This week, we are proud to share Rachel Kennedy’s experience at Sendero and how our core value of Shared Success has shaped the way she approaches work each day.

In a recent podcast episode, Brene Brown describes the 50/50 myth. Early in her marriage, she thought strong, lasting relationships required a 50/50 “you pull your weight and I’ll pull mine” dynamic; however, she quickly learned otherwise. We are not invincible to the highs and lows of life—whether at home or in the workplace, and we do ourselves no favors in trying to pretend that we are. Instead, she argues, strong, lasting relationships are established when your partner, friend, or coworker can count on you to rally with your 80 when he or she is at a 20. They are demonstrated when your partner shows up at 90 when you are down to a 10. Such relationships require both trust and humility and are foundational to Sendero’s core value of Shared Success.

Shared success can mean a number of different things, for example:

  • Showing up for your coworkers when they need you.
  • Never having a “that’s not my job” mentality, and knowing leaders eat last”.
  • Celebrating victories together and walking through losses together.
  • Stepping aside to empower others to lead new project initiatives, knowing everyone wins when we all learn.
  • Investing time in recognizing and becoming an expert on your team members’ strengths.
  • Knowing your limitations and asking for help when you need it.
  • Reflecting on the larger ecosystem of your team, project, and community, and striving for an optimal outcome for all.

I’ve seen my coworkers demonstrate Shared Success in countless ways since joining Sendero. I’ve seen it in teammates organizing meal trains and rallying to cover the work of a coworker grieving a loved one. I’ve seen it in coworkers organizing fitness class fundraisers to promote employee well-being and benefit the community. I’ve seen it when one of our Managing Directors dedicated time to training me on contracts when I was a brand new Associate after I casually expressed interest. I’ve seen it in my coworker who invited a team of us to design and build a playhouse to benefit Dallas CASA (despite my prior nonexistent experience with power tools).

I’ve also found that Shared Success doesn’t always come naturally, but it always yields the highest reward. Recently, I proposed a pro bono project for the Dallas Volunteer Attorney Program (DVAP). Once the project got approved, I was conflicted about my level of involvement. I wanted to ensure a successful project outcome, but I was stretched thin with client work and midway through another pro bono commitment. In the end, I decided to step back and trust other Senderoans to run with it. A few weeks later, I attended one of their team meetings and was in awe of the team’s passion and progress. As I observed them brainstorm solutions that I never would have generated independently, I was humbled to realize that the best thing I could have done for the DVAP project’s success was step aside and watch my coworkers shine.

Shared Success doesn’t always come naturally, but it always yields the highest reward.

Through practice and the examples of those around me, I’ve learned Shared Success requires a few key elements to be effective.

Shared success requires trust

It means I can be courageously honest with my manager when I’m nearing burn out or confronted with a problem that I’m unsure how to solve. It instills confidence that my manager will coach me when possible and intervene when necessary to ensure the success and well-being of the team. Shared success means I don’t have to fear retribution for my vulnerability, but rather can trust that my voice will be heard. Similarly, when my manager delivers constructive feedback, it means I will reciprocate with the same bias for listening and action.

Shared success requires humility

It is recognizing we are stronger together than as individual performers. It is being courageously honest and asking for help when hardship hits. It is knowing my limits and inviting others to lead in my place. It is recognizing that we did not get to where we are solely by our own merit and abilities—we are the sum total of our resources, network, and support.

“Many of us are willing to extend a helping hand, but we’re very reluctant to reach out for help when we need it ourselves, it’s as if we’ve divided the world into “those who offer help” and “those who need help.” The truth is that we are both. Need is the most beautiful compact between humans.” – Brene Brown

Shared success requires recognizing that our lives are inextricably woven together

What I do and say impacts you, and vice versa. Similar to how tense posture or aggressive comments can instantly transform a conference room environment from neutral to defensive and spike cortisol levels, a kind smile or word of appreciation can diffuse anxiety and spark endorphins. And research shows, being happy at work matters.

Right now, as we find ourselves amid a global pandemic, Shared Success matters more than ever. As writer Damian Barr surmised, “We are not all in the same boat. We are all in the same storm.” While some may sail through this crisis in sturdy ships, others have just one oar. Now is the time to show up with your 80 if someone in your organization or community is at a 20, or to be honest with your teammates if you’re at a 10 and need a hand. We will weather this storm, but we will only do so by sacrificing and serving together. Now is the time to check in with each other and get creative about the ways you can support others. Now is the time for collective action and solidarity. Ultimately, I hope we all emerge a little more empathetic, a little more supportive, and a little more committed to the fact that success is truly best when shared.

I hope we all emerge a little more empathetic, a little more supportive, and a little more committed to the fact that success is truly best when shared.

Rachel Kennedy

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