"In an ecosystem, nobody succeeds unless everyone succeeds."
I must admit when I first saw this, I thought it was nothing more than a catchy throwaway line. But I just offered it to someone I was interviewing yesterday! So I simple have to rethink the line… And surprisingly, I now see it is a really useful frame for how we look at collaboration and career development.
Let’s take hashtag#careerdevelopment. We tend to look at it somewhat competitively. “I need to focus on doing my job well, preferably better than others.”
Certainly we all know people who have “won” in career development by taking care of individual interest very well. But could they have done more? Could they have elevated more than just themselves, and as a result achieved much more for themselves? I’m convinced the answer is a resounding YES.
In today’s highly connected world, value creation and optimal results is not a zero-sum game, nor does it reward the lone-ranger hero anymore. An ecosystem approach leverages everyone's strengths. When all parties win, you win bigger. This is true whether you’re thinking of suppliers & customers, or if you’re thinking of a team environment.
For career development, adopt the ecosystem mantra and shift your focus from "doing your job" to enabling the team around you to excel at theirs. This transforms how you engage with stakeholders, how you innovate, and even how you view setbacks.
So when you go back to work with your team tomorrow, consider this: Are your successes only yours, or are they sparking a chain reaction of victories across your team & ecosystem?
(The image attached is clearly AI-generated but it’s by far the most decent one I’ve ever managed, so I’m going to use it and try to figure out how to do it again!)