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Life is not a game you can play alone.
It doesn't matter how rich or poor you are; whether you are an athlete or a couch potato. Being good looking, amazingly clever and highly educated doesn't change a thing. You could be of royal descent, and it still wouldn't matter. No way around it - life is something you do in teams. Life requires collaboration!
Literally nothing happens in this world unless it is powered by two or more people. You can't be born without at least two other people involved. You can't even be officially dead without a doctor standing there to say you are. And in-between those two bookends of life is the irrefutable reality that we have not been created to be alone.
Life is not like a game of "Pick-up-Sticks," where the purpose is to make a move without touching anything else. Every move you make does touch everything and everybody else! You cannot live a life independent of others any more than you can breathe your own air.
Anything worth accomplishing is accomplished by two or more people working collaboratively together in a miraculous, purposeful and passionate way.
Knowing the very meaning and purpose of your life depends on others. Surely we would all admit that standing alone on an island, remarking on our unique qualities and potential is pointless: there is nobody to care.
This means that my life has meaning only in relationship to your life. And your life has meaning only in relationship to mine.
This is why, in virtually every dimension of our lives, we are placed in a group of some sort. These groups of ours involve family, school, play, worship, work - every human activity you can think of. We are part of hundreds of groups and the busier our life, the more groups to which we belong.
Membership in a group is not to be trivialized, regardless of how many memberships you have or how incidental the group seems to be to you.
If you've been extended membership you are expected to participate in line with the group's norms. Indeed, if particular individuals do not participate well and violate the laws of the group, we ostracize them by revoking their group membership or simply ignoring them. For more serious and deadly offenses, we punish these people by putting them in solitary confinement!
There is something about being alone that is frightening and unnatural. We are not meant for it. It is our greatest fear.
Where did this need to come together - to group - originate?
Human 'grouping' behavior is a fundamental reflex - as basic as our need to breathe and eat. Personally, I believe God designed it that way because he saw something potentially majestic and wise in it.
But let's be clear about one thing - there is a huge difference between a group and a team!
We humans are given the incredible opportunity, and at times responsibility, to turn groups into teams. Unfortunately, we have not learned to do this very well and have let ego, selfishness, greed and a whole host of other contaminants get in the way of experiencing the miracle of teamwork. Consequently, we often limit ourselves to being a group and fail to cross over to the joy of being a team.
This book will show you how to make this wonderful leap, releasing passion and purpose in a most amazing way.
A group is a collection of people who have a convenience or even an advantage in doing something together in order to achieve an outcome they all want.
In a group you do not need to feel some deep level of connection with the other participants because the real purpose is to use the group to get something you, as an individual, want. It is not a very gracious observation, but the truth is the group is there to serve you. When it stops serving you, you leave it.
Even a family can be a group rather than a team. If there is no love between the family members and they live together just for the convenience and economy of doing so, we would hardly call them a team.
Here is another example. Maybe you attend a place of worship regularly. You can go, sit, sing, pray, confess or whatever, and not once feel a special connection with the community of worshippers around you. The most you can say is that you were part of the group that attended the service. It does not have to be that way, but it often is.
At work a number of you are in the "Home Products Sales Division." Each of you has an individual sales quota to meet. You each scramble to claim any customer who comes by, and are always on guard so that one of the others doesn't 'steal' a customer from you. There is certainly no sense of 'oneness' in your Division and, in fact, calling yourselves a division is entirely appropriate. After all, if you are not unified, you must be divided. It seems like even on a good day, the group's motto is, "Every man for himself!" No collaboration needed here!
If there is no common purpose and passion, collaboration is unnecessary.
Group members tend to be self-focused. Team members tend to be other-focused.
In a group the whole is the sum of its parts. In a team the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
So how does one move from being a group to becoming a team?
Copyright © - Ian Percy. This article is an excerpt from "The 11 Commandments for an Enthusiastic Team: Collaborating With Purpose and Passion" by Ian Percy. This incredible book comes as a gift set and includes an audio CD of Ian giving this presentation live - all bound into an embossed sleeve. Contact your local bookstore or save 25% and go to www.IanPercy.com where you can order it securely online.
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NOTE: "The 11 Commandments for an Enthusiastic Team" is only available from www.IanPercy.com.
If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about author/speaker issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Author & Speaker Coaching for specific details.
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