At a recent cocktail party, I was asked, “where are you working?” After answering that, I was asked “what do they do?” I had to think about this for awhile. I know what I do. I know what my department does. But what exactly does my company do? The question made me think of a story from my childhood:
In a distant village a long time ago, lived six blind men. One day the villagers announced,
“Hey, there is an elephant in the village today!”
They had never seen or felt an elephant before and so decided,
“Even though we are not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.”
And thus, they went down to the village to touch and feel the elephant to learn what animal this was and they described it as follows:
“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.
“Oh, no! It is like a rope,” argued the second after touching the tail.
“Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree,” the third man spouted after touching the trunk.
“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man feeling the ear.
“It is like a huge wall,” sounded the fifth man who felt the belly.
“It is like a solid pipe,” said the sixth man with the tusk in his hand.
They fell into heated argument as to who was right in describing the big beast, all sticking to their own perception.
A wise man happened to hear the argument, and asked them,
“What is the matter?”
“We cannot agree to what the elephant is like,” they replied.
The wise man then calmly said,
“Each one of you is correct, and each one of you is wrong because each of you had only touched one part of the elephant’s body. Thus, you only have a partial view of the animal. If you put your partial views together, you will get an idea of what an elephant looks like.”
This story outlines the importance of having a cohesive overall picture of your company and its purpose. This helps you to do your job better. As a result, you represent the company better and, it helps your company be better.
How does another department’s work affect your department? How does the work in your department affect them?
“One team, one dream”.
Cohesion is when people in a group come together as a unit, working toward a common goal. When a team is cohesive, members feel they are part of a distinct entity, rather than a cluster of individuals working separately in a shared office space.
A cohesive environment fosters trust, respect, and encourages positive relationships. By focusing on creating a positive dynamic in the office, your team is more likely to have higher productivity, and achieve better results on collaborative tasks. This makes it easier to deliver relevant feedback, and to generate momentum toward company goals.
The bottom line is that everyone needs to see the bigger picture. This kind of thinking creates context, and enables people to honor the values we seek to live and work by. Typically, people are not motivated by values alone. Instead, people are drawn to outcomes. The more connected and integral you and your staff feel to the business, the less likely you are to subscribe to the "us and them factor." Avoiding this attitude results in being less likely to disregard our values when dealing with others, because we feel more of a connection to others with whom we share the business. – Harris Kern
When you understand the role that each department plays, it makes you more successful. Take the time to learn about the parts of your company. See the whole elephant!
Sheli Comeau, Product Support and Training Specialist
Missing Link Technologies ltd.
Find Sheli's original article here.