The benefits of team playing are patently obvious, no? Strength in numbers makes up for obvious personal, single member deficiencies and a deep wall is stronger than a narrow one, yes? Well maybe. Read on.

What scares people about teams? What makes them shy away from playing in a group structure? What keeps them from giving their all to the squad, and why do some of us actively derail the line-up by refusing to engage with the troupe?

Lots of big questions and no lack of deep answers, yet I would like to propose a thought that might cut through a lot.

It seems to me that we often worry about watering ourselves down in the individual sense and our company in the business sense, when we begin discussing conglomerates and amalgamated thinking. So-called integration can feel like assimilation from some perspectives, and assimilation rarely adds up to the sum of its parts.

Yet that doesn’t have to be the case. Think on this:

“The strength of the team is each individual member.
the strength of each member is the team.”
Coach Phil Jackson

Lest you think that I have out of laziness simply pandered to the seduction of using sports quotes – always “motivational” – let me share a bit on Coach Jackson.

For those who don’t follow American Basketball, and I know there are many, Phil Jackson was a member of the New York Knicks Championship team of the early 1970’s. This team was a best-in-class, Harvard Business-like case study on building a winning franchise.

Every player on the team was unique and had a different and outstanding personality. The substitute players – or the “bench” as it is known – was deep and powerful. There were no stars. That being said there were outstanding players, but their own power was brought out by the power of the whole. And after they retired, this team produced successful coaches and even a U.S. Senator. Not bad.

Jackson went on to coach the Chicago Bulls, taking a player by the name of Michael Jordan and making him a team man -a team that went on to win and win even after Jordan’s retirement. He then did the same for Miami with a star named Shaquille O’Neil.

Bottom line, this is a quote – a thought – from a man who walks the walk, not just talks the talk.

The lesson? Stars worry they won’t shine and the rest of us worry we will get overpowered. The truth is we can all personally get better, develop ourselves more wholly and achieve greater results if we understand that teams don’t have to homogenize. They can help us all develop our fullest and most powerful potential.

Choose. it’s your call.

Do you have a great case study on this topic of teams? If so, I’d like to see it! Thanks!

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