Archives For Individual Contributor

da Vinci – Greatest Individual Contributor of All Time

July 20, 2009

Last Friday’s post discussed the difference between Individual Contributor and Leader. I wanted to re-iterate that there is nothing wrong with being an individual contributor by writing a post about an individual who has greatly influenced how I live my life: Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo Da Vinci was the most productive human being who ever lived. Leonardo Da Vinci was a man whom history could not label as an Artist, nor Engineer, Architect nor Scientist, Anatomist nor Inventor. In fact he was all of these things and more. History in its attempts to categorize people and events so we can quickly reference them in books and study them in context of our lives falls short with Da Vinci. History’s only recourse is to allow his life to create its own category, one that has yet to be re-used by another in antiquity. Da Vinci embodies the Renaissance Man because he did not allow the definition himself to be boxed into how he earned a living.

He contributed to the fields of anatomy, geometry, hydraulics, flight, architecture, botany, geology and physics. His notebooks contain the concept for automation.

Like da Vinci, we all should be committed to a life of learning and growing.  I strive to not just be an engineer or a teacher, project manager or church leader.   I want to continue to grow and become a successful author, community leader and entrepreneur.

I recommend Michael Gelb’s book, “How to think like Leonardo da Vinci” to learn more about how this genius lived and thought. Make a commitment to be a leader who lives a productive life.

Individual Contributor or Leader?

July 17, 2009

Often a great individual contributor deceives herself into believing they are a wonderful leader. An individual contributor is someone who is great at doing tasks, or doing a particular . We have all heard disgruntled co-workers say “nobody can do the job better than I,” or “I should have gotten the promotion, they can’t even do what I do” or (I really hate this one) “If I quit, nobody will be able to take my place” Oh puhleeze! No matter what I think I bring to the table I never lose sight of this: I can be replaced.   The job will get done, maybe not as well as I can do it or maybe better than I can do it.confused woman

There is nothing wrong with being an individual contributor. Some of my life’s heroes are such. Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein are two of the greatest contributors of all time. They had a certain amount of influence. But they never lead people. Now don’t misunderstand, an individual contributor can learn to lead people!

Being a leader involves working through other people. Being a leader is time consuming and risky. Time consuming because you know you can get it done faster if you do it yourself. But then you aren’t leading.  Leading involves allowing others to stumble, learn and possibly missing a deadline with your superiors (and not throwing that person under the bus).

The point:

If you are the best at making widgets, don’t assume you can lead others who make the widget.

Which one are you? An Individual Contributor or Leader?