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September 15, 2010 / W. Stanton Smith

Team Harmony Over Emphasized

Gilbert & Sullivan…no, not Gilbert O’Sullivan of Alone Again (Naturally)…were a lyricist and composer team who lived in the late 19th Century. They collaborated to write operettas, what we would call musicals, which were wildly popular throughout the English-speaking world.

That’s nice you say. Why should you care?

Because you can learn something from them. For one thing the shows are fun and you can learn a lot about how to use the English language effectively. And for another their success demonstrates that a team can be highly creative even when the principals’ personality types clash and collaboration is a challenge.

Why were they successful as a team?

They were professionals who realized that each had something the other needed and saw results where clearly the whole was far greater than the sum of the parts. So team chemistry is important but so are results which can arise out of well-managed team dynamics.

Each of us owes a debt to these two men who died over 100 years ago. Why?

They created the template for the Broadway musical and fought for the rights of artists of all kinds to have the protection of copyrights. And they didn’t particularly like each other. More to come…

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