There is no "I" in team – a pretty well-worn statement, but very true in practice.
There are many teams that have assembled great talent, experience and skills only to fail in their objective because of a lack of teamwork. Invariably this occurs where people put self before team – in fact, the more you read on teamwork (success and failure), the more you see that some people are hard-wired to put self ahead of the team – even when the success of the team will ultimately deliver greater rewards.
In the sporting sense, this is often seen where a star player will take the shot rather than pass the ball or will ignore an instruction by the coach and do his or her own thing. The long-term outcome is a lack of success in terms of the results being strived for.
Bluntly, in my view, if you are part of a team and you have a selfish teammate you are doomed to failure. At best, you will get a significantly lower return on your efforts or you will need to work twice as hard.
If you find yourself on your own – either solely running a business or being given sole responsibility for a project - in those cases it becomes about wit, intelligence and experience. However, you will likely be better off if you can find yourself involving others to assist you in reaching your objectives.
But teamwork in business is crucial, and I like how Andrew Carnegie puts it: "[it] is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments towards organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results."
Without teamwork, humankind would not have achieved the momentous things that it has and we wouldn't have the lives that we have today.
The other thing going for teams is that you can implement systems and processes to manage situations. Where the processes and structures which are there to support the team are cutting edge – from researching a market to training and development regimes – it is clearly evident, not only in financial performance but also in terms of how businesses are positioned and perceived in a market.
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A business with robust and best practice processes and systems performs well. It will therefore come as no surprise that designing and implementing best practice systems is the most satisfying part of my job.
A good example is being in a band - this is a lesson in teamwork. If we are all working together and each contributing like we should (that is, practising, actively working as a unit and listening to each other) we actually surprise ourselves at how good the group sounds and how much fun we are having. If we, as a team, are not in tune (pun intended) the result is just, well, just noise.
The great thing is that, as the band grew, we added the right mix of skills and instruments to deliver the right sound – just as you would build a team in your business or for a particular project that requires a particular outcome.
Next week I will highlight a local team that is doing some great work and achieving strategic objectives - a practical demonstration of the power of a good team.