Teamwork Boosts Performance

Simply knowing that others are supporting you in your endeavor can be a huge motivating and encouraging force. This force will put wind in your sails to help you to sail right on past all of the doubts that come along to challenge your confidence. Challenges like the huge pile of work, the complexity of the job, the breadth and depth of knowledge required, your own inexperience and on and on. Imagine a team supporting you and you will immediately feel more confident that you can execute and overcome all of these issues.

A man walked along a country road. Up ahead, the road turned upward at the beginning of a long, steep hill. As he approached the incline, he found a farmer with a heavily loaded wagon on his way to the market in town. A single tiny donkey strained at the yoke in front of the cart.

“How can you possibly expect the little donkey to pull that huge load up the hill?” the man asked the farmer.

“Simple,” the farmer replied, “it’s called teamwork.”

“Teamwork?” the man was puzzled.

“Sure,” said the farmer, “watch this.” The farmer turned and yelled toward the little donkey.

"Pull, Benny, pull!"

"Pull, Jackie, pull!"

"Pull, Amos, pull!"

“I’m confused,” the man said, “you just called your donkey by three different names. How does that help?”

“Ah, you see, the little donkey is blind. If he thinks there are other donkeys pulling alongside him, he works a lot harder. That is how we get the cart up the hill. Teamwork!” the farmer grinned as the heavy cart began surging forward.

The donkey is more confident that the team will be able to get the job done with his help, so he works harder for the team. Accountability is a key element of team motivation. Individuals often feel more accountable to other people than they do to themselves. Many people go to a fitness club or gym to work out because there are trainers and friends who hold them accountable for their progress.

If you believe that other people have made a commitment to support you, you are inclined to want to prove to them that their trust and confidence are well vested in you. This is like an inflation proofing mechanism. Look around at your supporters and see that they are all cheering you on, waiting expectantly for your next move or even rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help. When you see that, you're more likely to buckle down and get on with it despite the obstacles.

"Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work". Vince Lombardi

Even if the responsibility for your work or project is yours alone, having a team of supporters allows you to make a commitment to it as though it were a group effort. If your business depends exclusively on your own brainpower for everything you do, you are severely limiting your capacity. No matter how smart you are, you simply cannot outthink a team in all the aspects of a complex business undertaking. Don't underestimate the value of any insight you can get from the most unlikely sources. Each of us has people around us that are willing to share their thoughts and ideas if we were willing to be open to receiving them.

People at the lowest levels in an organization often have a clearer understanding on specific issues. Their perspective is not clouded by everything else that needs to be done in the company. Sometimes the solution is simpler than we think it might be. Humans have a tendency to complicate things. If we don't understand them, it must be because they are very complicated and so we assume we need to engineer complex solutions.

Sometimes our ego gets in the way. We shy away of asking other people for their thoughts and ideas because we don't want to appear vulnerable and not totally in control of everything. The person who values input from a diverse range of people, listens to them, and uses that input to make wise and sound decisions is indeed more in control of their destiny than one who believes they need to do it all by themselves.

"Strength lies in differences, not in similarities". Stephen Covey.

In a large corporation, many peers and subordinates can help you think things through with creative ideas and solutions to problems. Entrepreneurs don't have this built in resource and they need to reach out and find people as advisers. The relationship could be formal, as in a board member role, or it could be casual and built on a loose arrangement with a diverse range of individuals. Advisers can include family members and friends. A hundred diverse ideas will beat ten of your own any day of the week. Those are good odds. As a team, you will pull harder, think smarter, and dramatically increase the odds of success in your favor.

#teamwork #teamperformance #empoweredteam

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