I bought a new computer and was so excited when it arrived yesterday. When I took it out of the box, it struck me that the hardware itself is nothing without the software to run it.

The impact of components beyond the hardware even more apparent when I had my first conference call on my shiny new machine. Even though the most up-to-date software was installed on a brand-new computer at the particular moment of my call, the internet connection was unstable. Thus, my picture only transmitted as a static shot, not video, and my voice kept cutting out for them. Grr!!!

Think about the equivalent of the hardware/software/connection in your organization. You need doctors, nurses and administrators to run a hospital. You need faculty, professional staff and support staff to run a college. You need management, front-line workers and facilities staff to operate a plant. The spotlight may be on the doctors/faculty/managers, but none of it works without the other components working well.

We often forget about the support in the background and focus instead on only one aspect of the operation, but it is actually the integration of elements that creates the power.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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