There’s No “I” In Team…(but there is “M” and “E”)


So millions of us watch the Super Bowl and the overwhelming majority of us thought that Seattle was going to give the ball to Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch to seal the deal.

Ehh, eh.

So when asked about the play, and was he surprised that he didn’t get the ball Marshawn said (paraphrasing) “No, I wasn’t surprised. We play football, it’s a team sport”.

While Marshawn is probably one of the few people in the world who isn’t surprised that he wasn’t given the ball, his answer is indicative of who he is as a player. Marshawn could have went all Keyshawn on us and said “Just give me the damn ball!” or he could have thrown the coaching staff under the bus, but by all accounts Marshawn is a great team player.

Great Teams Are MORE Than Just Great Players

Great teams aren’t made up of just great players, but they have to have great team players. If all you have on your team is a bunch of all-stars who only care about their own stats, then you won’t have a great team. No one will care about winning, they just want to make sure that they look good in the highlights, or they look good when their numbers are reviewed.

I’ve been on a number of teams, some of them winning teams, some of them losing teams. The clear difference was between the two was how well the people worked together.

The previous team I was on (a winner) while all of the players didn’t always get along, we knew how to play well together, and as a team we consistently scored high. My current team, well let’s just say that my assistant and I call it the 1999 Los Angeles Clippers. The team is in disarray, and unfortunately everyone wants to play for themselves instead of as a team. You can play in the same building with the champions (1999 LA Lakers), but you won’t win unless you play with the same culture as the champions.

The Making Of A Great Team

Here are five things that winning teams do that losing teams don’t:

  • Know your role – Whatever your position is, make sure you know how to do it better than anyone else can. Everyone can’t be the star of the show. You may not get a solo but every voice in the choir matters.
  • Trust each other to do their job – Where there’s no trust, there’s no us. You simply can’t build a successful team if you can’t trust or be trusted.
  • Understand the team vision – If each person simply works for what they believe should be done, then you’ll have a bunch of people set out on a bunch of different paths, with very few of them ever meeting.
  • Inspire each other – Shit happens. Mistakes will be made. There will be setbacks. But when the chips are down, teammates should be there to pick each other up and remind them of what they are working towards.
  • Reward each other – Even when your team has their eyes on the prize, they need small reminders along the way telling them “Good job on what you just accomplished”.

You may be wondering why I didn’t include “Good Communication” on this list. Well, because good communication weaves it’s way through everything on that list. ALL of these things, and more, make up good communication.

What other things have you seen and/or experienced that have created great teams? I’d love to hear your responses!