Teamwork: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat
We're in the throes of football, post-season baseball, volleyball—whether we're watching a game live or remotely, we experience joy or frustration while watching our favorite team. When our team isn't doing well, the frustration can cause us to throw things at the TV, leave the stadium or say things that we wouldn't say in a house of worship.
Why do teams fail?
You can look at sports teams and come up with a number of conclusions: The team failed to score because it wasn't as strong as the opposing team, it was outplayed, it has a poor coach who didn't push the players enough, it doesn't have talent, etc.
Sometimes team members don't know how to play as a team. There isn't trust. The goal is unclear. Plays aren't communicated well. One individual wants to be the star and forgets that "there is no 'I' in team."
All of us are on teams. We might be part of a company or a department within the company. Suppliers work with distributors as a team to deliver something of value to the end-buying customer. We may consider our families as a team or play a sport in our free time, being a member of an athletic team.
The concept of "team" is defined as a group that is linked by a common purpose. Interdependent teams are those where no significant task can be accomplished without the cooperation and help of all team members. While some team members specialize in specific positions or tasks, no one team member can "win" on their own. The success of the team is dependent on the team—not on any individuals.
People who have played interdependent team sports—those where each member of the team is reliant on other members to achieve a result (football, volleyball, baseball, basketball, rugby, etc.) understand the concept. Numerous studies link success in business to success on the playing field in our younger years. Teams either learn to work together and have success—or they don't, and they fail.
Legendary football coach Knute Rockne said, "The secret of winning football games is working more as a team, less as individuals. I play not my 11 best, but my best 11."
Consider the various teams that you're on. We're all part of at least a few. How can we play our position better and contribute to the success of the team? Keeping the goal in mind and moving toward it with our teammates—equally important to us—will get us a lot further than relying on our own abilities.