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Best in Show

Posted by on February 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I like animals, animals of all shapes, sizes and varieties. In fact, my husband jokes with me that I like animals more than I like humans. Of course, it depends on the human.

Earlier this week, a four-year old Pekingnese named “Malachy” was awarded this year’s “Best in Show” at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show held in Madison Square Garden in New York.

As much as I like animals, including dogs, I must say that it’s hard for me to get that excited about the beauty-challenged Pekingnese as the top winner of the prestigious dog show. With all due respect to Malachy, he has the face of a vampire bat, with Linda Evans hair.

Others questioned this week whether the Pekingnese is worthy of the famed dog award, since Malachy beat out more seemingly popular dog breeds such as the Irish setter, the Dalmation, the German shepherd, and the Doberman pinscher.

This is not the first time that the mighty Pekingnese has taken home the top award. In fact, Malachy is the fourth such Pekingnese to win “Best in Show” since 1960.

Pekingnese and other canine enthusiasts are quick to point out that the long-lasting breed is worthy indeed, and has been associated with royalty for centuries. The origins of the breed date back to the 8th Century in China. Pekingnese are commonly referred to as the “Lion Dog” due to its long, fluffy mane of hair. Sounds like the work of a good publicist, if you ask me.

With that said, I respect Malachy and his accomplishment. Malachy may not “look” like a winner, but he’s proven that he has what it takes to compete against those perceived to be better apt to succeed.

And isn’t this an important lesson for all of us?

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an oft-used axiom, which many of us seldom take to heart – but maybe we should. How many times do we assume that the colleague who looks the part will be the first to succeed?

The role of a good manager – and the organization broadly — is to provide for a work environment where everyone feels they have a shot at succeeding, not just the popular “show dogs.” This type of inclusive, nurturing culture will result in greater teamwork, higher productivity, and more sustained success for the company and the shareholder, every time.

So find ways to excite and draw out every employee to do his or her best. And you’ll soon find that your next “best in show” just might surprise you.