It was October 1987, and I had accepted the job as President of Hasselblad USA just a few months earlier. I was asked to do an interview with PTN, then one of the two leading trade magazines in photography. The premise of the interview was for me to share my thoughts about Hasselblad and where the company was going in the future.
Well, my ego could not have been bigger or more out of control. I talked about every idea we had in new promotions, products, and educational events. I couldn’t have laid it on thicker or made it sound like every new idea was mine. When the article came out, I immediately sent a copy to my folks. There it was, my headshot and paragraph after paragraph of business wisdom from the new “sheriff in town.”
Then I read what I said and with each sentence became more embarrassed. First, I had shared our entire business plan with our competitors. All they had to do was lay out a calendar with everything I talked about and match their promotional timing with ours.
Second, and even more, embarrassing was my ego and the arrogance I heard in every word! I couldn't have been more full of myself! While I had always thought of myself as a team player, I had never been captain of the team.
It was a hard lesson to learn, but that team at Hasselblad became one of the most amazing groups of people I've ever worked with. Together we established some incredible benchmarks in sales, education and dealer support...and always as a team!
So, here’s the bottom line in today’s post – there’s very little you’ll ever do in life as a sole contributor. No matter what your definition of success might be, it’s going to take a team of people to help you get there. Learn to recognize the effort of everybody involved and share the spotlight when it’s appropriate.
Oh, and one more point – when somebody asks you how things are going just say "Great!" Whether good or bad, nobody needs to hear all the details. You don’t need to share everything! It’s okay to be conservative.