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When opposites make a great team

Notes: I first wrote this article for a Nasscom blog; Picture courtesy tupperware.com

Our bosses have always wanted us to fit in with them and with our colleagues. So it is common belief that people working together should be similar personalities — to enable teamwork that can deliver results. However, cases exist to prove that the contrary is often true.

Take the Tupperware case, for example. Ninety percent of US homes own at least one piece of Tupperware. Nearly 120 million people in 100 countries will attend a Tupperware demo this year. How did this all come to happen?

Earl Tupper invented an “Open Mouth Container and Nonsnap Type of Closure” and Tupperware was born. Tupper also ensured very high standards of production quality.

But, the person who actually moved the products into kitchens in homes was Brownie Wise. She introduced the innovative “patio parties” where she demonstrated and sold to a bunch of women guests. The Tupperware party was a great viral network and continues to be copied all over the world.

What kinds of personalities were Earl Tupper and Brownie Wise? “Wise was the effervescent face of the company, while the tart-tongued Tupper toiled in relative obscurity.” writes Adam L. Penenberg in Viral Loop. “They were polar opposites, but together they made up far more than the sum of their parts."

There are lots of such examples of opposite personalities coming together and creating legendary companies. What are some learnings? "The boss is not always right," you might say! Sure. What else?

Comments

  1. Opposites can clash with personality - yet be complementary as team members. Professionals all realise we must focus on the task and respect all input from the team. It may lead to a synergestic solution not on the linear track.

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