Thursday, October 1, 2009

Creating Teamwork - Benjamin Franklin Stlye

Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately."  I love this quote, and how true it is.  So many parts of today's life require us to reach beyond ourselves and participate with others. The basis of modern western society is that we all give something to the common goal.  Some people may see that as simply paying taxes, but it is so much more.  We volunteer at the local school or library.  We raise money for research to cure illnesses.  We teach children to read.  We work in soup kitchens, or donate food.  We spend time with our church groups bettering the community, the list goes on and on. 

Have you ever wanted something you can't have on your own?  You realize that with your effort alone the task will not get finished, the goal will not be reached and the dream will not be realized.  A good example is a play.  It is nearly impossible for one person to put on a play.  One person could do the acting, but what about building the sets, or running the spotlight, or selling tickets at the door, or opening and closing the stage curtain?  Without help the vision of a play would disappear.

Some problems are too large for one person.  World hunger is not something one individual can solve.  There is no amount of money that can change the mindset and social norms of a region.  Hundreds of thousands of people have worked toward this goal over the last few decades.  They have gone into rural areas around the globe and brought resources, equipment, supplies and education to the people.  While the elimination of worldwide hunger is a long way off, it is much closer than it was.

So how do we use teamwork to our advantage in our own lives?  Do we even need it?  (Of course the answer is yes, or why would I write this article?)  Teamwork, correctly done, motivates us.  It encourages us forward and keeps us motivated towards our goals.

As a business owner I rely on team work.  I have mentors who offer me support and root for my successes.  I have vendors who help me provide an excellent product.  I have customers who offer feedback and support.  It is amazing to see what goes into a single product, a single presentation, a single sale.

So how do you  use the power of teamwork at home? As much as I would like a team of people to help with the dishes and laundry it isn't likely to happen that way.  Do you have a project you need motivation to complete? Talk to your friends about it and have them root for you.  If the project could use other people's talents invite them to help out.  Every year I help a friend sew Halloween costumes.  What started out as a cry for help from a frustrated mom has a turned into an annual event we look forward to.

Use social media to reach out.  Programs like Facebook give you the chance to toss ideas out to a large group and get feedback from a lot of people you wouldn't normally call for advice.  Harness this "instant" teamwork to solve problems and motivate you.

Back to what Benjamin Franklin said, "We must all hang together, or assuredly, we shall all hang separately." I hope you take the opportunity to identify the teams in your life. Use them, give to them, and enrich them.

Go Team!

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