Much has been said about the passing of one of my personal heroes this week. Much said more eloquently and elegantly than I could ever manage. So I’m not going to add to it.
I’m going to talk about teams.
I am in several teams. I have colleagues within my employer team, I have employees who work in a different team. I have friends with whom I share projects and hopes. I have friends who play games once a week with me in the team. My wife and I are a team. Sometimes, in online games, my brother and I are a team. I love meeting with my teams, working with my teams, playing with my teams. The sense of accomplishment I get from working with other humans surpasses everything.
This isn’t to say that every team I’ve been involved in has been successful. Some fail because of personality conflicts, some because people want different things out of it or because the level of commitment to the team is different. And none of this is necessarily wrong. Everyone dictates their own level of involvement in teams and if it doesn’t work out, then it’s best to move on and try again. And it’s important to try again.
There’s very little than one person can achieve. This is different to personal achievement. A successful entrepreneur works with teams of people to achieve goals. They’re not involved in every aspect of the work but they may have to oversee much of it to understand it, to appreciate it.
The mark of a great team is the ability to achieve goals in spite of the difficulties of humans working together. We are social animals but we’re also individuals and individuals can be distracted by the ups and downs of everyday life. The challenge is not to let these distractions get in the way of delivering for the team; whether the team is the family, the workplace, the social group or the football team. And in some teams the stakes will be higher than others.
Being part of a team means agreeing to the social contract of that team. In workplaces or marriages, this tends to be formalised, understood. In other teams, it may be casual. It requires some of your time, some of your attention. It requires some commitment. If you expect others to deliver for you, then at some point you have to set aside the time to deliver for them, for the team.
Figuring out how much of your time and attention, how much ‘me’ you put into the team will ultimately dictate what you get out of it.