The most recent At the Table dinner was very small. Just three of us gathered at Fleming’s steakhouse in Chicago’s River North neighborhood to discuss career progression within the non-profit space. Leading the conversation, was Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-Founder of ic. stars.
While discussing interactions between Senior Executives and staff within organizations, Sandee said, “We all know Robin was the real powerhouse. Batman just had a belt.”
We’ve heard variations of this statement before. About Robin being the brains of the operation. The real talent behind the personality and brand known as Batman. What was new about Sandee’s statement was the mention of Batman’s belt — his toolkit.
Both Batman and Robin had their set of tools and talents except Robin’s were less obvious. While Batman had the resources and prestige of the Bruce Wayne persona, Robin was fairly ordinary but he was brilliant in that. Robin was never distracted by political or business obligations. He kept the operations going. He was focused in his loyalty and commitment to excellence. He was a mirror to Batman, providing honest feedback and reminders when Batman was losing perspective and veering from the mission and objectives.
Is that any less valuable to an organization?
Batman was focused on the big picture. Strategy and vision. This is not so different from how roles are defined in companies.
We all know how crucial it is to have the deep network, funding and influence most common amongst those at executive levels. This type of toolkit is not to be discounted.
What I took away from Sandee’s comment, and what she intended for us to understand, is the importance of having both sides of the coin. The important of having a Batman and Robin who are aware of and fully accepting of their roles.
I’m a Robin still searching for my Batman. Good luck finding yours.