What do you look for in colleagues? What makes a good one? I think we look for those with traits similar to ourselves ... which is why I like asking the question in interviews.
Every year, we make the summer pilgrimage to watch an odd canoe race on the Au Sable river - paddlers race 120 miles through the night for a few dollars of prize money and bragging rights. Very few of our friends understand why we do this.
But I love this race. These paddlers, they don't do it alone. They have a team of people supporting them. Through the night. Meeting them at each portage with food, clothes, beverages, first aid gear, encouragement, and race updates.
So I think about these colleagues, these supporting teams. People who are willing to give up a night's rest. Drive 120 miles through the night to meet the canoe team at each portage. Trudge through fields and grass and uneven terrain at 3 in the morning. Just to help the paddlers - transitioning in a frenzy to feed them, hydrate them, dry them off, cool them down, pack it all up and meet the canoe in another 30 or so miles.
Best part? It comes with absolutely no recognition. No name on the website, facebook page, Twitter, or grease board.
What kind of colleague do I want? I look for those qualities that I am willing to bring - I will paddle if I need to; I will trudge through uneven terrain at 3 in the morning if necessary; I will haul water, drive the car, and clean the canoe. Someday, someone will do it for me, too.
No one can do it alone. This race is a living example of the best in people. And I love it.