Be wary. Be happy.

Germans strive to remain clear-headed, to avoid incrementally inflated euphoria, to avoid a step-by-step distancing from a sober assessment of reality. For Germans it’s not “Don’t worry. Be Happy.” But instead “Be wary. Be happy.”

Wary: marked by keen caution, cunning, and watchfulness, especially in detecting and escaping danger.

“Escaping danger.” Dangerous can be thinking too highly of oneself. Dangerous can be misreading a situation. Dangerous is unjustified happy, euphoric.

But, there is another reason to “be wary.” Neid, envy. The Germans themselves speak of their Neidgesellschaft, “society of envy”, of their Neider, the envious. 

Public recognition can lead to envy within the team. Envy threatens cohesion. Germans are not comfortable with “stars” or “rainmakers” in their organizations. Neid is one reason. The other is purely rational.

In complex organizations, especially those which are highly matrixed, how can individuals or individual teams be cited as especially successful? As clearly better than others? How can that be measured?