By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to spark teamwork. Reading time: 3:23
You’re the leader of a baseball team packed with enormous hitting talent: three to four times the hitting talent on most teams.
But wait. All’s not well in this hitting paradise. Your hot-hitting team, fortified with eight players hitting over .313, finishes the season in last place –40 games BEHIND the winning team in your division.
No way!! That’s so far-fetched that could never happen. No way, you say. Just check the baseball history books.
You’ll find the ragged-pitching, hot-hitting Philadelphia Phillies in 1930 suffered through 102 lost games and finished 40 games behind the pennant- winning St. Louis Cardinals. What happened?
These Philadelphia Phillies were bat rich and pitch poor. Their hitters were blazing hot. But their pitchers were freezing cold. The Phillies pitching staff gave up a whopping 6.7 earned runs per game and allowed more than 500 hits more than the Cardinals.
Teams teem with balance. That’s why the most effective leaders realize you need the balance of both the offense and defense to win in sports, in business, in life.
No wonder aligning talent throughout the organization into a well-knit, cohesive, balanced team is a key leadership skill.
Leaders also appreciate the balance of teamwork between the two hands playing the piano, each hand reinforcing the other, each hand teaming with the other, not trying to compete with each other or conquer each other.
Balance is the key that makes music figuratively in the workplace and literally in playing the piano. Take it from Johanne Sebastian Bach noting the leadership required to play the piano:
“It’s not the autocracy
of a single stubborn melody
on the one hand
not the anarchy of unchecked noise
on the other. No, a delicate balance
between the two, is an enlightened freedom.”
Leaders know that enlightened freedom means equal importance on each part of a team’s strengths and an equal sense of shared interdependence among all parts of the team, even on one segment of a team. Consider the offense in basketball. It takes a five- player team to score a basket not one player. Or as legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden noted: “It takes 10 hands to score a basket.“
And no wonder, leaders gain even greater appreciation for the significance of teamwork in balancing your eyes to see with greater depth and understanding.
You only need one eye to see. But with two eyes, you have better depth perception. Your eyes working as a team help you to add insight to your sight.
Likewise, your insight on the factory floor or in corporate department develops much like your balanced eye sight.
That’s why all facets of the business –from accounting to production to sales to distribution etc.— must team up to work together the way all cylinders have to fire to perform optimally.
Then the team strengthens the player and the player strengthens the team. The individual and the team are made for and by each other.Or as Rudyard Kipling observed : “For the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”
After all, a team is a group of people who need each other in order to accomplish their work. A team operates “as if it has a single heart beat,” noted legendary college football coach Bear Bryant at Alabama.
When teams linked up together to form a company a “group of people who can be depended upon,” says a chief executive officer of a billion-dollar manufacturing firm. “When we turn our sights to each other and draw strength from each other, it is amazing what we can accomplish.”
Yet too often in dancing like a team we end up stepping on other people’s toes. No wonder the leader’s challenge is defined so well in Henry Ford’s observation that “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
In an ever-changing balancing act. With teams that work. And work that teems.
Balance your teams to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.
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