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Does a Perfect Team Consists of Perfect People? Great Story

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Teamwork Story – Fable of the Porcupine Family

Perfect Team Means Perfect People?

I have never known a perfect team that consisted of perfect people. Perfect teams are diverse teams and each comes with people who are weak in some areas and strong in others. I love the following story that illustrates the need to work with less than perfect people, overcome our difference, and eventually become the perfect team.

This is a great leadership story to tell as part of team development or to open a meeting in which differences in personalities need to be overlooked, or where a less than perfect team is struggling to get along.

Fable of the Porcupine Family

It was the coldest winter ever in January that year. Many animals were dying. The porcupines realized that their situation was not good. So they decided to huddle together. By grouping together they would be covered, protected and stay warm. But it caused a curious problem. The quills of each porcupine began to wound the one next to them.

After awhile it was decided that it would be better to distance themselves. However, it was too cold and one by one they began to die alone and frozen. So the remaining team of porcupines made a choice; either they accept the quills of their companions or succumb to death.

Wisely they each made the decision to huddle back together. Though it wasn’t easy, they learned to make it work and meet their goal to survive the winter in warmth.

Now, again, does a perfect team consists of perfect people? Of course not. But if less than perfect people don’t learn to work together it will result in less than a perfect team. Great teams understand that and rally around, embrace and admire the strengths and differences of others.

How do you deal with differences on teams? Do you embrace them or fight against them? What are some tips you might have for others? We would love to hear your comments.

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Leave a Comment

  • Joop Lemmens April 21, 2012, 2:32 am

    Perfect people do not excist. Like Einstein said, everything is just as the way you look at it.
    Focus at your goal, let different people work together. Short of knowledge is the fuel to create. Employee’s want to create, to contribute something, to be.
    It’s like the Dutch national soccer team. The individuals are perfect soccerplayers. Together as a team they are far as perfect.

  • Mike Rogers April 23, 2012, 6:48 pm

    Thanks Martin!
    I agree. It’s what each brings that creates the strengths. If each team member had the same strength you would not be as effective. Managers often make the mistake of hiring someone like them. They should look for people that will compliment the team, not mirror it.

  • Martin (Paddy) Woulds April 23, 2012, 6:47 pm

    Mike it’s a good story with a viable meaning. One I use is Utilise the Skil sets you have available. For example we all have the Nerdy bloke who is a whiz at IT and can put together a presentation in about 5 minutes that would take you 5 hrs; you would not send him to a high profile client to do the presentation, others that like research and still others who are driven by the Buzz of the sale. Yes we need to stretch people and disturb there comfort zones to keep them sharp but I think that the differences are what make a Good team; difficult to provide perfection but I will go with good.

  • August 1, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Diversity is great: you can learn from other people’s truths and they can learn something from you just the same. And while it is true that nobody is completely and undoubtedly perfect, it is also true that everybody has something, at least one thing, perfect about them. And if we take time to notice and combine all those perfect pieces together, it is possible we could build a perfect team or community. Which is much better versus a perfect individual. –

  • Mike Rogers August 2, 2012, 5:38 pm

    Always look for the good, right Secret Staff?

  • Rajesh Sonnari February 23, 2018, 1:45 am

    These stories are very much applicable to every one life. Directly or indirectly we all are leaders in some way or the others. these stories will help to become better in our professional and personal life.


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