Like millions of Americans I started my Thanksgiving watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I love the floats, the bands, the balloons and my favorite part, The Radio City Rockettes. Their precision, their style, their dancing, it’s all perfection. I never get tired of it.
I started thinking about the Rockettes. They are all superb dancers. You don’t get to be a Rockette if you’re just good. You have to be more. Any one of them could probably be dancing on Broadway, with one of the world’s major dance companies or in the ballet. You have to be able to do it all to be a Rockette. But these incredible artists give up their individual dreams to be part of something greater. They are part of the world’s foremost precision dance company. They give up a lot.
Are your employees willing to make that kind of sacrifice? Managers I’m working with often tell me they want their employees to be “team players.” I respond by asking, “what does that mean?” What does it mean to be a team player in your organization? To me a team player is someone who’s willing to sacrifice. Someone willing to let their colleagues shine. Someone willing to sublimate personal success and recognition for the good of the department or the organization. It’s a sacrifice fewer and fewer people are willing to make these days. It seems everybody wants to shine, to get their 15 minutes of fame.
Except the Rockettes. They understand the value of belonging to this elite group. They take pride in being part of a tradition that extends back almost 100 years. They feel a responsibility to themselves, the group and to each other to never be out of step. Sure, I’ll bet there’s one who can kick higher than any other. But you’ll never see that happen in a performance. The performance of the group is more important that any one person’s glory. Your job as a manager is to instill the same feeling in your team. Next post I’ll offer a few ways how.