There’s a line that’s repeated in Charles Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol,” by the suffering child, Tiny Tim. At the Christmas dinner he proclaims an addendum to the prayer, “And God bless us, EVERYONE!” The line is repeated at the end of the story to show Scrooge’s incredible, revelatory change in character and attitude. “Everyone,” in Tiny Tim’s mind included even the miserly, crotchety Mr. Scrooge. Tiny Tim saw something in Scrooge everyone else missed.
Think about the cast of characters in that old Christmas tale. Fred, the fancy-free, glass half-full nephew. Bob Cratchet a kind man, loyal and fearful of his employer. Scrooge the overbearing penny-pincher and boss who can only think of profits. Tiny Tim the physically challenged child who is filled with more hope than anyone else in the story. And the three ghosts that visit Scrooge throughout that fateful night. Every one of them is different. Each character fits their place in the story as it builds to its transformational ending.
Now think about your workplace. Think about your team and the cast of characters you collaborate with to produce the product, or service(s) you provide. And just remember you are one of those characters too. If your office, or company is like mine you are all different. Each person brings different gifts, strengths, and personality to the team.
Sometimes we forget the contributions our co-workers make to the success of the team because we are so focused on our differences, individual quirks, and habits. When we make elevate our differences they become an obstacle to success. As an individual my heart grows just a little smaller every time I focus on those differences instead of celebrating the strength that comes through them. And when your heart starts to shrink it’s never a good thing!
Great teams depend on different characters, strengths, gifts, passions, knowledge and skill. It takes every member pulling their weight to pull off a successful season, big sale, or profitable year. The QB has to have receivers and running backs. The defensive line is dependent upon the secondary in case a pass, or back gets past them. Special team members all have to do their job and fulfill their individual roles to move the statistics.
Vince Lombardi (The SuperBowl trophy is named after him for a reason) the legendary NFL football coach once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort, that is what makes a team work.” Your team is no different!
We humans are all too often indifferent, cynical, critical, harsh and even sarcastic toward others, especially with those who are different from us. Notice I didn’t say different. But different from “us”. Again, Coach Lombardi: “People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.”
It’s been said that over time adults grow up and lose the capacity to think like children, or to see the world the way they do. If you’ve ever been around a special needs child, or one with a chronic illness you know the hope and courage with which they face the world. They are hope-filled, gracious toward all and positive. They see promise in everyone they meet. Tiny Tim was that child. When the rest of the world had given up on Mr. Scrooge, he held out hope and saw something redeeming deep within old Scrooge.
Those of us older than twelve would do well to adjust our cynical and selfish lenses and celebrate those around us. We need to cheer on those different from us. We need to embrace the gifts they bring to our team. We need to quit trying to change them, or work against them and accept them like a child. We win when we ALL work together. And no, it’s not easy, it’s some of the hardest work on earth.
Our team at WSM is small, but very different with totally different gifts. We are committed to harnessing those differences and building upon our strengths to tell your digital story. We are a work in progress and we don’t have all the answers, but we fight for our clients and work together to tell their stories.
Charles Carter, Partner
Charlie Carter, Partner
102 Trade Street
Greer, SC 29651