I have worked for HG Logistics LLC, a third party logistics company in Cincinnati, OH, since its start up 3 1/2 years ago. Recently, I was given the title “Team Leader.” I felt a good place to start in learning my new position was to concentrate on the “team” aspect. Coincidentally, I had just read a book that addressed this very idea called The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack. Stack emphasizes the idea of approaching business as a game, not because he does not take it seriously, but because he does. Part of the “game” concept is making everyone, from the President to the janitor, feel as though they are part of the team. Stack explains the importance of the team is to ensure everyone is working towards the same goals.
Although I found his book quite interesting, I also read a story my daughter wrote about for a school assignment that I found even more inspiring. Even though she is writing about the qualities of a successful athlete, I believe these same qualities can apply to anyone who wants to be a good team player in the business world. Following is what she had to say about the qualities of a team leader and the significance of teamwork.
Talent, attitude, strength of mind, leadership, and perseverance are all qualities I believe make up a successful athlete. However, I have concluded that it is not always the athlete with the multi-million dollar contract that is the most successful. There is one man I read about that fits the description better than most of your top athletes. You have probably never heard of Dick Hoyt, but him and his son, Rick, teamed up to run the Ironman Triathlon, one of the most grueling sporting events in which anyone can participate. What makes their story so amazing is that Rick has been handicapped since birth when his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and cut oxygen off to his brain. As a result, Rick cannot swim, ride a bike, or run. Therefore, when they compete, Dick swims while pulling Rick lying in a small raft, cycles with Rick sitting in a seat-pod attached to the front of the bike, and runs while pushing Rick in a special wheelchair.
Dick Hoyt had to possess all the necessary characteristics of a successful athlete to even attempt such a task. Dick had the natural athleticism to swim 2.4 miles, cycle for 112 miles, and run for 26.2 miles. However, it was his go-to attitude that carried him through the course. He did not quit when the waves knocked him back and forth, or when his muscles burned with pain as he peddled up and down the course, or when he could barely catch his breath as he jogged the grueling path. He maintained a strong mindset as he focused on the reward the race had to offer—the reward of seeing the smile on his son’s face as they crossed the finish line, the trust in his son’s eyes for a father who kept his promises, and the love in his son’s heart for a father who sacrificed it all. Dick was the leader who led by example, and united them together as a team. Dick provided the physical and Rick the mental. Dick was his son’s legs, and Rick was his father’s motivation. They persevered and together they finished the race.
Rick did not even have the ability to walk, yet his father, Dick, could never have accomplished what he did without Rick. They did not win the race, but together they crossed the finish line, and they both became winners.
My goal as Team Leader at HG Logistics LLC is for all employees to work as a team in order to overcome each others’ weaknesses and to build on each others’ strengths. When we work as a team, we are all playing the same game, shooting for the same goals, and in the end, we too will be winners.