I came across this old fable somewhere on the internet. See if it helps you see your team a little more clearly.
Once upon a time there was a poor farmer with two trusty farmhorses. Coming home from a long day working in the field he came around the corner and saw a beautiful carriage that had gone off the road–tilted and stuck in the mud. The beautiful horses that were harnessed to the carriage strained and pulled, but they were unable to get it back onto the roadway.
After watching for a bit, the farmer offered his help on the condition that the he use his own horses instead of the expensive steeds. Happy for any help that might come along, the carriage owner eagerly agreed.
The farmer hitched his two horses to the coach. He gave them each an encouraging pat on the rump and said, “c’mon, giddyap…” The two tired farm horses pulled steadily, slowly freeing the carriage from the muck & mud.
The carriage driver was flabbergasted. “I don’t understand! I paid top dollar for these horses. Yours are just average at best And old! Why couldn’t my horses get me unstuck, but yours succeeded?”
The farmer explained, “Your horses were impressed with themselves and each of them wanted to be star of the moment. They strained and pulled, but not in unison. My two horses just wanted to get the job done so they could get home to their barn and hay. They worked together. And two weak horses pulling together are still better than two strong ones that pull apart.”
Real teamwork involves commitment to a common purpose and goal.
Does your team have a common goal? Are they more concerned with how this project or position will lead them to the next level? What’s more important to your team members– the goals of the team or each individual’s goals?