Teamwork: Teams That Successfully Go the Distance… Go Together

November 1 2012, By , No Comments

Recently, I received an email from a gentleman (I’ll call him Claude) who had visited and read through the Third Alarm website.  He wrote that he was, “… very intrigued by the Third Alarm approach, but for the area of teamwork, his was a small three person office and that teamwork was a very simple matter.”  Teamwork for this small group, Claude explained, “…even extends to covering the phones each time someone has to go to the rest room, where we use the ‘you go then I’ll go’ procedure. “

I laughed out loud as I read this, immediately calling to tell Claude that he had made my day.  I found that his humorous play-on-words with the Third Alarm teamwork motto — “you go, I go”– not only entertaining, I also found that his remarks illustrated the reality of teamwork.  Because no matter how large or small a team may be, teamwork actually starts with the attitude of each individual involved.

The benefit of teamwork is to realize a coordinated, collaborative, and cooperative effort by a group of people.  Claude’s “you go then I’ll go” team approach exemplifies this.  Yet, if the entire group doesn’t participate in a way that serves the greater good of the team, then teamwork and the associated benefits will not exist.

For teams of any size, there are moments when just one individual not participating as a team member can destroy the “you go, I go” mind-set.  One of the reasons that this type of situation is so important to identify, and to quickly correct, is to prevent the resulting loss of synergy.

When two or more people come together to work at accomplishing a shared goal synergy becomes a powerful ingredient in the recipe for success.  Synergy multiplies the total input from the individual team members, thus creating a much greater output from the team as a whole.  But what happens if we have a lack of teamwork and we experience the opposite of synergy?

What word describes the opposite of synergy? I wasn’t sure, so I went in search of the answer and found a blog that explored this very question.  Mr. Tom McLoughlin used, “synergy” (with quotation marks) to describe the opposite of synergy.  And Mr. Michael Fischer created the word “antergy” and defined it as, “everyone scurrying around accomplishing little.”

So you decide how best to describe the opposite of synergy — choosing “synergy,” antergy, or something else – but regardless of how we say it, we all need to ensure that our team never finds itself, “scurrying around accomplishing little.”  High performance teams share a level of togetherness that creates the synergy necessary to be the best at whatever the team desires to accomplish.

Teamwork is the culmination of each individual participating as a committed member of the team.  When people come together to work in such a way – the multiplying force of synergy will consistently produce the best outcome possible.   With the right attitude your team will become a high performance team, and successfully go the distance –because — they go together.

About the Author:

Tom Pandola is a Leadership Trainer and Consultant delivering real word leadership principles to individuals, business teams and organizations. After 25 years with the LAFD and serving as a captain and battalion chief, Tom moved on to business leadership positions and discovered how the same principles that allowed him to successfully lead others to navigate the dangers and challenges of firefighting and rescue operations, also produces success in everyday business.

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