How Teams Win and Individuals Lose
Olympic Cyclist Mara Abbott suffered a heartbreaking loss in Rio last Sunday. With only seconds to go in the race, Abbott fell from Gold to nothing. Like a champion, she was dignified in the loss.
You never win – in any meaningful way – on your own.
The image of three cyclists reeling in Abbott burns in my memory. She’d pumped her heart out. But three is better than one.
Sweden’s Emma Johansson, Italy’s Elisa Longo Borghini and Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands worked together, while Abbott labored alone.
Abbott’s riding partner, Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten horrifically crashed on the down hill before the final flat along Copacabana beach.
Individuals, regardless of their talent, need teams to thrive. Abbott’s 40 second lead – with minutes to go – vanished as three riders took turns fighting the wind. Two rested while one worked. Abbott, drenched in sweat, battled on her own. With less than 200 meters to go, she lost the fight.
7 team principles:
#1. Put yourself in situations where others depend on you. You won’t matter until you matter to others.
#2. Engage in something where failure matters. Eject casual and safe.
#3. Think first about getting on someone else’s team. Don’t fret about who’s getting on your team.
#4. Celebrate diversity. Tension is the doorway to creativity.
#5. Eliminate drifting. Expect participation and contribution from every team member.
#6. Work through conflict in the open. Secrets make teams dumb.
#7. Work on the way you work together. Three or four times a year ask:
- What words best describe the way we work together?
- How might our meetings be more effective?
- Who needs to speak up more?
- How might the leader of our team improve our meetings?
- How would you orient a new team member to our mission and culture?
Remarkable success requires a team.
What do successful teams avoid?
What suggestions do you have for building successful teams?
Thanks, Dan. Perfect day for these reminders.
Thanks Steve. I’m glad to see you popped in today.
>> What do successful teams avoid? <<
The "after meeting, meeting" an '80's pseudo efficiency tool , it also shut out voices of some. Looking backward a mistake in my leadership style of by-gone days…
If you want a sub-committee, establish a sub-committee and open a communication pathway.
Thanks Ken. Good addition. Sadly, in some organizations, the real meeting happens with the power brokers in the hallway after the meeting. Why not just tell the power brokers to meet without everyone else and save time and resources.
It is a really sweet life to be an independent person with full knowledge that you are surrounded by a close knit team of people you can depend upon and vice versa ……….
Thanks Imelda. The juxtaposition of independent and connected is important. Thanks for adding your insights.
This reminded me of an article in today’s morning news on the cowboys new slogan ’17″‘ taken from the sayings of John Scolinos from a 1996 message when he was head baseball coach at Cal Poly Pomona. Home plate is 17″ whether you are plain little league- pro’s.. The whole team has to focus on those same 17″ to be successful. Great story at http://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2016/08/08/cowboys-new-17-inches-slogan-jason-garrett-accountability
Thanks Lyndie. One great skill of successful leaders is creating focus by highlighting what’s important now and eliminating distractions.
I appreciate that you extended the conversation. I found the article useful. Cheers
Greetings from Ireland Dan and I hope this message finds you well. Can i begin (with flattery…genuine) by saying that your leadership narratives and comments are amazing and always ‘get me thinking’! Thank you so much for sharing.
I hope you don’t mind me posing a question about giving feedback…
Giving/receiving feedback is a culture in parts of our organisation (criminal Justice) and I’m a fan of it. Usually it takes the form of 3 positives/good things and 1 area for development. This method has worked in the early to mid stages of staff development. The issue is, its so samey i.e. repetitive and i think as people grow in development they out grow the method. Have you any suggestions on methods on mixing up feedback so it stays fresh and advancing.? Perhaps taking the form of augmented learning or 3rd person perspective….
Would appreciate any thoughts or direction.
Thanks Ian. I’ll store this one away for solution Saturday. Having said that, if anyone would like to chime in, please feel free.
Timely. Succinct. And uses Abbott’s painful loss to tell a story that needs to be told and retold. As always, thanks for your sharing with the community.
Thanks Cory. It’s a pleasure to serve. Cheers