You know that old saying, "from the mouths of babes?"

It may not be politically correct to equate frontline employees with "babes" but the best insights I receive to help a small business improve its operations and bottom line results have mostly come from frontline employees.

If you're not tapping into your team members' experience and insights, you're missing out.

One example that has served me for the last eight years, in addition to helping my clients, came from a credit union teller.

A small credit union invited me to work with their team of front-line employees and  senior leadership team.

It was an unusual project in that I worked separately with the two groups and then brought them together to create a cohesive unit between them.

Early in the process I was facilitating the session with the front-line team.

This included tellers, branch managers, and loan officers. There were about a dozen people total in the session.

The first topic of the morning was "define teamwork."

We went around the room and one of the tellers, who had been with the credit union the longest defined this way:

"Teamwork is a series of individual interdependent successful efforts!"

That has been my definition of teamwork ever since.

It spoke to me and the experience I had my entire life as a sports fan, a  small business CEO, and business coach.

My question for you is this:

Can you think of a time where you have experienced "teamwork" that fails, and if so...

...How did it fail?

Teamwork only exists in the exact moment it occurs, when it occurs effectively.

If it doesn't happen...

...If a "ball" gets dropped. 

...If someone isn't where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be there...

That IS NOT a failure of teamwork!

It IS a failure of one individual not fulfilling his or her individual responsibilities to the team and their teammates.

As a leader you need to stop blaming teamwork and explore the issue with the individual team member directly.

You should also have a "team agreement" in place that allows the team members individually and collectively to address issues directly with their teammates.

Fix your individual team member commitments and accountabilities to the team and that fixes your teamwork problem. 


I've been saying for 20-years that "teamwork is an individual sport," and that "teamwork never fails, individuals fail teamwork!"

When you adopt this philosophy it will transform accountability in your workplace.

What do you think? Is teamwork an "individual sport?"

How do you see it?

What is your experience?

Scroll down to leave a comment to join the conversation.

To read more on this topic here are two other resources for you:

The foundation of teamwork is communication.

The right type of communication leads to the right behaviors and attitudes required to motivate championship performance. 

What is poor communication, negative attitudes, passive-aggressive and other non-productive behaviors, including surfing the internet, and the always popular "lack of communication" is costing your organization?

Below is  a tool you can use to see.

"Your profit-killing workplace communication cost calculator"

Click the calculator image ------------>
to get access to Your Profit-Killing Workplace Communication Cost Calculator

The foundation of teamwork is communication. The right type of communication leads to the right type of behaviors and attitudes required to motivate championship performance

So, if you'd like to accelerate your journey to creating "a financially and emotionally rewarding place to work," go here to schedule Your Championship Work Environment Accelerator Session with me.

'Til Next Time, All My Best...

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