I could not pass up the opportunity to explore the Artistic Leadership of Anne Sweeney, as shared in an article by Forbes magazine today. There is one line in this article that sparked this post. Anne is asked to describe her Leadership Style. After changing the way in which her teams were organized, she is quoted as telling them:
“I want you to wake up every morning feeling that you are stapled to the other person. Understand that one of you is not successful without the other being successful. And when one of you fails, the other fails as well.”
It made me consider the true essence of a staple - to hold things together. Not the way glue fastens things permanently to one another, a staple has its own unique way of twisting itself to keep things organized, so what better tool to use figuratively in our organizations:
A Staple provides Alignment - one of the first things and last things I do before stapling a packet is to hold the sheets together and give them a gentle tap on my desk. Why do I do this? To keep the edges neatly arranged, to keep sheets from poking out and distracting the reader. A staple within a team keeps the members aligned, whether to vision, to cooperation, or to a particular process or task. There are no outliers doing their own thing. There is accountability in being aligned with one another.
A Staple provides Security - A staple holds like it looks: tough and edgy. It holds firmly, but with enough poise that pages can function independently as they are turned, preserving their individuality as a single sheet; by the same movement, the staple functions to maintain the page as a part of a larger document. A sense of security stems from knowing you belong to something greater, your significant role in a greater plan or purpose.
A Staple leaves a Mark - Should a piece of a stapled project need to be removed from its position, the staple can easily be taken out. What happens next is probably my favorite property unique to a staple and it's twofold: the larger project is reassembled fully able to function, in some cases more effectively and the removed piece has the potential to be further developed, tweaked, used as is, or thrown aside. But what is truly remarkable about the fact that it was STAPLED - neither the full project or the removed piece can deny its former existence as a unit. Both will forever retain the evidence of their union. A staple leaves behind two small holes.
True impact whether from a person to a team or team to a person will always be felt. What are you stapled to? Will your holes be battle scars or badges of honor? Will the holes you leave be scorned or admired by the people, things, ideas to which you fasten yourself?