Hi. I’m Josh Sinkow—a new intern working at The Gabriel Institute. At Clemson University I play club rugby in which we have a ‘top-down’ organization on our team–from our coach to a captain, president, vice-president, secretary, field manager, and social chair. As a team we all work towards winning every rugby game we can and, hopefully, going to the playoffs.

In a business team you also want to organize yourself with a series of ‘leaders’ like the CEO, president, managers, secretaries, and so on. Together the leaders of the team set the strategy and improve the team’s readiness, skill, and morale for success on and off the field. Each individual needs to be able to do their role and not interfere with each other’s jobs otherwise conflicts occur. The role each individual plays on the team is essential to the success of the whole unit.

In rugby the forward’s job is to hit, crash, and fight through while the backs’ job is to run and perform trick plays. If a back were to jump into the ruck with the forwards then the team is short a back, making it easy for the other team to get the ball, pass it off, and run around or through us. In business, if an assistant starts making decisions for the president, there will be conflicts, errors, and a possibility of “dropping the ball”. Every individual has a job to do and needs to fulfill the role otherwise the whole company suffers. Even the lowest level employees are needed otherwise the work just would not get done. Each individual member of a business team needs to know what their job is, be able to accomplish that job, and fulfill their responsibilities in the job that they are in so the team can reach its goal.

Perhaps most important in both sports and business: having a positive and constructive attitude when working with others is the secret to having a great team.  And that brings us back to The Gabriel Institute’s product, which is called TGI Role-Based Assessment. RBA was created specifically to identify and measure how people ‘team’ together. TGI’s research shows that each person has a different kind of drive, or personal ‘mission,’ to meet the needs of their team. This is called their ‘Role’ in RBA. And having positive orientation to working with other people to benefit the group is an RBA measurement called Coherence. Putting Role and Coherence together can tell you a lot about a person’s ‘Teaming Characteristics’, which can accurately identify the ‘best-fit’ for each person in a work environment.

I have a lot more to learn about Role-Based Assessment, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: there’s a new way to know how people will perform in teams, and that’s something really worth knowing!


I better set a good example here.  I take no credit for the word ‘suckritocracy’ but seriously, doesn’t it describe at least one place you’ve worked?

I heard it attributed to Edith Waltz, a sociologist who morphed into an IT director for Fortune 500 companies.  In her experience those companies were not meritocracies, they were not even aristocracies, and they certainly weren’t democracies – they were, pure and simple, suckritocracies.  And, apparently, in her experience, few people cared.

Call me Pollyanna, but I really meant it when I wrote The Gabriel Institute’s vision line – Making the Workplace a Better Place to Work.

So in that spirit, I ask you to join me in a revolution to banish suckritocracy from the workplace.  Here are the three ‘rules of engagement’:

  • First, believe that you can end suckritocracy in your lifetime.  All you have to do is to stop contributing to it.  Don’t take credit for other people’s work and, if you can, share the credit other people give you – whether you think you deserve it or not.  Being known as a team player is worth more to your career than being known for being smart.
  • Second, figure out what you really like to do and try to work with other people who will do the parts you don’t like.  If you get yelled at for that, you are working in a suckritocracy that has hardened into something like the corporate equivalent of the Zombies from Outer Space.  It eats fear and it can only survive by creating that fear in its young.  All you can do is starve it.
  • Finally, rock your own world.  Find the rest of your team.  They are out there.  (This is something like finding true love.)  Respect them,  Trust them.  Build something together (think Bill Gates, Mary Kay Ash, Ben & Jerry) and just say no to suckritocacy.