“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Andrew Carnegie How do we discover and agree on a common vision if we all have a personal agenda. I have worked on teams that excelled and achieved uncommon results and worked with others on projects who believed that working together meant we all could do much less (because of our collective effort) and get the same results. The difference wasn’t the quality of the vision but rather the commitment of the people. Teams are relationships and not all people understand the commitment they make when they enter into a collective endeavor.
“When a gifted team dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort, it is ready to climb.” Patanjali Key to this quote is dedication and unselfishness before instinct, boldness and effort. Both require courage and both should be held to severe scrutiny. When joining others on a team project, their dedication and yours should be confirmed and an understanding arrived at that anyone can openly question another team members’ obligation to the common goals. Additionally if someone takes a selfish approach they should be subject to and willingly accept reproach. Then the gifts and talents become important and remarkable results will arise.
In the vein of easy to say harder to do, Casey Stengel said “Finding good players is easy. Getting them to play as a team is another story.” This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek the best people but team leadership needs to ensure through autonomy, mastery, and purpose that everyone is pulling the same ropes in the same direction. Any free loaders, malcontents and egoists should be released of their commitment and given the opportunity to seek other challenges. When that decision is needed, it needs to be fast, full and forceful — leaving no doubt or room for negotiation. Big, wicked problems can’t afford toxic participants on the solution focused team or the whole barrel becomes rotten.
Team leadership isn’t easy and it probably shouldn’t be. Disagreement is healthy, dissent necessary but distrust is dangerous. Encourage the former and then come to an acknowledgement of a path or process and don’t detour until the way is impossible or unfruitful. If you hit a wall that is unmovable, leadership should accept responsibility and redirect the team to a new starting point. If distrust wells up, face it and name it as quickly and honestly as possible. Make amends, atone, or abandon but don’t press onwards with doubt and skepticism in the air.
Make Today Remarkable, by challenging yourself and your team,