Yes, you read that right!
Think about it.
The only thing that makes teamwork work is when every individual on the team commits to being a “team” player.
When have you experienced a breakdown in “teamwork?”
What was the cause?
Most of my clients tell me that it’s typically when one or more individuals “drop the ball” on their role in the teamwork.
Every day in athletic events there are great examples of teammates working closely together to make a play.
Yet, each act that allows that play to be successful is an individual act.
A simple example from baseball would be if a batter hits a ground ball to the shortstop. He picks up the ball and throws it to first base and the first baseman drops the ball.
The expected teamwork worked perfectly. Each player moved into their respective (if softball) position as required, BUT, the first baseman failed to execute his role.
In football, the quarterback drops back to pass. He is well protected by the offensive lineman. He throws a perfect pass to the receiver standing alone in the end zone with no defenders in the area for 20-yards.
He, too, drops the ball.
In both of those examples, the flow of teamwork worked perfectly. It was an individual who failed to execute their respective role that caused “teamwork” to fail.
That’s why I say, “teamwork” is an individual sport.
A few years ago I was working on a project to help a senior leadership team at a regional credit union raise their level of “teamwork.”
I asked for definitions of teamwork and one of the participants suggested this:
“Teamwork is a series of individual interdependent successful efforts.”
I loved it! And, with her permission have adopted it.
This is a vitally important concept in workplaces today.
There is too much emphasis on creating teamwork and not enough emphasis on providing individual team members the incentive and the reasons for them to participate in teamwork.
And, when “teamwork” fails, teamwork gets blamed, and no one is responsible or held accountable.
Have you ever experienced that?
So, what do you think? Leave a comment below and continue the conversation.
Feel free to argue with me, too. I’d love to explore this concept deeper.
‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!