The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

May 26, 2013

Jesse Wilkerson: There is no I in team

ANDERSON, Ind. — Architecture school is a well-rounded educational experience. You start out learning how to work with other people. Through constant evaluation and “constructive criticism” you navigate a process of designing a building project from the ground up. Oftentimes you find the project approach involves learning other people.

The goal is to problem solve with others who see the same problem that you do. No matter who those other individuals tend to be you expose your weakness somewhere down the line. The counter-intuitive notion is also true. There is an open exposure not only of yourself, but of those you are working with as well.

As well as the open exposure of weaknesses there is also this open display of the individual strength  and oftentimes, later revealed, collective strength of the team. No matter how the team is structured there is no “I” in team. What is a team?

A team is a group of individuals who by selection or assignment have assembled themselves or been assembled to participate in, conquer, win, and defeat a challenge, challenger (s), or object. It is a unit so devoted to a cause that they act in unison to fulfill a role that will provide the opportunity to reach their desired goal. It is a kit of individual parts that operates, functions and solely exists to establish its strength. The team is most effective and beneficial when each member understands the significance of his or her role as an individual, but then is also capable of asserting their strength at the most appropriate time for the benefit of the team.

In business, I have watched deals transpire where there seemed to be a misunderstanding of roles or people out of position. Then it gets personal. The tone changes from what is best for the team, what should we do to “me, my, and I.”

I have a business colleague and also a Jewish friend who shared this with me. They expressed the value of every team member. The goal is to get the most out of each other to maximize the team potential to win. Whether taking down a deal, running a restaurant, motivating your staff, or simply winning in the pickup game at the park teamwork is fundamental to at-large success.

The best team model eliminates one-man shows or communication breakdowns. Its strength is in the team’s ability to remain unified. A team that gives high performance can adjust to change. There are always things to look out for in determining your role. Am I contributing my best to this effort? Where do I fit in to the overall picture? Is it possible for me to help others be in position to shine in order to get the “win?”

When the team wins everybody on the team wins.

Jesse J. Wilkerson is the owner of a local architecture and design company. His column appears here every other Monday.

 

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