Individuals aligned & focused = necessary ingredient for success

“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Vince Lombardi

Working together with a team towards a common and shared purpose is so powerful. When there is a common purpose, a shared goal that has 100% commitment, then there is no room for hidden agendas, no place for politics, no backstabbing or power struggles.

When the goals of the individual are more important than those of the group that is when the bad stuff happens and dissension builds in the team. How do you ensure this doesn’t happen?

First, make sure you aren’t part of the problem. Are you spending any effort that detracts from the common mission and purpose? Are you more interested in being right, than in doing what is right?

Second, is there a common purpose? A clearly defined objective that everyone understands and believes in?

Third, Does everyone know what is expected of them? Are roles clearly defined with the key success metrics and targets aligned to the achievement of the goal?

Fourth, Is the team reviewing successes and CANDIDLY talking about failures or setbacks in a non-personal and non-threatening manner with the focus on the mission, not the person.

As Vince said, “Individual commitment to a group effort – That is what makes a team work…”

The power of the pack…

“For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack. ”
 
Rudyard Kipling

The fastest way to bad, or at the very least sub-optimum, decisions is to rely only on your own knowledge and perspective.  The very best leader that I know ask a ton of questions, even if they might already have an opinion, or know the answer outright.  Their assumption is that they don’t know everything and their answer will be strengthened by gaining perspective from others.  Then those leaders act…

The power of the wolf comes from the pack and the reason for the power is the relentless focus on a single thing, survival.  It isn’t a committee of wolves talking about what might be important to accomplish one day.  It is a pack focus on the hunt, on survival.  Nothing else distracts from this focus. 

In our lives we might belong to a pack (or several) but how many of those packs have a burning focus that channels all the energy and effort towards accomplishing one thing?  If that doesn’t happen, you aren’t a wolf in a pack, you are a sheep in a herd…

 

 

Focus & Clarity

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
 
Henry Ford
 

There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes when you are part of a team.  The energy that comes from working with others towards a shared vision is palpable.  Success becomes the result, not just a goal or a thing to be achieved.  

Without teamwork I would argue that while a specific task or objective might be achieved, the true opportunity is left unfulfilled.  Teamwork unlocks the magic of what could be. 

Why then do teams get off track?  Lack of a crystal clear vision or goal and clearly aligned team and individual objectives that bring focus and clarity to the work at hand.  Without this there is always going to be some sand in the gears so to speak.

If you haven’t read “Measure What Matters” by John Doerr I highly recommend it.  One of the best books I have read on creating focus and clarity as a team.  Truly exceptional.

 

What are you afraid of?

“Teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”

Patrick Lencioni

Merriam-Webster defines “invulnerable” as “impossible to harm, damage or defeat.”  We are taught at a young age that we have to be tough, that we have to win, that showing any vulnerability is a sign of weakness and frailty.  So we carry that defensive nature into our lives and relationships, both at work and at home.  Instead of accepting that we are all vulnerable we seek to be invulnerable with those around us.  

Perhaps this is changing?  The usage of the word “vulnerable” has certainly become more prevalent over the past few decades. Not bad for a word that has it’s root origination in the Latin noun “vulnus” meaning “wound.”  (Finally all my college Latin courses are paying off!!)

 

vulnerable

Usage of “vulnerable”

 

But lets contrast “invulnerability” with “trust” which is defined as “allow someone to have, use, or look after (someone or something of importance or value) with confidence.” 

How do you know when you trust someone?  What does it feel like? For me it is the feeling of safety.  That it is okay if I’m not perfect and it is safe to expose my vulnerabilities for the purpose of achieving a greater good.  When I trust my teammates I am confident that they care, first and foremost, about achieving our shared goals and purpose.

Hmm, now that I think about it maybe “invulnerability” isn’t such a bad thing.  If a team has a high degree of trust with each other I think they just might be a team that is “impossible to harm, damage or defeat…”  

 

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