This is my first in what I hope will turn into a series of threads about situations in which people have worked together to achieve a purpose and the whole has been greater than the sum of its parts. There have been numerous situations in business, sports, politics, entertainment, in fiction and pop culture, etc. in which individuals have collaborated to form a team and used complementary talents. In many of these cases, multiple kinds of roles needed to be played for the team to accomplish its goal, and the goal would not have been achievable if one of the roles was not executed. In my writings for this series, I plan to use temperament to describe and analyze some of these situations and the personal gifts and instincts of the people in the situations. Many of the situations may involve only two people, but they all required more than one person coming together.
I will start with the movie The Blues Brothers (even though their situation is both fiction and they are largely con artists). For those who have not seen the movie, musician brothers Jake and Elwood Blues team up on a scheme – a “mission from God” – to get their band back together and play gigs to earn enough money to keep their childhood orphanage up and running. In order to do this, they have to reunite former band members with whom they have totally lost contact and who have gone in different directions with their lives. They also have to stay a step ahead of the state troopers and various other enemies they make along the way. I will not spoil the movie and its final outcome any more for those who have not seen it.
The Blues Brothers were able to accomplish their goal by using their complementary Operator Artisan talents. Jake (played by John Belushi) is a Promoter and Elwood (played by Dan Aykroyd) is a Crafter. Jake uses a variety of tactics with different people to get desired reactions from them. Most of these situations involve blackmailing or in some way conning, but in each case he succeeds in getting the person at hand to do what he wants. Jake’s ways ultimately get several of the Blues Brothers’ former band mates to rejoin the band and get a booking agent to line them up them for a major gig. Jake also uses charm and con artist techniques to get the brothers out of jams with a restaurant owner, other musicians, and a former lover and fiancée of his who repeatedly tries to kill the duo.
Elwood drives himself and Jake in his car, the “Bluesmobile”, throughout the movie. Elwood is totally fearless as a driver. In numerous instances he gets the brothers through settings in his car that would be too dangerous for the average person to encounter and makes driving maneuvers that could not be pulled off in real life. Elwood leads police into multiple car chases that destroy a shopping mall and lead to pileups of dozens of cars along both highways and city blocks. His driving maneuvers include numerous quick turns, stops, accelerations, and a couple of trips literally flying the car through midair.
It appears that Jake and Elwood each instinctively played one role of the Operator Artisan over the other at important points during the movie. Moreover, It would be hard to imagine one of them being able to work without the other. Elwood is a good operator of machinery with his driving but appears to be less adept at maneuvering people. He is moderately talkative in conversation but lets Jake do most of important talking and conning when they needed to get things from people. On the other hand, Jake makes a number of out-of-the-box moves with and says a lot of bold things to people but lets Elwood do all the driving and never uses tools. He actually seems to think his brother is a dangerous driver and calls him a “motorhead”.
In sum, the Blues Brothers are a complementary Promoter-Crafter Artisan duo. If either Jake or Elwood plays his own role by himself, they are not able to get their band back together, earn money, and save their orphanage. Each brother needs the other to use his gifts, and their whole and their “mission from God” they accomplish are greater than the sum of their gifts.