Vision is not a solo sport but a team endeavor. Teamwork is defined as a joint action or effort by a group of people where each person contributes their individual interests and opinions to the unity and effectiveness of the group. This does not signify that each person is not important on their own but it does mean that in order for a team to be effective their joint efforts will transcend individual accomplishments.
The most successful teamwork happens when all the individuals involved synchronize their contributions and work towards a common goal.
Teamwork is all about trust, delegation and goal orientation. Many of the top CEOs view teamwork as a non negotiable for their hiring process; ironically, it’s also the area that their company needs the most improvement. That fact is that individually we are like drops of water in a bucket but when we join together we have the force of an ocean.
A strong and viable team needs at least four things:
- A purpose that has been clearly defined in order to excite the team to action; never under-estimate the force of morale.
- The opportunity to shine; a cause has always been the fuel for a revolution. People want to fight but need a claim to fame.
- A coach to empower them not a commander to rule them; leaders are not just “tellers” they are inspirers too.
- Accountability and camaraderie in order to be a balanced power; you can’t have one without the other.
Teamwork disrupts people’s comfort zone and as result is often perceived as a “necessary evil.” The reality is teamwork is not just a means to an end; it is the foundation by which all causes are accomplished. Farmers have seen what insects can do to their crop when they join forces as well as how strategic a flock of geese are when travelling thousands of miles – all without the use of a GPS. All of these things and more are accomplished by harnessing the force of teamwork.
The bottom line is people are not islands and cannot build their dreams alone. With the right plan, a good amount of patience, and some persistence it is possible to build a “dream team” and accomplish more together than they ever imagined alone. In other words, a group of like-minded people working together towards a common goal are more likely to be successful than individual effort. A person’s vision will only be as realistic as the team they build around them!
The ideal vision for any team is a smooth and efficient group of dedicated workers. Unfortunately, this is not always achieved. A deeper understanding of the reasons teams fail can help any group avoid or recover from unfortunate pitfalls.
Teams generally aren’t winning because they don’t understand why they are losing. With this principle in mind, here are a few key reasons teams usually fail:
- They don’t have a full understanding of the plan: Simply stated a vision for a team is a vivid mental image produced by the imagination. A vision sees the future, possibilities, and future successes. If a team does not have a vision the possibilities for failure are great. The entire team must produce the casting of the vision. There will always be those who lead the way however, all members of the team must be included in the vision casting process.
- They don’t have a clear identity: Every good sports team has a play book and a name. A good team can identify itself and its vision to those outside of the team by the brand the team carries. A strong and effective team knows and understands the play book; the focus, direction and goals. A team without a clear identity or established brand will never succeed.
- There is a failure to Be Personally Responsible: Simply stated, they won’t commit to the plan. Many join a team before they have counted up the cost. Each member has to commit to the plan and develop an “all in” attitude. Teams can never hope to succeed if one person on the team refuses to play their part. The success of any team is dependent upon the involvement of every person on the team. The skills of the many are what make a great and productive team.
- There is a Conflict Between Personalities: Every person is different. The uniqueness of individuals can create a wonderful environment of teamwork while at the same time can cause conflict on the largest of scales. One of the great challenges of teams and teamwork is to recognize that people are all different but these differences can produce great power when combined together. Conflicts are unavoidable; but when handled properly they have the distinct ability to produce a strong team made up of complimentary individuals and personalities.
- There are unnecessary power struggles: Often people not only want to know who is in charge, they want to be the person that is in charge. The idea of shared responsibility is not a comfortable concept for some. There are those personalities that are very aggressive and those that are passive. One of the greatest challenges for any team is to work on bringing out the talents and gifts of the entire team. The failure of most teams is the result of one or two people leading the way and leaving very gifted people behind. Those left behind may not say anything about this action but they will soon become inactive and the team is then reduced to the one or two strong personalities.
It’s always important to remember that people’s lives aren’t scripted and life happens to the best of people. Team members must possess the grace to adapt when another person’s life goes through transition.
Always remember that the team is made up of different personalities which sometimes occupy different methods. It’s important to allow others the freedom to be themselves while adding their flavor of uniqueness to the common goal.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said it best when he stated, “Superstars may win games but it takes a team to win a championship.” Vision is not a solo sport but a team endeavor. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Editorial By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)