The Power of More Than One

240px-Burns_allen_1952We were watching an old movie the other night and my mind triggered to all those we’ve come to know as dynamic duos – and what their lives may have been like had they not had each other. Whether pure fiction or fictionalized versions of themselves, together, they sparked pure genius.


Can you imagine Holmes without Watson? The Lone Ranger without Tonto?  Superman without Lois Lane? Abbott without Costello?  Laurel without Hardy?  What about George and Gracie, or Lucy and Desi?  Then of course, there are the teams: The Marx Brothers for example, and the Three Stooges. I’m sure you can think of more. I can too.


Alone, the ‘human duos’ I mentioned were just okay. They made a living and got some good reviews. But together, they were able to generate the adoration of millions of fans, with their ability to play off each other’s strengths.  It took more than the power of each individually to achieve fame.


Here in the business world, we can leverage that too and maximize our impact within our communities. In our world though, we call it asset management.  After all, no one goes it alone. It takes the power of more than one to create a brighter spark.


Asset management opens allows us to examine what works and what doesn’t work. It maximizes what’s good to achieve what’s better. Ultimately, it helps us shift our perspectives, examine our strengths and weaknesses in a different light and enables us to develop our full potential


George Burns used to tell the story of when he and Gracie first teamed up in vaudeville. Gracie played the straight man, and although they did okay, George noticed that Gracie was the one who got the most laughs – even though he was the one who delivered the punch lines. So they switched roles, changed the dynamic and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.


The truth is, whether we’re solopreneurs or full scale businesses, it takes more than the power of one to make things happen. Success isn’t bestowed on us automagically, nor does it occur in a vacuum. While you may take center stage, you’re there not because of your ability alone, but because of the teams you’ve built to enhance and grow your capacities, and to help bring your message to your customers.


We often get so busy, we forget there’s a Tonto out there ready to play scout or a Lois Lane volunteering support.   Tap into the resources you have at your disposal.  Lighten your load and expand your perspective.


If you work solo or don’t have anyone you trust enough to share with, consider a coach or a mentor whose opinions you trust.


Many business owners who do have staffs to manage often hesitate to ask for help – or even opinions – because they fear it will make them appear vulnerable. The reverse is actually true.  It’s a sign of confidence and strength and can actually enhance what others think about us.


Don’t believe me?  Start small.  Here are 8 simple tips to test the waters right in your own office:


  1. Be where the people are. Leave your tower, get down there, roll up your sleeves and participate.  Get to know first-hand what your staff knows – and what your customers feel, see and do.  You may learn something new.
  2. Share what you know and what you believe. It makes people feel connected to your goals and want to participate.
  3. Realize you don’t need to have all the answers.  Maybe you just need to ask better questions.
  4. Listen more.  Being in charge doesn’t mean you get to talk more.
  5. Stop telling people what to do. Welcome other opinions.
  6. How does your staff think you’re doing? What do they think needs to be done to improve?  What about your customers?  What would they like to see?
  7. Be flexible – be open. Don’t be defensive. When you change direction – or your mind – explain why.
  8. Never let people feel you take them for granted. Express gratitude often.


You may just find that your best support network is right under your nose.  You just need to learn how to use it.


Now say goodnight, Gracie.



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