Image source: www.flickr.com
Are superheroes only for children? As a comic-book enthusiast, I refuse to believe that Super Hero stories are only for children. There are valuable lessons to be learnt from these stories for adults and children alike. Over the next couple of articles, I will highlight important lessons we can learn from my favorite superhero – Batman. I will also highlight how to resolve day-to-day business and personal challenges using these lessons. This is my Batman Trilogy!
Lesson 1 – Super Heroes also need help
Batman is the world’s greatest detective. His strengths are his intelligence, mastery in 127 martial arts and of course, unlimited “resources”. He is driven by a powerful emotion to save Gotham and uses his skills to save the city. However, he is not always successful. Our Dark Knight has flaws and has sometimes failed miserably leading to severe harm (even death) for his loved ones. If only, he had reached out for help when things got out of control. If only, he had not tried to save Gotham all by himself. But Superheroes being Superheroes, don’t ask for help. Most of us, including me, believe we are invincible Superhero’s and therefore, try to solve our problems completely on our own. Some reasons behind the same:
- As children, we are encouraged to be independent and self sufficient
- We fear that asking for help will be considered a sign of weakness
- We believe that completing the challenge independently will entitle us to Super Hero glory
Acting like Super Hero in real life spells “Doom”
While Batman could still save Gotham at the end of the day, such thought process when applied to real life can only spell “Doom”. This is because:
- While acting like a Super Hero, we place our “image” in the society at higher importance than the need to solve the challenge on the ground
- We forget that Batman was gifted with certain amount of supersonic materialistic powers, which we frankly don’t possess
- Once we assume the position of a Super Hero, we alienate the rest of the team completely from the problem-solving process
My Super Hero Story
Personally, during my initial days of consulting, I, myself, went through immense struggle to reach out for help. Once, I had trouble convincing and bringing on board, one of the key stakeholders and his team regarding the importance of the initiative we were driving at his organization. The team was consumed within their existing priorities and hence had no time to invest in the new initiative. I was new to stakeholder management but I decided not to reach out to my Manager or my teammates for help. I could not let them think that I was incompetent. I wanted to prove to myself that I could achieve anything! I believed I could be a Super Hero.
After a week of relentless cajoling, I still did not see any light at the end of the tunnel. I finally decided to discuss the case with my manager and seek help. We came up with a solution to implement the same initiative in another team and show quick wins to the organization. By creating peer-pressure and showcasing outcomes, the unconvinced stakeholder, himself, reached out to me requesting me to implement the strategy in his team immediately! How was I able to overcome this challenge? The answer is simple! I reached out for help! I realized I don’t need to be a Super Hero all the time. I could sometimes turn on my Bat Signal and call out for help.
Looking back, I realize that at every stage of my life, I’ve had my own Superman and Wonder Woman to help me out in the difficult situations. Do you have yours? A support system to rely on, when the times are tough?
Lesson 2 – We don’t need Batman for every problem! Some problems may be better solved by Superman.
One individual might not be able help you with all problems you face. You, therefore, need to identify people with varied experiences, distinct perspectives and an array of strengths which are different from your own. Once you have formed this team, you are prepared to handle most of life’s problems. Batman, as well, eventually realized his personal short-comings and decided to reach out for help. It was with this understanding that he formed the Justice League. Having Alfred and Robin, his close confidantes in the Justice League wasn’t enough. He had to look beyond, trust other individuals and form a team of super heroes to save the world.
In real life too, we need to have people whom we can reach out for help based on the nature of the challenge. They are our informal network who will support us in testing times. Not just with technical solutions but with advice, material assistance, and most importantly emotional support.
As an organization, we have always believed in building both generalists and specialists as part of the team. In a scenario, few years ago, we had to solve a domain specific, scientific problem for our customer. Give the scenario, we could not rely on our in house specialists to solve the problem. Our focus has always been on delivering outcomes for our customers with the right intent. Hence, whenever required, we always reach out to our partner network to bring in the right experts with the required scientific domain knowledge. We did so in this case too.
Even in personal life, I’ve always had my parents as my moral support whom I can reach out to for advice about life and career. They could coach me all through my childhood whenever I needed help with my mathematics or science homework. However, as I progressed in my career I had to reach out to specific people with the appropriate technical knowledge to guide me. I had my own league of friends, siblings and now team mates at work.
Don’t let ego and fear of rejection stop you from creating your powerful team. Believe that there are superheroes with abilities and commitment to solve your problems, but they might not have telepathic abilities to understand that you are in trouble. Whenever you need them, all you need to do is, ask for help!
While you seek out your Super Hero, also believe that someone else might be seeking you out as their Super Hero.
Teaser for the next article:
Image source: scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net