Earlier this year, I had the once in a lifetime experience of attending the Academy Awards. It was not something I’d ever aspired to do, but as a girl who loves a beautiful gown, I accepted the invitation and had a wonderful time.
One of the top award winning movies, with five Oscars, was Hugo. I had never heard of it, but the cinematography looked amazing in the presentation video and I decided that I would go see it on the big screen, just as soon as possible.
The movie is a beautiful story of a young boy, who loses both parents at a young age, and ends up living with a drunken uncle in the clock tower of the Paris train station.
The child, Hugo, is fascinated with the complexity and mystery of the clockworks and each day does his job of keeping the clock in perfect condition. But late at night in the lonely hours, Hugo would go to the glass window of the clock and peer out over the sparkling lights of the city below. It was on one of these nights, as he peered out over the city, he said.
“Right after my father died, I would come up here a lot. I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.”
The moment I heard those words I wanted to remember them forever. So much of what I believe to be true is captured in this poetic collection of words.
Every person is one of a kind, uniquely designed, and specially made for a purpose. Have you noticed this in the workplace? One person has a gift for positive thinking and brings energy and enthusiasm to the team. One person is a serious, detail-focused individual who wants to keep track of numbers and dates in a chart. One person brings creativity to the table, to find a new way of doing things. One person brings a desire to care for the team, and help support them in every situation.
Every person on the team has a strength, a passion, a gift to the workplace and our job as leaders is to match that with the ideal role and responsibility. When we do that, the person feels valuable and the team gets their best work. No machine has any extra parts.
Every person is here for a reason. Look at your work team today. Find a unique talent in each individual. Ask yourself:
“How can I put that person’s talent to work in a role or a way that would make the team better?”
Tell that person that you appreciate their talent and that you noticed a specific example of how they add value.Ask yourself if each of your team members has been assigned to the role that best uses their talent.
If you question a person’s current performance, what re-alignment could you make that would tap into their talent and serve the business well? If a person does not have the right talent for the positions you have available, how could you positively coach them towards finding a position that is a better fit with their design?
Leaders are responsible for taking the time to talk to your people and discover the talents of each team member, then placing them in the best place to add value. Team members are responsible for exploring their strengths and sharing them with their supervisors and volunteering to help where they are best suited.