Who Scores the Points?

Lance Ideas, Leadership, People Leave a Comment

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Teamwork … collaboration … synergy … nearly every organization these days talks regularly about the necessity (not just the virtue) of working together to seize opportunities, fix problems, and accomplish the organization’s larger mission. But when open positions need to be filled, or budget resources grow short, everyone knows that all positions — and therefore the people that fill them — are not created equal. The all-too-common paradigm of “revenue generating” vs “non-revenue generating” roles attempts to provide leaders with a logical tool for making prioritization decisions in a world of finite resources. But, as with most tools (whether theoretical or physical), the value of this way of thinking depends upon it being deployed in the proper circumstances, and for the proper reason. Because this way of thinking is not a virtue unto itself, the context of its use matters: overuse, misuse, or mindless use will harm, not help, your organization.

In other words, Leaders need to really understand the nature of the game they are playing. They can’t be satisfied with merely noting the name on the jersey of the player who carried the ball over the goal line or who put the ball in the net. For example:

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Regardless of who ultimately receives the quarterback’s pass and makes it into the endzone, all 11 offensive players are critical components to the play’s success or failure. By nature of the game being played, how well the unsung, Anonymous Left Guard does his job can determine the success or failure of the whole operation as much as that of the Superstar Quarterback and the High-Priced Wide Receiver.

On the other hand …

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… there are games which, by their nature, don’t require the same level of integrated teamwork. In these arenas, teams can score by having one “point generating” player do his thing while the other players’ job is simply to occupy space and the attention of their corresponding defenders. For these players, they are successful in their role so long as they keep opposing defenders out of the way of the isolated Superstar Scorer with the ball. Sure, the team gets credit for all the points scored regardless of who scores them, but there is a definite difference between the players most responsible for scoring and the rest whose primary job is to fill a support function for those scoring players.

Which game is your team playing? Answering this question correctly is of critical importance, and requires more insight and understanding than the data-filled box score alone can provide.