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The importance of teamwork

January 29, 2018


A friend of mine is a single mom with two daughters and works for a big corporation. Winter, is one of her busiest project seasons but specifically in January when she works over 80 hour a week. Right around Christmas, her apartment complex informed her that her lease was not up for renewal because they wanted to renovate the unit she had been living in the last two years. They offered her an incredible deal to move to a newly renovated unit next door, however she would need to be out of her existing unit by the end of January.


Moving day soon came so I called her the day after to see how it went. To my surprise, she told me that the movers were coming back that day because they had not finished. I offered to come help and when I arrived I was shocked at the sight I saw. She had boxes upon boxes that had yet to be taped up and were leaning against the wall. She had piles of random items not packed and scattered around her house. There were garbage bags and moving bags side by side unlabeled so you couldn't tell the difference. I felt stressed just looking at the unorganized and unpacked mess. The biggest thing that I noticed was that while everyone seemed to be doing something, no one seemed to be working efficiently or together. In that moment I knew that big changes needed to be made if we had any hopes of finishing that day.


When I approached my friend, she looked exhausted. She was sick and told me the doctor gave her a diagnosis of bronchitis and a sinus infection. She looked at me in desperation and said, “I need help! This is what I know. We are all great workers, but can’t seem to figure out how to work together as a team. I am tired, I am sick. Can you please help pull us together?”


We needed to all get back on the same page. I praised them for all the work they had already done, recognized their high level of fatigue and told them our goal was to finish this move in the most efficient and productive manner possible. We created a new game plan playing to each person's individual strengths and used hour markers to measure our progress. Once everyone knew their part in the new plan we all put our heads down and went to work. After one hour everyone was shocked by the amount of progress the team had made. We had delegated specific tasks and were working towards a unified goal. Our progress motivated and excited everyone to keep working. At 1p, we implemented a mandatory lunch break for everyone to rest, eat/refuel and plan out the remaining tasks. By then, we suspected that we had about 1 hour left of work in which we completed in 45 minutes. The team was tired but ecstatic.   


We celebrated our job well done with a short dance party, high fives, ice cream and then all sat in the hot tub to relax. We talked about how proud we were of each other and how efficient our team worked when we started working together. The 9 year old hauled 46 bags of trash to the dumpster. The 12 year old sorted through the mound of miscellaneous mess. My friend went and got her prescriptions, extra moving materials and lunch to feed the hungry crew. The movers got all the heavy furnitures into the new apartment plus many of the boxes that I had filled with items around the house. In the end, It was only because we all pitched in and stayed focused on our personal task that we got it all done in record time.


My challenge for you this week is to look at the teams in your life and ask yourself, are we working independently or are we working together? If you are not working together, what can be done? Sometimes, like my friend you need to reach out for help. If you are scratching your head right now asking yourself, “Does my team work together or how could we work more efficiently?,” reply to this email and let's set up time to talk about how we can get your team on the right track.

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