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The Great Pumpkin

As we lead up to this weekend’s Halloween holiday, I harken back to an old annual tradition our family had.  As the day of door-to-door candy solicitation approached, we always watched “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on television.  This animated short dates back to 1966 and features Charlie Brown and all of his friends.



Without giving away the entire plot, the storyline is about Linus and his obsession with the “Great Pumpkin.”  Every year, Linus skips trick or treating and sits in the pumpkin patch anticipating the arrival of the fictional “Santa Claus” of Halloween.  Of course, the Great Pumpkin never arrives and Linus is left to wonder when the GP may finally show up in the future.  During this process, Linus takes an inordinate amount of hazing and teasing from his friends about his belief that there is such a spirit that will someday grace his presence.


It is a great story with a lot of life lessons woven throughout.  Lessons about loyalty, like when Sally joins Linus in the pumpkin patch to support his dream that the GP would someday arrive.  Lessons about devotion.  How many kids do you know would forgo trick or treating to sit in a vegetable garden?  It’s a lesson about rocks (see Charlie Brown’s trick or treat bag – sorry, had to work that in somehow).



The most important takeaway for me is this...


The story isn’t about the star (Charlie Brown).  It’s not even about the most popular of the gang (arguably Snoopy and/or Woodstock).  It’s about a bit player (Linus).


All of this led me to think about this…


Your organization’s work (its storyline) doesn’t always have to be about the lead character.  It is often about the role players.  The Linuses if you will.  Given that our companies are often driven by the efforts of the background players, here are a few questions for us all. 


How do we support them (like Sally did Linus)?  How do we promote them?  How can we shine a light on them and allow them to thrive? 


The Linuses of the world make things go.  Let’s give them the coaching and the loyalty and the resources they need to someday find their Great Pumpkin.




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