Wednesday, May 19, 2010

You are the weakest link, good-bye!

Today I was the weakest link. That was not funny. Nor was it pretty. A valuable learning point though. In survival cultures (in tribal Africa, for instance, or in the heart of Hillbrow, Johannesburg) you need to outrun the weakest in your group, and then you are fine. The weakest is not. The predators are happy. In secular-rational cultures (using the Inglehart terminology) the group loses together with the weak one.

The old maxim still holds water: the whole is only as reliable as the weakest member or link. If I am not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to Financial Accounting and I need to represent the team on the subject, guess what happens. Yeah, I screwed it up. I felt bad. Not because I could not legibly explain the ratios, but because my team was looking at me disapprovingly. I studied the ratios the night before but I am no mathematician and thinking numbers on my feet is not my forte, and I am cool with that - I know my areas of improvement. Still, if this happens in a graded activity, I will not be the most popular chap with my mates.

The learnings are obvious and I don't want to be moralistic here. Now I understand much better why leaders flying solo fall down so often, fast and hard: if they don't have their followers at the same level, they won't get very far. So looking in the rear view window is after all not such a bad idea.

1 comment:

  1. HMM... I think the true underline question is: were you the weakest link or was your team leader the weakest link?
    I'll explain more. Not everyone is an expert in every aspect of business or African survival. However, most people are an expert in their own field.
    Your team leader should have known your strengths and utilize them when called upon and avoid your weakness. Would you phone a plumber to fix your car engine or phone your accountant for an auto insurance question? I hope the answer would be of course not! See we make these choice everyday and your team leader should had made the right judgement call!

    Change your prospective and change your life! Don't look at it as a failure! Learn from this situation, be vocal, be a team player and stand up and say "Hey MAN, I bite at math, but can speak 7 languages, you handle the math questions and I''l handle the lango questions."
    Then a wise person would improve their weakness...

    So were you the weakest link?
    No, just an improper link!

    Your U.S.A. Fan



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