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Dogs in Superhero Costumes

We are a start-up. There are six people in our office:

  1. A computer guy who is like a child the day before Christmas when they come out with a new blah blah blah Java +++ bionic upgrade patch thingy, that integrates the C-Dev 1 parameters and the OS encrypted data onto the Java ++++ (because it’s now been upgraded) platform. The conversation generally ends with him saying, ‘’Cool, huh’’.
  2. A marketing girl who once tried to explain to me how to improve my ‘’Personal Brand’’. I walked away from the conversation thinking, ‘’Wow, I’m a defective human being in so many ways’’.
  3. A legal eagle who actually manages to explain legaleeeze in a way a 10-year-old child can understand. Generally, the conversation ends with me saying, ‘‘So we’re OK then?‘‘.
  4. A lazy, 12-year-old Golden Retriever who resembles a dog version of Sleeping Beauty, except where food is involved when he moves quicker than Usain Bolt.
  5. A permanently happy Bernese Mountain Dog who believes that watching the computer guy work is fascinating.

And me. And I need a sense of humour. Big time.

Without a sense of humour you might as well be dead. Seriously.

Let’s face it. Life is pretty stressful. You worry about exams at school, graduating from university, getting your first job, marrying the right person, being a good parent, being made redundant, looking for a new job, raising your kids the right way, worrying about your divorce, having too many wrinkles, having enough money for retirement. You need a sense of humour all the way.

When I asked my friend one day, ‘‘How’s the divorce going?‘‘ He replied, ‘‘Badly. But at least I’ve got more closet space‘‘.

So where does your sense of humour come from? Some people believe it comes from experience, for example from your childhood, some believe it is learned while some believe it is inherited. Does it really matter? I believe that everybody has a sense of humour – somewhere.

Now let’s go back to my office. There is a reason that we are a great team, dogs included. Each of us brings something to the business – a different skill set, another way at looking at a problem, a calming influence on the office (see 4 above), their own way of cheering you up when you are down (see 5 above), thinking of a new ‘‘in‘‘ to a market.  We all appreciate the qualities that each bring to the table.

On a regular basis, our marketing guru asks us to come up with ideas for raising our brand awareness.  Ha, ha, ha.  Seriously.  These conversations usually don’t end well.  I’m looking at the two dogs.  This was my idea.  FullStripe sounds kinda superherosish and to me, has the idea of being able to move at the speed of light (which we do).  Now, I’m thinking ”go faster” stripes… on a Golden Retriever and a Bernese Mountain Dog.  Good so far.  Now, I need a name for the superhero duo – Goldie and Bernie.  Add superhero costumes in FullStripe colours with that cool S in the logo.  Nearly there.  Add streamlined fur.  Et voila.  Package that up in a powerpoint presentation with kick ass images from our designer.  Can’t really understand what takes marketing guys so long to bang out a concept really.

My role on the team – make them laugh.

Where am I going with this?   My piece of wisdom for all business owners, entrepreneurs and even you corporate guys who are building teams:

Don’t just look at the hard skills.

A business is successful because of the sum of its parts… its human parts.   If you have a team of people with divergent personalities who can step in at different moments to keep the team moving you will have a better chance of winning. The person who encourages celebration when you take that small step forward.   The person who is great at providing a different perspective when things seem really dark. The person (or in our case, dog) who senses when you just need quiet time with someone who is not going to speak to you. That is what builds a team, and that is what keeps the sense of humour moving no matter what happens.