the “harmony” of the team

In each work group there are some invaluable members, people who do not immediately leap out but who prefer to work in the backstage. Their natural shyness should not deceive us about their contribution to achieve common goals.

In the practice of polyphony, there is a particular melody called “cantus firmus” (fixed song): it is a song performed by one voice throughout the composition and which forms the basis for the harmony of the other voices.

The Britannica dictionary describes it in this way: “a melody, usually taken from plainsong, used by composers in 14th–17th cents. as the basis of a polyphonic composition and against which other tunes are set in counterpoint”. In simple words, it is a sort of musical arrangement of the composition.

Those who sing the “cantus firmus” generally do not take the applause that the audience pays at the end of the show. The applauses are usually taken by those who sang in the open stage and performed the solo or the part of the protagonist. Nevertheless that voice makes it possible for the others to perform in tune and it guarantees the overall success of the concert.

I think something similar also happens in our work teams: there are precious members that, just like the cantus firmus, support the overall work of the team. They are those people who assist the work of others, who are always available, who take on the effort of the project with determination and flexibility. They are those colleagues you think of as soon as there is a problem, those to whom you assign the most thankless and difficult tasks. They are those who are willing to waste time explaining a detail that you did not understand or who stop for a while after working hours to help you with the late delivery.

There are many people in our teams who support the overall melody of our job and who allow the team to achieve its goals, without any need to be at the center of attention.

We should show more gratitude to those who, without too much exhibitionism, are at the service of everyone’s work. It is thanks to them that the team works well, just like the cantus firmus grants the success of the concert.


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