Cristiano Ronaldo hit the news this morning, for once not due to his goal-scoring exploits, but for highlighting that he doesn’t think it’s important that professionals get on with their colleagues. The Portuguese footballer stated, “When I was at Manchester winning the Champions League with players like Giggs, Ferdinand and Scholes our discussions were limited to ‘good morning’ and ‘good night. But when we were on the pitch together there was total understanding. I don’t need to go out for dinner with Benzema or Bale. What counts is what happens on the pitch.”
While it would be remiss to suggest that Ronaldo doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to The Beautiful Game, I do think his comments on colleague relationships are incorrect.
This isn’t the first instance of two colleagues not enjoying each other’s company, in fact it’s not even the first time Man Utd have been involved. Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole infamously hated each other during their time together at the club, however that resulted in them winning the treble together with the former scoring in the final.
And outside of sport there are numerous examples of colleagues failing to gel. The actors behind possibly the world’s most famous couple - Romeo and Juliet - Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, allegedly couldn’t bear the sight of each other by the end of production of the 1996 film. And the Utopian vision of all humans living in peace and harmony laid out in Star Trek was certainly fictional, at least between George Takei and Willian Shatner. The show’s Mr Sulu and Captain Kirk still reportedly hold a grudge against each other over 40 years down the line.
The same can be said for much of the business world. While they didn’t work together, the competition between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla resulted in the so-called ‘War of the Currents’ which ultimately changed the world forever. There are also hugely famous examples of disputes between colleagues at some of the biggest organisations in the world. Steve Jobs fell out with fellow Apple executive, Steve Wozniak to the extent that he was booted out of the company before making his triumphant return. And anyone who’s seen ‘The Social Network’ will know that the same thing happened at Facebook, although Mark Zuckerberg has yet to invite Eduardo Saverin back to work at the organisation.
However, while a lack of a professional relationship doesn’t guarantee failure – although it does supposedly undermine creativity - working effectively as a team and having a good rapport with your colleagues can make a huge difference. Although the recruitment industry is largely driven by the actions of individual consultants, rather than groups of professionals, it can actually be hugely beneficial to work together. By sharing knowledge, opportunities and, crucially, contacts, organisations are likely to find considerably more success for both their clients and candidates.
And here at BlueSky, we’re firm proponents of getting on and working together and do so on a daily basis. From a recruitment and HR perspective, we utilise themes from some of the world’s leading business schools to support the views of our talent experts and vice-versa. We find the balance works well, business schools can provide an academic perspective while recruiters are often experiencing the very trends being discussed at ground level.
While he may be considerably better at football than I am or ever will be, I’m going to have to disagree with Ronaldo on this one. It does pay to get on with your colleagues.
Do you agree that good working relationships benefit an organisation?