Teamwork. You either have it or you don’t.
My son and I were watching a new show the other day called “On the Lot”. It’s a reality show where the contestants are vying for a contract as a real movie director. In one of the tasks the individual director/contestants were grouped in threes to develop a three-scene 2.5 minute piece. Each contestant directed a different scene and then they had to put it all together and impress three real movie directors in order to stay in the game.
Several of the teams had teamwork problems. They simply didn’t know how to work together. It’s a shame because it really affected the ability of the team to produce a coherent piece of material. In almost all cases, at least one of the three from these leadership challenged teams was sent home.
Teamwork is essential for any business to be successful. Without the team working together you get unhealthy competition, animosity, and ultimately a tension-filled work environment. On the other hand, if everybody works together, then everybody gets the credit.
But for that to happen each part of the team must be willing to put their “rightness” aside and truly listen for other points of view. Team members can disagree, each believing they are “more” right than the other. But both must also be willing to allow the other person to be right and themselves to be “wrong”. It’s that kind of give and take that ultimately allows both to come to a common agreement and usually a much better product.
Here is a funny story by Management consultant James Lukaszewski:
One day a farmer was sitting on his porch noticing a highway department truck pulling over on the shoulder of the road. A man got out, dug a sizeable hole in the ditch, and got back into the vehicle. A few minutes later, the other occupant of the truck got out, filled up the hole, tamped the dirt, and got back in the truck. Then they drove forward on the shoulder about fifty yards and repeated the process…
After a dozen repetitions, the farmer sauntered over to them. “What are you doing?” he asked.
We’re on a highway beautification project,” the driver said. “And the guy who plants the trees is home sick today.”