Zero tweets

The digital era is cool. It’s seductive and extremely convenient. It can make life easier, faster, and even more visible.

Except when it doesn’t.

Some things can actually become invisible. The lives of some people.

In our world of work, there is a very large group who are invisible to the digital gaze. Even in our own projects or enterprises, people who are doing some of the most important work might never show up at the top of a Google search after we enter their name and tap the return key.

The great majority of the people working on projects, often times very large projects, are busy with the work that must be done in order for the project to function. The general public rarely, if ever, sees their names in large illuminated lights. 

And, for the most part, that’s OK. People work on teams fully aware that they are not the stars, or even the leading cast, and that other faces and names will appear when a certain project, idea or product is discussed or showcased. That’s how things are.

I imagine everyone reading this has been in this position at least once in their work life.

Therefore, strategically speaking, from time to time it is very important to identify and recognize the people that make up that ‘invisible’ part of the working world that encircles us.

You know who I mean … people that organize the logistics of a conference, people that tease apart and clarify complex accounting problems, people that sit with a patient for hours, people that write copy or discourse or schoolbooks, people that diligently translate the texts that flow through our lives, people that spend days in a laboratory curved over a microscope, people that have endless interactions to sell a new product, people that design the material for a national campaign, people that sit everyday in a hot factory in front of one machine, people that clean everything spotless before and after the board members show up.

You know, the people who are the researchers, teachers, trainers, cooks, organizers, problem solvers, programmers, volunteers, technicians, the crew and the secretaries.

The list, obviously, goes on.

Without these people, our projects, no matter how large or how small, simply would never get off the ground. And they would surely never taste the sweetness of success.

And we know that. For example, let’s imagine that someone comes up to you right now and gives you 15 minutes to mentally assemble a group of people to form the perfect team for a particular enterprise. The only criterion is that you have to know them. After you select a few creative geniuses to lead the project, I imagine that you will scour your memory thinking of all the people you have worked with, going back as far as you can, and choose those people that showed you that they really know how to work. I bet you will choose those people that got the job done, people that made their skills shine because they valued their contribution and the results of their work.

Those are the people we want on our team.

They might not come up first in a Google search. They might have zero tweets. But they are the heart of any project. If we remind ourselves of this from time to time, it will help to keep our scope of vision open, inclusive, and to maintain a sense of balance in the era of the digital identity.

As a matter of fact, today, it might be nice to say to somebody in your circle who works hard, behind the scenes, “I see you, and I really appreciate what you do”.

And if it’s been too long since someone said that to you, how about saying it to yourself as well —right now, out loud. Go ahead, nobody’s watching.

“I see you, and I really appreciate what you do”.

It’s a very simple age-old practice called recognition ­­—bringing the invisible into the light. And it’s a human strategy for you and your projects that’s worth its weight in gold.

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