I want you to:
be more productive,
reduce your mistakes,
shorten your learning curve,
and elevate your success.
If I am going to help you do these things, we must first look at what’s hiding in your blind spot.
Are you ready?
Teamwork in Business is Highly Overrated.
Teamwork is never the answer.
Individual responsibility is the answer.
A relay race is really just a series of individual runners, three of whom begin their efforts with an advantage, or a deficit, handed to them by the previous runner. If a runner increases that advantage or shortens that deficit, he or she was successful.
When individuals are rewarded collectively, we create the illusion of a team.
1: Individual responsibility brings out the best in us.
2: You create a committee when you remove individual responsibility.
3: Every bureaucracy begins as a well-intentioned committee.
But we love to be members of a tribe. Being part of a team – a tribe – gives us a sense of identity, purpose, and adventure. These feelings help us to perform as individuals.
Americans love football. But it isn’t the teamwork that attracts us. It is the tribalism and the tribal leaders.
Quarterbacks, running backs and receivers – the tribal leaders who score the most points – are paid a lot more money than the rest of the team. So why do coaches tell players that every member of the team is “equally important”?
I can’t help but hear the “Animal Farm’ voice of George Orwell, his tongue about to punch a hole in his cheek,
“All animals are created equal. But some animals are more equal than others.”
The role of a tribal leader is to instill the values, beliefs, and culture of the tribe into each of its members and each of its fans.
Tribal leaders are different from tribal managers.
A Manager – a Coach – holds each individual responsible for delivering the outcome that he or she has been assigned.
Steve Jobs did not invent the Apple computer. Steve Wozniak invented the Apple computer.
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs were not a team. They were partners, each of whom had specific responsibilities.
“Most inventors and engineers I’ve met are like me … they live in their heads. They’re almost like artists. In fact, the very best of them are artists. And artists work best alone …. I’m going to give you some advice that might be hard to take. That advice is: Work alone… Not on a committee. Not on a team.”*
That is Steve Wozniak’s advice to you.
“Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy… Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.”
– John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Wozniak was the first runner in a relay race. He handed the baton to Steve Jobs. When Jobs was forced to hand that baton to John Sculley in 1985, Scully stumbled and handed the baton to Michael Spindler who stumbled and handed it to Gil Amelio who fell on his face and left a 20-foot skid mark on the track.
Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1996 and brought it back to life. After he died in 2011, tribal manager Tim Cook lifted Apple to a $1 trillion stock valuation, the first ever in history.
Professor Scott Galloway made a piercing comment about the power of tribal leaders when he was interviewed by Christiane Amanpour,
“As societies become wealthier and more educated, the reliance on a super-being and church attendance goes down, but they still look for idols. Into that void steps technology leaders because technology… …is the closest thing we have to magic. Our new Jesus Christ was Steve Jobs, and now Elon Musk has taken on that mantle.”
Although I admired the abilities of Steve Jobs, he was merely the popularizer, the face, the dynamic leader, the pitchman, the philosopher, the high priest of the Apple religion. Without Wozniak, Steve Jobs would likely have been just another California techie bouncing from company to company in blue jeans, a black turtleneck, and sneakers.
I will leave Elon Musk up to you.
Roy H. Williams
*Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain