Masked, dressed in grey (that is until color TV came along), and riding a white stallion, the Lone Ranger was feared by all evil-doers. He was the only man that could save the day. If you were on his side you had nothing to fear. If you were not on his side, you were either dead or imprisoned. Regrettably, his time on TV came to an end but his memory lives on.
In today’s business world, “Lone Rangers” abound (and they are still dressed in grey–business suits). At times they are praised as talented independents, determined, and the kind of people who get things done. If you are on their side, you love them. You turn a blind eye to the wake of bodies and the dysfunctional relationships they leave behind. If you are not on their side, you may be in their sights.
A Lone Ranger may start out in an organization as “the golden child”, but after 2-4 years the gold has started to wear off and lead is showing through. The self reliant attitude starts to compromise organizational cohesiveness. There is no inter-departmental teamwork–you’re either on the Lone Ranger’s team or you’re not. And don’t even think about communicating with them. They prefer to keep to their agenda and will give information only if it suits their need.
Can the Lone Ranger Survive?
Today’s business landscape is changing and evolving at the same time. The pace of doing business means thinking globally–that is organizationally as well as internationally. A Lone Ranger cannot be off doing his/her own thing without consideration of the rest of the company. There are immediate and long-term consequences that are devastating. And here’s where a concept foreign to the Lone Ranger comes into play: Teamwork.
Pat Lencioni said it best:
“Teamwork remains the one sustainable competitive advantage that has been largely untapped.”
From Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of A Team
This means no one person is as good as all of us working together. This principle, though known, often goes unapplied. Teams bring differing perspectives, talents, and skills. Teams breed trust and synergy. Teams share work and accountability. Teams get things done thinking globally. While, Lone Rangers would rather be off on their own, doing their own thing, their own way, and with their own people. This mindset cannot survive.
On December 28, 1999, Clayton Moore, the man who played the Lone Ranger on television died and an era came to a close (rest in peace, Clayton). So too is the fate of today’s business “Lone Ranger”. They are a dying breed and rightly so.