Author and speaker Nilofer Merchant says the first step to unlocking talent in the #SocialEra is celebrating something she calls onlyness. Onlyness is that thing that only that one individual can bring to a situation. It includes the journey and passions of each human. Over the past several years, I've talked about teamwork, co-creation, and collaboration in the workplace. But I also talk about personal responsibility, finding inspiration and learning from others - because the "you" part of the teamwork formula really does matter. Being on a team does not mean losing identity.
You're on the team for the skill, passion, and purpose you might combine with those of others to do something great. We don't create teams so that there is a place to hide or to crush individuality. We create them because if we're doing something that really matters, it will be too big to do on our own. Consider Nazir the fish salesman. He was born in Pakistan. He grew up listening to Bollywood music, and would sing religious songs during assembly at school. Nazir immigrated to the United Kingdom for a better life. He settled in East London, began work on a fish stall at Queen's Market, Upton Park where his employer instructed him to use a trader's call to attract customers. He soon composed a song that would become an Internet smash and a viral video after passing customers uploaded his performances to YouTube. Watch it here (about 3 minutes - you're gonna love it) One Pound Fish What do we take from this? And how do we do individuality without blowing up the team? Nazir is a salesman. His job? Sell the fish. Other people drive the boat. Other people catch the fish. Other people count the fish. Other people deliver the fish. Other people, well you get the idea. He's on a team. His boss instructed him to develop a trader's call. The business nerds of the 1990's might call that an "elevator pitch". But in more recent terms, Nazir understood that the value proposition he represented to his employer was his salesmanship. He'd be graded on whether or not he could sell fish. Nazir simply infused the pitch with his own life-experience and his passion for music to make the pitch or call his own. And that's what made it work. What's the part of your personal journey or passion that might bring more energy to your work, improve the likelihood of success and contribute to the team? Don't hide it away. It is, after all, the thing only you can do. And when you figure out how to channel that, you can do anything. Sources: YouTube, Wikipedia and Merchant's site