As a choreographer, my task is to make the best possible work with the dancers I find in the room on any given day.
Twyla Tharp, The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together
It’s a broken record. Everybody knows it. If you have the wrong people in your organization, on your team, you are in trouble. You will not accomplish your goals. You will not take your organization to the next level. And I’ve read the books; I’ve quoted the findings, the recommendations. They all make sense.
Getting the right talent is everything. “Do you have the right people on the bus?” goes the mantra-like question.
Well, let me put it simply – until you get the perfect person to fill that all-important seat on your bus, that all-important slot on your team, there is a better, more realistic solution, and Twyla Tharp gives us the insight:
my task is to make the best possible work with the dancers I find in the room on any given day.
Twyla Tharp has worked with the very best (Billy Joel and his music; the music of Frank Sinatra; the dancing of Mikhail Baryshnikov, and a plethora of others), but she also has worked with many, many dancers who may not reach such heights in the reputation, or talent, department that these superstars represent. So, what does she do? She still churns out terrific work, because she views her task as this:
to make the best possible work with the dancers I find in the room on any given day.
Consider the lowly, seemingly lesser names of the Dallas Mavericks. OK, Dirk Nowitzki is a “superstar,” but his surrounding cast, the other members of the team? – Coach Rick Carlisle simply made the best possible work with the dancers he found in the room on this given day (in this season). And, lo and behold, they rose to the occasion, and they won it all. And, by the way, those lesser names – JET (Jason Terry), J. J. Barea, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, the practically ancient Jason Kidd, and the entire team– they’re not so lesser anymore!
So, fantasize about that perfect team all you want to (while your team fantasizes about that perfect team leader!). But take a look around you. There are people with talent – great untapped talent – ready to go to work. Work with these people. They are the ones in the room on this given day. Work with them to do the best this group can do on this day.
Yes, it might be hard work to make this happen. “The best possible work” is never easy. But, give it your best shot with the people on your team now.
You might be surprised!