The most recent At the Table dinner was a small, intimate group of three at Fleming’s steakhouse in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. We gathered to discuss career progression within the non-profit space.  Leading the discussion, was Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-Founder of ic. stars.

While discussing interactions between Senior Executives and staff within organizations, Sandee said, “We all know Robin is the real powerhouse. Batman just has a belt.”

We’ve heard variations of this statement before. About Robin being the brains of the operation — the real talent behind the personality and brand known as Batman. What was new about Sandee’s statement was the mention of Batman’s belt — his toolkit.

Both Batman and Robin have their set of tools and talents except Robin’s are less obvious. While Batman has the resources and prestige of the Bruce Wayne persona, Robin is fairly ordinary, but he is brilliant in his focused simplicity.

Robin is never distracted by political or business obligations. He keeps the operations going.  He is unwavering in his loyalty and commitment to excellence.

Robin is a mirror to Batman, providing honest feedback and reminders when Batman is losing perspective and veering from the mission and objectives.  Is that any less valuable to an organization?

batman and bruce wayne

Batman focuses on the big picture: strategy and vision. This is not so different from how roles are defined in companies.

We all know how crucial it is to have the deep network, funding and influence most common amongst those at executive levels. This type of toolkit is not to be discounted.

What I took away from Sandee’s comment, and what I believe she intended for us to grasp, is the importance of having both sides of the coin. The importance of having a Batman and Robin who are aware of and fully accepting of their roles.

I’m a Robin still searching for my Batman.  Good luck finding yours.




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