“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan

Every day, I teach organizations and individuals what it means to truly work in a team environment. I do this by facilitating strategic games, survivor themed activities, in-house team building events and ropes challenge courses, just to name a few. Athletes all over the world can attest to the advantages of teamwork – the advantage of having a cohesive team of people working toward a common goal. Peyton Manning can throw all the perfect passes in the world but unless there’s someone to catch the ball, it’s futile.

During a team building event the individual and collective “aha’s” and breakthroughs that happen are amazing. After spending a day on a challenge course with a team recently, I was reflecting on the development and changes in the participants and what “TEAM” means in team building. Here’s the acronym that I use to describe the word “TEAM”:

Transformation – The transformation that can occur through activity based experiential learning is tremendous. For example, when trust is given and received, rapport accelerates exponentially. The trust fall is a common activity used in team building. For some people, it’s no big deal. For others, it’s one of the scariest things in the world. However, allowing yourself to trust your team and the others around you has a way of transforming your attitude and your heart.

Engagement – There’s a quote by an unknown source that says, “Teamwork divides tasks and multiplies successes.” Or “Many hands make light work.” Both of these quotes reflect the effects of engagement and having an attitude of togetherness. For example, social media has been bringing people together all over the world as it’s use has become mainstream. It’s been a way for people to connect and have a voice. It’s no different in the workplace. Camaraderie is a beautiful thing.

Active Learning – There is an ancient proverb: “What I hear, I forget; what I see I remember; what I do I understand.” Active learning is learning by DOING. It is how we learn best. I run into participants of events…four, five, and six years after they have had a defining moment on a challenge course and they will say, “I STILL remember doing the commitment bridge and how powerful that was for me!” Experiential learning stays with us, and we can leverage that embodied learning to help us in other areas of our lives.

Mentorship – Teamwork provides mentoring. Sometimes you are the giver, sometimes the receiver. It is an honor and learning experience for both parties, in most cases. Ken Lauher, celebrity Feng Shui consultant recently wrote about mentorship in one of his blog posts, saying:

The quantity and quality of mentors we have in our lives will greatly impact the wealth we can earn in our career. A working mother who knows she can find good child care will have better focus, leading to greater success at work. An intern with a supportive supervisor will advance quickly in his chosen career. A husband with a wife who encourages him in his business (or vice versa) will do well.

Strong mentorship gives an edge that cannot be found alone. Period.

There is a delicate balance as we all sometimes have to retreat to “me” time. But while you’re standing in the present moment, among the team you’re with, envision the championships you win-as a team-in the future. Perhaps that will make you understand and appreciate your team in a way you never have.

What experiences have you had in working with your team?

Most leaders struggle with disengagement, dysfunction, and non-productive behaviors with their teams. We deliver training that develops leaders and engages teams to increase your company results.