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“without love it ain’t much”

April 22, 2016

loveI’m conflicted this morning. I don’t want to newsjack the death of an icon, but I can’t not write about him, so I’ll pay my respects without writing the name of the artist formerly known as. He wrote the song lyrics in today’s post title for his friend, Sheila E, along with songs that helped make the careers of other artists and bands. Perhaps even greater than his individual contribution to music was his collaboration with others. He shared his incredible talents to help others with theirs.

Collaboration can be a selfless act, especially when you’re the one oozing talent. Not collaborating stifles progress.

Yesterday I attended our quarterly operational review, which was for the most part a parade of superlatives and charts looking like a hit single or the arc of a great career. It was a packed room and I had to slip out for another meeting so I sat off to the side near a door. In front of me were our sales vp’s. After each of them shared their team’s results and shone the purple light on their team members, they walked back to their seats with applause. As they walked by me I saw fists extended by their peers. “Nice job” I heard every time. Make no mistake, these guys are competitors. They’re in sales. They want to be on top, but they are part of a bigger team, and they are collaborators. They share their talents and allow their people to share theirs on special projects for the greater good. They, and most of the others in that room love what they do.

Around 1:00 the sad news reverberated like a weeping guitar. During a break, some of us gathered together to express shock and tell our stories if we were lucky enough to see the artist live. It was one of those “I remember where I was” moments.

These meetings usually begin or end with Aron thanking all of us and asking us to “hug our families” to thank them for our work. That personal connection permeates through most of our organization and is the biggest reason why we’re often honored as a best place to work. That connection to each other produces the hits singles that accumulate into a near 40 year career arc of success. For all the impressive charts and amazing numbers… “without love it ain’t much.”

RIP

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