The concept of teamwork is deeply ingrained in the world of sports. Whether we are speaking of American football or International soccer, the ability to play together as a team is the critical component of winning. The challenge of molding a collection of individual achievers into a cohesive unit, where individual goals are subordinate to the team goals, is no easy task. If it were not for the fact that a team victory provides more pleasure than an individual accomplishment, it would not be possible. The sharing of success far outshines the spotlight alone and those who have experienced such achievements, know exactly how this feels.
The team goes way beyond just the players actions on the field. Most of their time is spent in practice and study. The coaches develop a game plan and they must learn to executive their individual assignments within this plan. These assignments are player specific, and the game plan orchestrates the individual assignments in to a cohesive strategy. The goal is to create a team as one unit, executing as one mind, one heart together. Everyone is on the same page. No matter what an individuals aspirations are for personal glory, in successful teams, they understand that the execution of their assignments is the key to success and success is measured by team wins and losses.
Teamwork is the concept of synergy in action. Synergy. The sum of the effects from the parts is simple addition, while the parts working as a whole make the quantum leap to multiplication. In other words, the effect of the whole is greater than the sum of the effects of the parts. For those less interested in sports, a beautifully choreographed dance would be another example of synergy and teamwork. If you were only to focus your attention on one dancer at a time, you might be impressed with the performance. However, if you observe the movements of the dance troop as one unit, as one artistic expression, then you experience the higher message the dance was meant to convey.
Those of us experienced in corporate America know how much business has embraced the importance of teamwork. The sermon of teamwork is preached from the highest level on down. In other words, on all levels of management, the boss preaches to their subordinates. Although we should find comfort that they believe in teamwork, we should find little comfort in their execution. Unfortunately, in corporate America, when a superior asks you to do something for the good of the team, what is usually being said is, do something good for me (my career).
We see wonderful examples of teamwork on a regular basis, but they do not come about at the urging of our political or business leaders. We see these examples when people in communities band together to build sand bags against an on coming flood; in the aftermath of a hurricane or tornado; picking up the pieces after an earthquake or fire; the rescue workers of 9/11. We see great examples of pulling together for a common cause in the aftermath of disasters or wars, but it leaves an important question for us all to consider. Why does it take a disaster or war to pull us all together? Does it take great suffering to create Unity?
So why is the title of this article, First Find Your Team, Then Teamwork? We are now beset by global crisis, whether it is financial, ecological, education, poverty, disease or famine. We need to find our team. We need to understand how interconnected we all are and that we are part of a global team. These crises just listed may not feel as real and immediate as a tornado heading for your home, but they are. These global crises require global solutions and the sooner we recognize we are on the same team, the sooner we can develop a strategy, assign the roles and begin the execution. If the right understanding develops then the right leadership will naturally emerge to fill the void this right understanding creates. These crises provide us with the opportunity to recognize that the world has become interconnected on so many levels, that we must embrace our part in the whole. If we can unite as one team, one heart, one mind, then surely all obstacles can be conquered.