Our nation is in the midst of what is affectionately called March Madness.
Between March 15 and April 4, 67 games involving 68 teams will be played until one team survives as national champion. Even for the most casual basketball fan among us, it is difficult not to get caught up in the chaotic and frenzied activity surrounding the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Whereas most often the tournament is won by one of the teams that is expected to do so, one of the strongest attractions for fans is the fact that annually (and especially this year), there are underdog teams who shock the basketball world by upsetting one of the highest ranked teams – i.e. Michigan State’s loss to Middle Tennessee.
Team is a word that you hear a lot associated with March Madness. Every group of players wearing the same jersey is called one. But just because a group of athletes wearing the same jersey is called a team, there is no guarantee they will play well as a team once the game begins.
Effective teamwork is essential to success in life where a group exists with a common mission and purpose. Whether it is a family, an organization, a group of athletes wearing the same jersey, or those who make up a company like CMG, success will most often depend on how effectively the group members work as a team.
What makes for good teamwork? Another way to ask the question is this. What makes someone a good team member?
- Trust and Trustworthiness: Nothing can cause divisiveness on a team more than distrust. Members of a basketball team need to be able to trust their fellow team members to play to the best of their ability, to pay the upfront price, to do what they say they will do, to tell the truth even when it hurts, to accept responsibility, and to accept blame when necessary. Members of the CMG team need to be able to trust one another in similar ways.
- Effort: While effort in and of itself can promote a team spirit, it’s the quality of the effort which creates the greatest teamwork. College basketball team members need not only to try hard, but to make that effort using all the excellence that their skill level and practice brings to the game. While it helps for each CMG team member to give a good effort, teamwork will be enhanced most when that effort is quality effort supported by competency in sales, management, administration, or whatever he/she is expected to do.
- Acumen: One of the common threads in losing teams during the NCAA Basketball Tournament has been players on the losing team making unwise decisions and unwise plays at critical times. For example, some players have given the other team momentum at the end of a game by missing a three point shot early in the shot clock, when time needed to be run off the clock instead. The ability to make good judgments and quick decisions is called acumen. To be a good basketball team member, a player needs basketball acumen. CMG needs team members with good business acumen – the ability to make good judgments and quick decisions while presenting our product and managing an account.
- Misson focused: A member of an NCAA basketball team hurts his team when he loses focus on the main mission – winning the game at hand as a team so the team can advance to the next round. The CMG team needs individuals who stay focused on its misson – to change in a God honoring way the way clients do freight business.
The Bottom Line
Being on a team and being a good team member are two distinct things. Determine in your heart that you will be a good CMG team member, not just a member of the CMG team.
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.