Last week I was out for a few drinks with Rob, a buddy of mine, and we were talking about teamwork. Having just written that, I now understand why the waitress was looking at as weird. Oh well let’s press on. Rob had mentioned that one of his coworkers would always say that there is an “I” in team. No No No, we’ve been taught through various dogma that teams work best when everybody is working towards the betterment of the team. After it was explained to me, I bought into it. Now let’s explore this a bit more.
The idea is that everybody has their own agenda no matter what it is, and for a team to be firing with all cylinders you must be aware of the individual needs and expectations of the teammates. At first I was hesitant to bite on this, but then starting putting it into my own situations and it held weight. Let’s look at Aspire Fitness first, since day one I’ve wanted to have a team of people working for clients. Now look at our team; on the training floor we currently have Jeff and Jenna, behind the scenes we have Sherri and Suzanne helping out with the logistic side of things. Outside of Aspire but still on our team we have Kelly and Melissa, helping out with Push-Ups to Pinups. We also have Rick and John from Swamp Donkey. Every single person I just listed has their own reason for being part of the Aspire team. Each person has their own expectations for joining us, it might be because they want to further their business, and it might be because they want to gain experience or it might be because they think my jokes are funny. As a team we have to be aware of each other’s reasons for being here and work within that range. Let’s take this outside of Aspire and look at it from another example.
Take a hockey team, filled with individuals each with their own goals and expectations. It’s a coach’s job to recognize these unique needs and use them to his/her advantage. If you have a goalie that wants to move up to higher level, great they’re motivated. You might have a winger that just enjoys the team camaraderie, perfect again motivated. That coach can use these things to keep the team going in the right direction. Each player will recognize that if the team does well they can reach their own goals. Being on a winning team helps the goalie get noticed, being on a winning team will help further the camaraderie amongst the team helping out our winger.
Once I wrapped my head around this it no longer seemed selfish it seemed like an asset. I can’t imagine anything worse for a team than somebody who doesn’t have an individual goal. Imagine somebody in a business setting who is just there to get a paycheck, sure their motivation is to be paid, but it’s hard to get the most out of them if it’s only financial gain in their sights. Compare that to somebody who wants to learn new skills or build on their current skillset. Long term way more of an asset for a team than somebody who is just there to be there.
All this can be boiled down to “The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. This is something I first heard in my Human Physiology course back in the day. Every cell in the body has its own job to do, but when they all work in concert they make something far greater than it could do on its own. Might sound cliché but it’s the truth. So proof that there is truly an “I” in Team.