One is too small a number

A Chinese proverb states, “Behind an able man there are always other able men.” The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievement. The question isn’t whether teams have value. The question is whether we acknowledge that fact and become better team players. That’s why I assert that one is too small a number to achieve greatness. You cannot do anything of real value alone.
I challenge you to think of one act of genuine significance in the history of humankind that was performed by a lone human being. No matter what you name, you will find that a team of people was involved. That is why former US President Lyndon Johnson said, “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.”

C. Gene Wilkes, in his book, Jesus on Leadership, observed that the power of teams not only is evident in today’s modern business world, but it also has a deep history that is evident even in biblical times.

Wilkes asserts:

  • Teams involve more people, thus affording more resources, ideas, and energy than would an individual.
  • Teams maximize a leader’s potential and minimize her weaknesses. Strengths and weaknesses are more exposed in individuals.
  • Teams provide multiple perspectives on how to meet a need or reach a goal, thus devising several alternatives for each situation. Individual insight is seldom as broad and deep as a group’s when it takes on a problem.
  • Teams share the credit for victories and the blame for losses. This fosters genuine humility and authentic community. Individuals take credit and blame alone. This fosters pride and sometimes a sense of failure.
  • Teams keep leaders accountable for the goal. Individuals connected to no one can change the goal without accountability.
  • Teams can simply do more than an individual.

If you want to reach your potential or strive for the seemingly impossible – such as communicating your message  2000 years after you’re gone – you need to become a team player. It may be a cliche, but it is nonetheless true: Individuals play the game, but teams win championships.

from Teamwork 101

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