// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Colleague Who Spikes the Ball

In my humble design career, I’ve served in rather obscure firms that were void of fanfare. In these jobs I’ve had the privilege of working and serving with some supremely talented individuals. Generally speaking these are normal people who set out to do great work without the need to seek attention or notoriety for doing so, and in retrospect have been mentors to me.

One such person is a current colleague and friend, Dan. Dan shared with me today an incredible insight regarding experiences he's had working with people who seek attention and those who do not. He shared with me how Hall of Fame NFL football player Walter "Sweetness" Payton, after scoring a touchdown, would hand off the ball to a lineman so they could spike it in the end zone—a place he found himself quite often. I had never really thought about that simple act, but Dan explained why Walter did that.

Dan said that in part, Walter Payton never wanted people to get the impression it was his FIRST touchdown.
He fully expected to score a touchdown each and every time he touched the ball. In fact, that was his job—a job he did better than anyone who ever played the game, so he never felt the need for attention in this fashion. Secondly, he enjoyed sharing the celebration with those who helped him get there.

I'm sure you’ve all experienced working with a colleague who finds the need to spike the ball. You can spot these people from a mile away, though these people don't often realize it for themselves. But in Dan I am honored to be working with someone who selflessly hands the ball to others, so they can share in the team's successes.

I thank Dan for being a mentor. To me and to others. He does so by what he does, rather than what he says (or doesn't say). His actions speak louder than any spike ever could. And for that, and specifically for our in-house design team, I salute him.

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Blogger Amy_Kathleen said...

Thanks Barry, that is great food for thought. It's also great to recognize those people who come alongside us to push us and the common goal forward.

3:53 PM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

Thanks for the comment Kathleen. What impresses me is just who has helped push that ball forward when in retrospect you might never have known. Others do it for the credit. Guess that's my main point. Though I will say it's not real common anymore to actually get credit for anything. So perhaps some feel the need to ring their own bell. Oh well, who am I to judge. Just a thought.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Liz Ness said...

This is a great story! Also, it is an awesome tribute to a friend and mentor. Thanks for sharing, Barry!

10:02 PM  

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