You’d normally associate “bold, fearless, ambitious” with astronauts, leaders, record breakers. However, the US Vice President, in her speech on Inauguration Day, chose these striking adjectives to motivate everyone.

I know, I know… she was referring to all American Citizens but, judging by the way the words struck me, they resonated far beyond: I heard them as a rallying cry for the power of collaboration, a concept often obfuscated by the over-celebration of individual success.

The star of the show would be a nobody if there was no show; obvious as this may seem, it is not uncommon for people, at work, to feel like “cogs in a machine”;

spreading recognition and acknowledging everyone’s potential is a powerful motivator because it is an act of Truth

And I am not talking about the kind of “thanksgiving” we have become used to hearing at award ceremonies; rather, about an attitude conveyed and practiced every day, an invisible energy that makes a group of people achieve more than they would as a collection of individuals.

This is relevant in any context, including Tech. New systems can be seen as magical boxes which – once in place – will banish all the problems; yet, many projects spectacularly fail because of poor communication, teamwork, motivation rather than inherent issues with the technology – and vice versa. In other words, systems may enable collaboration (and more), but only a collaborative attitude will make them work.

Success requires boldness, fearlessness, ambition (and a bit of luck): when these qualities are fostered, valued and acknowledged bottom-up, the benefits are exponential.

The LiveDataset perspective

The Bold, fearless, ambitious speech, for me, meant all the more because, on Jan 20, we were about to “go live” with the implementation of a global planning solution.

Implementing a system is not quite like being a fighter pilot, but it certainly delivers its own high-adrenaline moments.

Good design, good procedures, good testing are a necessary foundation, but only a focused, competent, confident team will carry you through the unique surprises that will spring up in the last phase.

At one point, after a show-stopping issue had been identified, the Project Manager cracked a joke as he told me not to worry, that he’d take care of it. I messaged him back:

“Thank goodness I don’t tend to get phased with people I trust”

After writing this, I could not help feeling a sense of elation, gratefulness and excitement to be working alongside someone so brave and attuned to the needs of the situation.

That thought quickly triggered a cascade of similar ones, related to other co-workers: whenever my mind focused on one of the exceptional people I interact with every day, a flame ignited inside, as I could associate them with similar experiences.

The mental journey did not stop within the virtual walls of my own company: our client’s working group and its leadership were equally present. I could picture events that had happened earlier, during the testing and review cycle, where the yes, we can! attitude prevailed over aversion to change.

I could go on… but it’s probably more useful to reflect on what conditions may help to create this kind of virtuous circle of attitudes, and I think the keyword is “Trust”.

Trust is earned over time through hard work, experience, a willingness to listen and learn, and it’s what I see when I think of most of the people I have had the pleasure to work with over the years, counting my blessings.

Only with generous helpings of Trust can one be truly bold, fearless, ambitious.

This piece is part of our Data Collaboration Clinics series.