By Noah Nuer, Chairman, LaL
A CEO who was attending the first seminar in our 4-Mastery program shared with me his quandary: Over the course of his career, he had worked with many outstanding individual contributors, but he wasn’t sure he was ever part of a real team. In other words, his teams had always been weaker than the sum of their parts, and being a businessman, he lamented the ROI on those high salaries. But since he was launching a new organization, he felt this was a chance to create something different from the ground up.
“Where do you think I’ve gone wrong?” he asked me. “Well,” I responded, “What is most valued in your environment?” Being the absolute best at one’s job, better than anyone else, in fact, he proudly explained. So I got even more curious: “Do you think people on your team are usually jockeying for your attention and recognition? Could their main goal be to become absolutely better than every other team member – to be the star?” From his silent smirk, I could swear he wanted to answer: “Of course, don’t we all want to be the star?” But I could also sense he had to ponder that.
As we got further into the Personal Mastery seminar, he came back to me and said, “One of my problems is that my team members all have had huge egos and therefore can’t work as a team, but my biggest problem is that I have an even bigger ego. I guess I am responsible for this environment of internal competition.”
He was on to something important. How can a group of people support and complement each other when each member is a “threat” to the others and when shining above the rest of the team members takes priority over a collective goal?