the team.  “We’ve got a great team,” said a bank executive.  But when irregularities in the company were uncovered, his official statement pointed to underlings who had failed to do their jobs well.  Contrast that with the observation of Rajeev Behera, whose Disney division produces game apps for handheld devices, where failure of a product to take hold is common: “Taking responsibility for a failure demonstrates confidence in your ability to move forward from it.” Continue reading

Teamwork as Culture

Teamwork as CultureLast week, Anne, the leader of a key division, suddenly became disabled with a serious illness.  She was too ill to even think about what was happening at work as she lay in the hospital.  As she improved, she began to worry about the deadline that had now passed for completing crucial work on a product rollout.  She flashed a text message to one of her team members to ask the status.  What she got back was from Frank, one of her colleagues in another division: “Got you covered.  All is completed and in order.  Peter and I jumped in.  Get some rest.  We’ll stay on top of it.” Continue reading