The human body is an incredible model for everything in the world. Take a look at your insides and the stuff you’re made of. Compare it to stuff around you. Man’s greatest inventions are based on human anatomy! Take the wheel for example; everyone loves to muse and murmur, what would we have done without the wheel? The wheel is nothing compared to the ball bearings in human hips. Computers are far behind the circuitry of the central nervous system, and Ben Franklin’s electricity is nothing next to the human brain.
No doubt, the parallels are humbling and awesome.
Business networks and relationships can also be compared to the body, albeit subjectively. If every business is a body then every person in the company makes up its insides. The business can’t stand without them so let’s consider the people to be the bones. By identifying the functions and integral capacities of these bones, let’s have a look and see how they each support (or stress) the business as a whole.
Humans start with 270 bones at birth and by adulthood they have 206 bones. Over time, bones fuse together. Depending on the industry, business or company you’re examining, the bone count will vary. Small businesses have less bones, larger companies, huge bodies, are made up of more bones. It’s all about proportion. Joseph Giranda, manager of a global shipping company puts it this way, “We’re a big company but our people have small-company attitudes.” This suggests what many of us assume: smaller companies have less people and it’s easier to work with less people. But it also suggests that regardless of company size – it’s possible to work together with the same attitude on a big scale. Let’s have a look at the four types of bones and see how they might fit together…
By identifying the bones of a business (of any size) we can see that people are just people getting lumped into categories as we’ve been doing (to ourselves) from time immemorial. We can call them all bone (heads) that work together to run businesses. And you can recognize yourself as a bone (head) from one of the four main types:
1. The Jawbone
Jawbones are the socialites. Of their primary movements –biting, chomping, clenching and talking… these bone (heads) love talking the most. Jawbones love talking about everything, to anyone- nonstop. If they have a good attitude and a cheery personality, they’re likely the friendliest person in the office or the successful freelancer that talks up the town. If they’re a real drag – one of those whiny victims of every plight of the world – they’re the person everyone wants to avoid getting caught near the water cooler with. Generally, jawbones are engaging. If they know other languages they can fill important international roles within a company. Otherwise, as the office chatterbox, informant, or notorious commiserate when things go wrong, the jawbone can be a poisonous colleague to any team.
If they’re bony — they’re deceptively good listeners but gossipy. Drama follows them everywhere.
If they’re sturdy — they can be the best face forward of a business.
2. The Wishbone
Wishbones are creators. They’re often dreamy, distant and intelligent; quite likely they’re the after-work closet artists. They do everything their right brain tells them to do. If they work beneath someone, they’re usually good at taking orders. When in charge of a project or a team of people, wishbones tend to be regarded as whimsical and grandiose. They are great at coming up with ideas but are infamous for abandoning them or delegating them carelessly. Wishbones always know what they want, at any given time. At the same time, these bone (heads) are susceptible to self-entitlement and may act as if they’re owed something. If they are organized, motivated and encouraged – wishbones are typically the brilliant thinkers behind the biggest business successes.
If they’re bony — they’re fragile and susceptible to being broken in half. Overprotective and indecisive, they safeguard their own opportunities and become unproductive.
If they’re sturdy — they will contribute ingenious ideas, carry them out and drive change and growth in any business.
3. The Knucklebone
Knucklebones are go-getters. They’re hard, sharp, tough, dynamic and influential. These bone (heads) usually have my-way-or-the-highway personality types and never hesitate in tackling problems and taking initiative. If they have a positive temperament, these are the bones that everyone wants on their side for their expertise, advice or support. The trouble is, when met with resistance, knucklebones don’t know how to be diplomatic and compromising. Within any business, their first priority is to get things done. They’re typically honest and will always, sometimes despite themselves, “say it how it is.”
If they’re bony — they’re troublemakers. They might have a bad temper and the tendency to “crack.”
If they’re sturdy — they’re like sharks. They fight to win and they win big.
4. The Backbone
Backbones hold everyone and everything together. They’re not necessarily the leader, president or CEO- but usually, backbones get recognized for handling big responsibilities and performance under pressure. This is the bone (head) that will unfailingly have your back; a good listener and fair judge. Backbones look at the big picture and understand how bones fit together to form a body. Backbones exhibit consistency, command respect and exemplify success.
If they’re bony — they might lack confidence or experience and prefer to the role of observer or witness.
If they’re sturdy — they’re flexible, adaptable, loyal and dependable.