Except for some new material by Aerosmith, or Bon Jovi, the successes did not materialise and several bands even ceased to exist.  It is therefore surprising that the band ‘Steel Panther’ saw the light of day during this difficult period.  This Californian group, under their formal name ‘Metal Shop’, set themselves the goal of ensuring the survival of Glam Metal.  With what can best be described as a ‘Re-enactment of the spandex heydays’ they reached high peaks.  Their album ‘Balls Out’ reached number one on the British iTunes chart.  The band is still popular today.  With their latest album ‘Heavy Metal Rules’ they continue to build on their success with controversial lyrics and tightly recorded performances.

The story of Steel Panther brings us seamlessly, at least in my mind, to the most important question for any form of teamwork today.  That question is what unique contribution do you want to make to this vale of tears? You can call it added value or impact but the essence is that we have to (re)define the contribution we want to make through our cooperation.  How can an individual increase his, or her, well-being by pursuing a unique contribution if leadership itself has no idea what it wants to achieve? Meaningfulness is a cascade! Dare therefore to determine – at Board level – which unique contribution you stand for and act upon it.  If the goal of this year’s teamwork is that the focus of customer support is on quality rather than on speed, then dare to say so.  If the opposite is the case, then say so.

It’s true that this implies the need to make choices.  But we can no longer be everything to everyone, especially these days.  Ikea has never had the ambition to appeal to the lover of custom-made country furniture.  Their unique contribution to the furniture landscape, however, is that they offer the lover of Swedish design an affordable, ready-to-assemble range.  That this choice results in marital arguments during assembly is something both customers and Ikea are happy to accept.

So in your sector, organisation or team, dare to define explicitly what the unique contribution should be for the internal and/or external customer.  This gives you two advantages.  On the one hand, the definition of that contribution creates an opportunity to open up the conversation about who wants to contribute.  It thus enables people to make a more conscious choice.  On the other hand, it also provides the possibility to start a dialogue in the team about how everyone can, and wants to, contribute.  In doing so, challenge people to make their unique contribution concrete, with clear personal objectives and actions.  Constructive discussions about the latter at least give perspective and direction.  And that is exactly what we need in order to cope with challenges.

So ‘Balls Out’ and go for that unique contribution. Don’t lose yourself in extravagance during the performance, Axl Rose knows more about that.