"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Welcome to the latest in our ‘Championship Series’ of blog posts. Today’s topic is the key characteristic of teamwork. And every true champion understands on a very deep level the meaning of the concept, "teamwork, definitely, makes the dream work!"
Teamwork is work done by several associates with each doing a part, but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole in achieving a shared goal.
People on successful teams surrender ego in favor of altruism. Even though NBA legend Michael Jordan was the quintessential one-on-one player, he clearly understood that winning big required getting all his teammates involved in sharing a championship team vision. And not just sharing in the vision, but taking personal ownership of it!
Michael Jordan had that uncanny ability that champions possess of getting everyone of his teammates actively and emotionally involved in transforming the championship vision into reality.
In a couple of those championship seasons with the Chicago Bulls, it wasn't Jordan who hit the winning shot. Instead, it was Jordan who drew in the opponent's defense and passed the ball off to an open teammate who scored the winning basket. It was teamwork that made the Bulls' championship dream work!
Legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson stated, “A great player can only do so much on his own, no matter how breathtaking his one-on-one moves. If he is out of sync psychologically with everyone else, the team will never achieve the harmony needed to win.”
Making the championship dream work through the vehicle of the team is essentially a social process, or more precisely ten (10) processes that fall into three (3) basic categories:
Transition processes [between periods of action] - 1) Mission analysis, 2) Goal specification, and 3) Strategy formulation.
Action processes [when the team attempts to accomplish its goals and objectives] - 4) Monitoring progress toward goals, 5) Systems monitoring, 6) Team monitoring and backup behavior, and 7) Coordination.
Interpersonal processes [present in both action periods and transition periods] - 8) Conflict management, 9) Motivation and confidence building, and 10) Affect management.
Studies have shown team training is key to promoting teamwork, and critical to enhancing team performance and success.
Champions are keenly aware of the following benefits and advantages of teamwork:
Problems solving – Two heads are better than one! Team members can bounce ideas off each other, offering their unique perspectives to arrive at the best possible solution.
Accomplish tasks faster – People working together can complete tasks faster by dividing up the work to people of different abilities, knowledge, and skill levels. A single person taking on multiple tasks just can’t keep pace with a high functioning team.
Healthy competition – Can motivate individuals and help the team excel.
Developing relationships – People continually working together develop an increased level of bonding and thereby prevent unnecessary conflicts.
Everyone has unique qualities – Every team member can offer their unique abilities and knowledge to improve the other team members. The sharing of these qualities through teamwork will help team members to be more effective in the future.
Helen Keller famously stated, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players, yet never win championships. The main reason this happens is because these players aren’t willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. Ironically, it is their very unwillingness to sacrifice that makes achieving individual goals that much more elusive.
On a high performing, championship team each member has a specific role and responsibility. The Apostle Paul stated, “Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:20. Each member has its own form, place, powers, and assignment. Yet, all the members are useful and necessary to each other. Likewise, on a team there are many players, but only one team!
On high performing teams, close, strong bonds unite each member of the team to the whole. Team members check their egos at the door, practice selflessness, and depend on each other; confidently expecting and receiving help from the rest. The overall good of the whole is each team member’s top priority. That is how championship teams work the dream!
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan said it best, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
How has teamwork helped you to achieve your goals?
Baker, David P.; Day, Rachel; Salas, Eduardo (2006). "Teamwork as an Essential Component of High-Reliability Organizations"
Larson, Carl E., and Frank M. LaFasto (1989). Teamwork: What Must Go Right, What Can Go Wrong
Hackman, J. Richard, ed. (1990). Groups That Work (and Those That Don't): Creating Conditions for Effective Teamwork
Until next time,
Hi! I'm Kenneth Lillard, author, ordained minister, and motivational speaker. This blog is an expression of some of my thoughts and opinions. I'm glad you stopped by. Hope you'll share some of your comments while you're here. Be Blessed!