People talk about teamwork a lot, but does teamwork pay off? When a cynical business leader says "I don't care about teamwork, what I care about is results," what can you tell him? Tell him teamwork gets results and there's some team science to prove it. So, what do the data reveal...?
Johnson: "We had some problems with the calibrations."
Commanding Officer: "Johnson, we won't have mistakes like that on board my ship. Do you understand?
Johnson: "Yes sir."
Commanding Officer: "Smith, how did things go in your area?"
I observed a dialog just like this during a team meeting led by a seasoned Commanding Officer. Can you guess how Smith responded?
"There's quickness an individual has, but when a team has quickness together, that is what makes our game so beautiful. They played seamlessly." Those are the words of Coach Mike Krzyzewski, best known as the basketball coach at Duke University, and the US Men's Basketball team coach at the 2012 Olympics in London. But he wasn't describing his team.
Hopefully you have had the experience of being on a few excellent teams in your life, at work or at play. Unfortunately, I suspect you have also been on teams that struggled. The difference is palpable. It is no fun being on a struggling team, and not simply because of the poor results. Being on a great team makes us appreciate working with others. Being on a struggling team can make us want to work in a cave.