“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
~ Henry Ford
Over the last few weeks we have reflected on the archetypes within you and within your team and organisation that govern all you do. The power of such archetypes is that when you recognise and understand the patterns of behaviour within each, you have the power to choose which one you would like to adopt and when.
This week we conclude our story of the Quest for the Holy Grail, by focussing on the Knights of the Round Table: the warriors that enable the Quest to begin and to proceed and succeed.
In the time of King Arthur, the greatest Knights were identified by their ability to embody honour, service, loyalty, self-sacrifice and an ability to get things done. A true Knight was passionate about the quest he undertook and dedicated his time to achieving it.
King Arthur had about 150 Knights serving under him. They include the well-known Sir Lancelot (who had an affair with Queen Guinevere); Sir Gawain, Sir Kay and Sir Galahad. It was only Sir Percival, however, who was the Knight of the Round Table believed to have reached the great Quest, the mythical Holy Grail, and who in later stories became known as the Keeper of the Grail.
With a great King who offered a clear vision of the Quest and a great Queen who directed the approach, the Knights of the Round Table contributed to creating the greatest Kingdom England had ever seen. What was it that made this possible?
When a team of Knights achieves great things, it is because they are clearly representing 2 things. On the one hand, they hold the attitude of the giver:
- ‘Courage’ to do what it takes
- ‘Willingness’ to take responsibility
- ‘Reason’ to enable initiative and pro-activity
- ‘Passion’ for the outcome, the vision and the goal
On the other hand, the Knights represent that ability to work as a team to achieve a goal. They have 7 habits that enable them to do this:
- Clear sense of direction: They clarify the common goal and ensure everyone understands it
- Reasonable operating procedures: They focus on how they will work together to achieve this vision
- Talented members: They ensure that all members of the team ‘have what it takes’
- Clear and enticing responsibilities: They clarify what each person will do and agree how they will do it
- Constructive internal relationships: They work together to resolve conflict, make decisions and co-operate
- Active reinforcement systems: They ensure that the team is rewarded and recognised for what it achieves
- Constructive external relationships: They create alliances outside the team and ensure these are maintained
So, if you lead a team and area working to achieve a seemingly impossible quest, you need to develop your Knights as King Arthur and Queen Guinevere did:
Firstly, you select and recruit your Knights based on the attitudes they hold and their approach to the world. These will often determine the excellence that results from your team and are very hard to train or coach.
Secondly, you coach your Knights in the skills of team working and encourage them to learn how to work together towards a common goal.
If you are developing your own inner team of Knights to achieve your personal Quest, then your focus is similar: you select the attitudes and approaches you hold internally only if they are self-empowering. And then you cultivate the ability to co-operate and communicate with others to ensure that the world assists you in achieving your goal.
For it is your ability to manage the Knight in you and the Knight in others that will determine if your legacy in the world is as legendary as it was in that ancient court of enduring personas.