Testing Your Team

Throughout recorded history, there have been many individuals who have been forced to deal with incredible strife, disagreement, and dissention. Abraham Lincoln would be at the forefront of these individuals. Not only was he dealing with civil war which divided the United States into warring factions, but he was dealing with political dissention that caused him to deal with a senate, congress, and his own cabinet that were deeply divided.  He was fond of calling his cabinet a team of rivals.

A presidential cabinet is made up of individuals with areas of expertise and responsibility that they can bring to the overall cabinet to assist the president in making good decisions and carrying out the best policy. Unfortunately, Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet were all out for themselves and more interested in their own political future than the success of our president or even the survival of our country.

Thankfully, during that derisive time, the United States had a leader of wisdom and discernment in the form of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln historically is known as a peacemaker, but few people realize that before he could heal the country, he had to heal his own house. Lincoln was fond of evoking the ancient wisdom, “A house divided among itself cannot stand.”

None of us succeed on our own. Indeed, “No man is an island.” In order to succeed at the highest level, we must have a team around us. Most people understand this intellectually. They understand they are depending on others for their own success; however, only a few enlightened individuals grasp the concept that in the same way our team is to make us successful, we need to make sure they are successful.

I spend a lot of my time each day consulting with large organizations or high-level individuals. Many times, these groups or people are facing a dysfunctional situation that is keeping them from reaching their potential. I am in the habit of asking the leader, “Who are the key people that are on your team?” Then I ask the critical question that is often confused or misunderstood. “What are your team members’ goals?” I generally will receive an answer involving the organization’s goals or the leader’s goals, but rarely does anyone address or even recognize that the team members have goals. 

If you want to reach your destination, find team members to travel with you whose destinations lie in the same direction. Everyone around you has personal and professional goals. In an ideal organization, the group goals are made up of each individual team members’ goals; therefore, when the group succeeds, each person succeeds. It’s not enough to have a team that is committed to your success. You must be just as committed to their success. 

 If you are in New York City and it is your goal to drive to Los Angeles with your team, it is not imperative that each team member want to go to L.A. as long as their goals lie in the same direction. If you are leaving New York with your team and your group goal is to arrive in Los Angeles while your individual team mates want to end up in Phoenix, San Diego, or San Francisco, you are likely to succeed. But if you’re trying to drive from New York to Los Angeles and your individual teammates want to end up in Boston, Miami, and Atlanta, you have a serious problem. 

As you go through your day today, make sure your team is pulling in your direction while you are pulling in their direction.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by e-mail at Jim@JimStovall.com; or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimstovallauthor.

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