Team Spirit

Team Spirit

I am reading from Pyramid of Success by Coach John Wooden and Jay Carty. They build a pyramid with building blocks of character and behavior. One of the building blocks is Team Spirit. Coach Wooden knows a little about Teams. He helped the UCAL Basketball team when 10 championships in a twelve year period. The UCLA Bruins in his tenure had 885 wins to 203 losses.

Coach points out that anyone of his starters could have stood out as a super star or celebrity. And yet, they didn’t. They worked hard as individuals to help the team achieve success. It was the team’s success they were after not their own.

Contrast that with the culture of celebrity we see in almost every industry today. We all get the scoop on the stars. We have entire TV shows devoted to celebrities; movie stars, rock stars, celebrity chefs, celebrity business leaders and so on. Everyone seems concerned with their personal brand vs. the success of their organization.

I am reminded of the old tale from Aesop where the farmer was teaching his quarrelling children a lesson. He untied a bundle of sticks and gave one to each and had them break the stick. He then handed around a bundle. None could break the bundle. His moral was we are stronger together than as individuals. If we look at high performing organizations we will notice a spirit of team.  In the military they call it Unit cohesion.

When I look back at the teams that I have been a part of that have done very well we leveraged each other’s strengths, we worked together to offset our colleagues weaknesses and we were working towards a bigger goal. We could bring in the financial guy on a call to help with the accountant, or the Ops leader to help sell to the COO and we could bring in the relationship guy for those that needed a little more love. As a team we did remarkable work; work that as individuals we would not have accomplished.

Questions to ponder?

–    Which Team mate are you supporting today?
–    How are you leveraging the skills of your team in ways you haven’t considered?


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