If you are like most, you have had your share of good teamwork experiences and your share of bad. I had an experience I will never forget.
As a young boy, I witnessed first-hand the consequences of team members giving up on their team. I had been selected to be on a tug-of-war team in grade school that was part of a bigger Olympic-type of event. We had gathered around the blacktop playground and were put on fairly even teams with about 20 kids on each side. A large ship rope was placed in each of our hands, and when our teacher gave the signal, we all started pulling as hard as we could.
My team was beginning to win as we worked together in unison. Suddenly, as we pulled with all of our might, the rope jerked back, and we fell to the ground. It became apparent that something had gone terribly wrong. The kids on the other team were holding out bloody hands, with many of them screaming and crying. It was a horrible scene that is etched in my mind forever.
It turned out that a few members of the other team had given up and let go of the rope. As soon as they let go, the force of our pulling yanked the rope right through the hands of those on the other team who were still holding tight to the rope.
As horrible as this event was in my life, it taught me a great lesson about not letting others down on my team. On every team, when one person let’s go, the entire team suffers some kind of damage.
Trustworthy teammates never let go of the rope. Knowing that you can depend on others is foundational to teamwork.
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