“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” — Richard Branson
I grew up playing team sports and was fortunate enough to be on some great teams. I played football in high school with 3 guys who would go on to play in the NFL and 2 of them won super bowl rings with different teams.
I played baseball all the way through college and played with some guys who were drafted to play Major League Ball, none of them ever made it to prime time, but they were good. Our high school baseball team was super good, we were a top 5 team in our state all 3 years of high school and we as a group won two state championships in our summer Babe Ruth League.
This is impressive for a small town of less than 10,000 people!
Growing up, I thought I was better than I was. I believed my own press. I got my name in the newspaper a lot for football and baseball. But, I never got drafted and I didn’t play football after high-school. I wasn’t as good as I thought I was.
There were times I wasn’t a good team mate. I hated to lose more than anyone. I took loss as a personal failure. I didn’t see loss as a chance to learn back then and I acted like an individual many times blaming my teammates for the loss, or thinking if I would have been the one at the plate, or with the ball in my hands at crunch time we would have won. We won a lot of games back then…and it most likely wasn’t because of me. I contributed, but it took the whole team.
Luckily, I have grown up as a leader. I learned to study leadership and learn from some great mentors along the way. I have led teams that have excelled and am leading teams now that work well together. And I have learned as the leader, I am to blame when it doesn’t work out. I set the pace, I raise the sails of the team boat and I create the culture of winning, teamwork and trust…or I can allow the culture of mediocrity to set in. But most importantly it takes everyone on the team to make us successful…not one individual, but all the drops of every individual are needed to make the dream work!
What are you doing as a leader to cultivate team work and make sure each individual count? Does everyone know how they individually contribute to the overall success of the team? Does everyone know the values and how they are lived out?
These are just a few of the questions you as a leader need to answer and deliver on.