Christmas lights and credit

I worked for an organisation a long time ago that paid the last few thousand pounds needed to meet a city’s fundraising target for lights. We weren’t the biggest donor by a long way but the local press gave us the headline of ‘X steps in to save Christmas’. It’s very easy to value that final step over all of the ones before – when in fact other people may have started the hard work or indeed contributed more.

It’s a very human thing to do. If a football team wins 2-1 the credit goes to the scorer of the last goal – the winner – when we know that if the first goal wasn’t scored nobody would be in a position to score the winner. We weigh the last leg differently.

I went through a period a few years ago of being stalked/contacted by headhunters trying to get me to work for a particular FS firm. My feedback to them was always the same…

That organisation will eat up HR professionals who all do a good job but can’t get it done. It’s just too big. Then one day someone will finally finish the job and get the credit – whilst everyone is forgotten. There will be one person who finishes the job – and the sweat and effort of other people will be ignored. I don’t fancy that.

The next time that you are making a change – or running a project – make sure that you aren’t just putting the final lights on the tree and flipping the switch without recognising how we got there. If you are recognising a team effort then really recognise the team – past and present.

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