Parthenon: admirable work of art through the ages and around the world. Grand breathtaking and awesome approach that upsets consciences, inspires and motivates.

Have you wondered how the Parthenon came true?

Was it the high-flying vision of Pericles, the ingenious design of Phidias, the architectural integrity of Iktinos and Kalikratis? Just these? Was it the strategic planning or the execution, as well? Was it an achievement of the few known (from history) or of some very important and many unknown participants?

The revelation (for me) happened one Sunday in February 2013, when a brilliant archaeologist, Aristotle Koskinas, unfolded with skill and knowledge the small key details of the perfection of the Parthenon, the most shocking human piece of art – shocking still after 2,500 years.

We were amazed to realize the precision of specifications, the recording of steps, actions, processes, results, the clear structure and responsibility assignment per subject and area, the continuous monitoring of the project progress.

Above all, though, it was the superb teamwork that astonished all of us – newcomers to Parthenon real spirit. The various specialties matched each other perfectly. Each group had a leader, chief, supervisor who coordinated and directed within the team and across teams.

Thinking of other such accomplishments the conclusion comes normally: all great achievements have something in common, further to a concrete completion course consisting of well-defined stages: concept, analysis, design, implementation, monitoring, feedback, delivery, operation, support. By definition, any great human achievement is undoubtedly the result of an excellently-coordinated team effort, which at the end makes the jump from good to GREAT.

This is where the majesty and universal acceptance of the Parthenon are mainly based. Yes, austerity inspiration is important, uniqueness of design also, integrity of execution of course. But the most important of all is the achievement of the excellent cooperation of the thousands of anonymous contributors who were chosen to participate in the implementation of a comprehensive albeit challenging plan.

For centuries, this honest and simple approach remains hidden behind hollow exclamations of admiration and restrictive bombastic remarks of a few “big” names. In other words, what we generally know about Parthenon is the same little “stuff” that we know about nearly all major human achievements…

Aristotle Koskinas, to whom we are grateful, generously opened for us a chink of thought toward this direction. The direction we tend to ignore, but where the deep essence of any great achievement really lies. Aristotle reminded us that a great achievement is never the result of just one mind, two eyes, two hands, but the esteemed outcome of a shared vision accompanied by an overarching approach of teamwork.

The Parthenon is almost* perfect because except from everything else, it is the creative result of thousands of target-focused and excellently tuned technicians and craftsmen who, in their majority, remained unknown to history, but who made history in their own unique way.

The Parthenon is almost* perfect because it is the successful embodiment of the vision of a leader who was able to inspire thousands of “fellow-travelers” to work toward his vision.

We absolutely need to honor all of them, especially the anonymous ones.

In the same way, the “Parthenons” of the world (in culture, society, science, and especially in business) can be identified as the result of coordinated joint efforts of many different people toward excellence. And this result is almost* perfect and human.

(almost* in order to avoid the arrogance of absoluteness)