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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Wolf Pack

``Now is the Law of the Jungle---as old and true as the sky;
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back---
For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.''
Rudyard Kipling

This is an exert from "The Jungle Book".  The Jungle book was published in 1894 by British Poet Laurette Rudyard Kipling. The Jungle Book represented a strong moral code for society presented by Kipling. It presented Kipling's vision for how society and leaders should act with strong moral codes.

I received a plaque with the "Law of the Jungle" exert, years ago from my previous employer.  It dramatically impacted how I have tried to act as a leader and how I perceive the teams I have had the honor to lead.  I consider this as a "light bulb minute" in my career.  The impact of these few words helped shape my future.  Since that time, I have hung posters of wolves on the walls of my office and always had this exert framed by my desk.  I have proudly named the teams I have been associated with as "The Wolf Pack".

Why the profound impact and reaction to these words?  What meaning did I find in Kipling's words to shape my actions?

"The strength of the pack is the Wolf".  It's synergy.  Synergy is defined in Encarta as "combined effort being greater than the parts". The "Pack" or team is made up of several individuals all contributing toward the goal with unique skills. In a successful team, the combined effort is greater than the sum of the individuals contributions.  The wolf pack is much more than several individuals working alone.  It always amazes me what can be achieved by great team working together.  The strength of the company is the employees.  It's as simple as that.

"The strength of the wolf is the pack".  Companies are made up of several individuals.  Each has unique skills and talents they bring.  Without the support of the team, their individual efforts accomplish little.  A great production team is of little value without a great sales team bringing them orders to produce.  A top notch IT department contributes nothing without an organization needing their services. Individuals can't shine without the support of a great team.  In football, the greatest running backs accomplish little without a great line.  The strength of the employee is never realized without the support of the team.

Embracing this, as a manager, requires that you realize your success is completely dependant on the team.  When you accept that your success is dependant on the team, you realize that these are some of the most important people in your life.  You begin to truly appreciate their efforts and input.  With this realization your roles becomes more defined.  A manager role is to serve the team.  As a leader, your team is your customer.  You serve the team and the team in turn serves the organization.

My strength is the team.  My role is to support, train and provide them the tools they need to do their jobs.  My commitment to them is to create the best working environment I can. If Ebsco becomes the place they want to work, they will make Ebsco successful.  If Ebsco succeeds, we all succeed.

The strength of Ebsco is the employees, The strength Ebsco's employees is the Ebsco team.

Thank You Wolf Pack.

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