Team building


I invited a new classmate to join our volleyball team. Thought I kill two birds with one stone: we could use a tall guy, and I couldn’t bear seeing him unfriended during recess. Turned out he couldn’t play well, but we got to be friends for life.

We pitched in to buy a professional ball. Took it out for a test-drive.

Before I even got my chance at that spanking new white ball, it bounced to the street, ran over by a car, and voila! Memory of shared disappointment.

But Team!

Then we went out and had some lunch. The neighborhood gangs there just walked up and started to punch each of us to the ground. Back then, one of our oldest classmates had a brother in the army. He went home and took out an M-16 to scare away the hoodlums. Team!

Later in life, I have always been a team player: my brother got married, OK.

I would take care of mom, heck with my broadcasting career! Team.

The Boat People died at seas? I stood up and joined two other graduates. Together, we rolled up our sleeves, and spent our summer in hot, crowded and often times, violent (due to cramp living) prison-turned-refugee camps.

Team!

When it was my turn to lead, a joint Chinese and Vietnamese team (historically at war as nations) I made sure we spent a lot of time around food,

sharing meals and sharing deals. Team.

Families broke down because they forgot that Team came first.

Great teams just don’t happen by accident.

It needs everyone to commit to a common goal, and yes, it needs to define clearly who it is competing against (Apple vs IBM, MCI vs ATT or Samsung vs Sony).

Team needs various personalities to achieve optimal results.

But personality conflicts cause headaches.

Team leaders should embrace diversity of opinion, temperament and  ( emotional and social) intelligence.

Let conflict boil to the surface. Team’s fiber could withstand some strains and be made stronger as a result.

You know your team is fully functional when it moves as a unit: each knows his/her SWOT. Team leaders are not always right. They just know how to draw out the best in each member.

Team has its learning curve and maturity as well.

Even the best team can’t stay together forever. When you get teary at goodbye, you know you had a good team experience.

I would trade a B teammate over a A lone wolf any day.

No wonder Southwest Airlines consistently outperform its nearest competitor.

People who work there seem to and do have fun. They sing to, they smile at and they serve you as if each flight were their last. Because of this, we have yet seen SW last flight since their opening day.

We did not choose our families. But team does pick you as much as you let yourself be changed by it. Nothing worthwhile is accomplished without great teams. And no rewards greater than that of a team bringing home the first prize. Esprit de corps. That’s what it is all about. The high-fives or the tap on your shoulder when you are down and out (World Cup Final).  Come on! Focus! Next play!

Ask my tall classmate whose first handshake ends up lasting a life time.

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