Weekly Read Chapter 6

Photo courtesy of Aliis Sinisalu

Photo courtesy of Aliis Sinisalu

Welcome back everyone. We are halfway through the holiday season and only a handful of weeks remain before we finish out 2018. That’s not a signal to ease up though, and with that let’s get right back into it. To add some flair, I’ll be highlighting a new photo from a different photographer with each Weekly Read. Today we’re dropping in at the beginning of Chapter 6, “Most high-performing departments require assistance from other lesser recognized departments”

"Endure, Mr. Wayne. Take it. They'll hate you for it, but that's the point of the Batman. He can be the outcast, he can make the choice that no one else can make, the right choice."

Alfred Pennyworth or Alfred as he is widely known is the man behind one of our most complex fictional heroes. The Dark Knight, aka Batman. You know the story of how a young Bruce Wayne would become the masked crusader bringing justice to Gotham streets after seeing his parents murdered. For the casual fan what may get lost is the fact that Bruce didn’t grow to become Batman all by himself. He was guided by Alfred’s steady hand. His guardian, caretaker, and confidante. If you remove Alfred from the picture - there's little chance that you get Batman.

While the world of Batman is fictional, you still can see the importance of the people behind the scenes. Alfred is the one who keeps up the facade, he is the one that obfuscates and misdirects when the most curious of Gotham's citizens get too close. Alfred keeps Batman focused on the big picture, his voice is one of the few that Bruce Wayne will seek counsel from – so his importance cannot be overstated. Yet his role in this world is quite understated.

For many of us here in the nonfiction world, that is also the case. Day in and day out, any number of unseen employees are working behind the scenes to ensure the top performers have the tools and information necessary to do their job at the highest level. When your top salesperson travels for a client presentation, how likely is it that his or her sales proposal is the result of a single person’s effort? To be more direct what are the odds that the presentation is the work of the salesperson alone? More often than not, it is the result of several people in multiple departments combining information to meet the client’s specific needs.

Meaning it's a team effort, even if the entire team isn't placed in front of the client. What is frustrating for many of these unseen employees is the fact that most department heads, shift managers, and supervisors don't appear to be concerned about recognizing the entire team's efforts:

* When asked what leaders could do more of to improve engagement, 58% of respondents replied “give recognition”

* 50% of employees believe being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship but also builds trust with their higher-ups

* Companies with recognition programs that are highly effective at improving employee engagement have 31% lower voluntary turnover

And recognition is all that most people want. They want to be acknowledged for their dedication and contributions, it's not necessary for them to become the face of the company. They simply want their work to be recognized with the same level of enthusiasm as the company’s “shining stars”. In this final chapter, we’re going to look at the efforts of some incredibly talented individuals whose “behind the scenes” work propelled a generation of people into stardom and created musical legacies that will continue for decades to come.

Dean McKinney