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No (Wo)Man is an Island

By: Dave Brock


No Man is an Island

John Donne penned a famous poem, No Man Is An Island, as part of his Devotions on Emergent Occasions. Even in 1624, apparently there were problems with silos, self-centeredness, and the behaviors/mentalities that result.

We tend to focus on ourselves, our jobs/goals/responsibilities. Whether we are a customer or whether we are in roles that serve customers, we tend to think of ourselves. Yet none of us exist in isolation. Our work is part of a continuum of work that enables our organizations to grow and achieve the overall objectives.

We depend on others in order to get our jobs done, likewise, others depend on us in order to get their jobs done. Any failure at any point impacts the overall performance of the organization.

Yet too often, we behave as if we existed in isolation.

The product engineering team that misses its deadline by months—impacting the marketing teams preparing to launch, the sales teams who’ve committed to a sales volume, and the company forecasting a revenue impact to shareholders.

The marketing team developing leads and content, but not engaging sales people in understanding the right leads, the right content and how sales leverages it in producing revenue.

Sales people, worried only about their goals, not realizing they are making it more difficult for the rest of the organization to support them.

Managers focusing on themselves and their priorities, forgetting the only way they achieve their goals is through their people. Only when their people succeed, can the manager succeed.

Every function in the organization is critical to the overall performance and growth of the organization. Without each part performing at the highest level, everything fails.

Our customers have the same challenges, yet, we don’t often recognize these. We focus on one individual, perhaps a friend or ally. But that person is not alone in their buying process (at least in complex B2B). Others are always involved, others are always impacted by whatever decision is made.

If we are to succeed, as individuals, we are dependent on others and they depend on us. We have to continue to remind ourselves about this.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

John Donne

Published: April 10, 2018

Source: Partners in Excellence

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Dave Brock

Dave Brock is the founder of Partners in EXCELLENCE, a consulting and services company helping to improve the effectiveness of business professionals with strategy development, organizational planning, and implementation. Dave has spent his career working for and with high performance organizations, ranging from the Fortune 25 to startups, including companies such as IBM, HP, Nokia, AT&T, Microsoft, General Electric, and many, many more. The work Dave does with business strategies is closely tied to personal effectiveness of the people in the organization. As a result, Dave is deeply involved in the development of a number of training and coaching programs.

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