SOME MUSINGS ON TEAMWORK

I’ve just returned from a 3 week motorcycle trip to the East Coast that I took with a few fellow riders. We rode from the Los Angeles area through 17 states all the way up to Bangor, Maine.

During the trip which totaled over 5200 miles, we experienced, bad storms (the kind where cars & trucks are pulled over to the side of the Interstate), hot weather, cold weather and multiple other distractions that could have delayed or ended the trip but we pressed on and ultimately prevailed.

Our main goal was to attend a 93 year old motorcycle rally in Laconia, New Hampshire and that goal was achieved.

As with any venture, we were dependent upon each other for many things among just a few were planning, navigation, gas stops, food stops, motel reservations and, most of all, safety. We had no accidents, no mechanical breakdowns, no tickets and no one was injured.

There were times when we disagreed, compromised, argued (from spirited debates come better decisions) but generally went with the group wisdom. We have all ridden together for several years and consider each other to be friends. We knew that it would take all of our cooperation, collaboration and discipline to achieve the goal.

At the end of the trip, I reflected on how we worked together, what went well and what was difficult for us and it struck me how similar this was to almost any business situation.

Sure, we had a ride leader but this group was comprised of strong, opinionated individuals all with a great deal of riding experience. When you consider running a business or a major project, isn’t this the general make-up of most teams? I am convinced that what made us successful were a few important things.

  • Mutual respect for each other
  • Sharing a common goal
  • A healthy disdain for failure
  • Wanting very much to win

When faced with business challenges, it is important to look at your resources in a positive way, consider the depth of experience at your disposal, deeply internalize the team’s commitment to success and always listen to each other. When bright people learn to appreciate each others strengths and to compensate for their weaknesses just about everything is achievable.

How’s the teamwork in your organization?

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