Community Champion vs. Cheerleader

  • Champion – one that does battle for another’s rights or honor
  • Cheerleader – one that calls for and directs organized cheering
  •          (Cheer – a shout of applause or encouragement)

If you’ve spent time with me in real life or online, it likely comes as no surprise that I think Wisconsin is a good place for biotech – or perhaps to better capture the way I think of it, developing valuable products through science. I’m also a fan of supporting entrepreneurs as they create new businesses. Every so often I run into an interesting phenomenon that I’ll call the champion vs. cheerleader effect – the difference between encouragement and pushing.

Cheerleader – A cheerleader is a wonderful thing to have – someone who is rooting for your success. Encouragement can be a powerful force in the face of setbacks.

Champion – The title champion conveys a sense that what is being fought for is deserved – that the capabilities of community are the focus. A champion should understand strengths and weaknesses.

The danger of too much cheerleading and not enough championing is two-fold. The first is the classic problem of overpromising and under-delivering. Cheering for Wisconsin biotech as a player on the same level as places such as Massachusetts or California is unlikely to rally anyone but the most ardent fans. The second issue relates to self-improvement. Focusing on a rah-rah message can drown out the message of what needs improvement.

Overall, cheerleading serves a very important function – especially in building a business or supporting a community – but progress requires the critical eye of a champion. 


2 comments on “Community Champion vs. Cheerleader

  1. Paul Radspinner
    November 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Amen sista!


  1. Human Capital in Biotech: Recycle, Reuse, Reduce | The Next Element - January 3, 2013

    […] The following thoughts are not meant to convey the idea that any one path is inherently better than another. Identifying areas for improvement is a key to building established biotech clusters – the premise behind champion vs. cheerleader. […]

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