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Why I’d Want Usain Bolt on My Team

Why I’d Want Usain Bolt on My Team

by Frank Roche on August 19, 2008

in Teamwork


Photo credit: Huffington Post

I’m a flip-flopper. I wrote an article yesterday titled I’d Like to Thump Chest Thumpers. I changed my mind thanks to BullsEye Resume author Marcia Robinson’s comment on the article.

I said I didn’t like Usain Bolt because he thumped his chest before he crossed the finish line in the Olympics 100-meter dash. I thought that was showing off. Marcia, who’s Jamaican, puts it in a cultural context:

In general, I agree that braggers are annoying. However, there are times when your feat is so great and so outstanding that you deserve the right to pat yourself on the back. How many of us have celebrated the same way in private when we landed a big account, solved a major problem at work or outperformed the competition? I know I have.

As someone with Jamaican roots myself, I encourage you to read my career blog where I explain why what others see as showing off, is really a way of giving one’s self a personal high five.

We cannot look at Bolt’s behavior in isolation of the culture from which he hails and the circumstances surrounding his win. I can guarantee that people in that tiny Caribbean country were bursting with pride, even as they waited for another tropical storm, Kaye, to beat them up again. (;>

There’s more in that comment, and I’d encourage you to read it. And please read Marcia’s article, Usain Bolt’s Chest Thump Heard Around the World, to get even more perspective.

I believe in the concept of “strong ideas loosely held.” That’s an essential skill in HR. And when I hear a better idea, I try to adjust my thinking. Thanks to Marcia, that was quite a 24 hours.

Congrats, Usain Bolt!

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