Garrison Wynn
Speaker, Consultant, Author

Garrison Wynn

Founder of Wynn Solutions, this keynote speaker is a former stand-up comedian and author of "The Real Truth About Success


Teams don't create success

Q: After months of acrimony in Congress, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are joining together to try to reform the financial system. In your experience, is compromise and collegiality the road to success, or to neither-here-nor-there mediocrity? When has being single-minded and uncompromising helped you, and when has it hurt you?

Really, compromise works only if the people involved have different opinions that can be forged into a single superior idea. This means that those individual opinions can't be idiotic to begin with.

Have you heard the term well-rounded team? What does that mean? Everyone on your team is chubby? No, it usually means that everyone has similar experience and agrees on most issues, which often indicates that the group will draw the easiest conclusion possible and not ruffle feathers.

This scenario usually will produce an outcome that everyone outwardly supports but privately criticizes. Like Ronco's Pocket Fisherman, it seems like a great idea ... until you think about how rarely you find yourself positioned for some impromptu fishing!

Sometimes "well-rounded" means you get the Dream Team of great minds who have just one problem: They hate each others' guts and will disagree with an idea because the "wrong person" came up with it. Just imagine if Dr. Jack Kevorkian would have been a sympathetic, kindly old physician who focused on compassion and did not look like he belonged in a Tim Burton movie. We would now have final rights over our own life.

As unpopular as it sounds, the greatest accomplishments in human existence have not involved teamwork. The individual behind the accomplishment might have been on a team and been well supported by the team, but it was not the team that made the difference; it was the individual. A group of people who are not talented or teams of people who personally dislike each other have terrible track records. It takes great singular effort in the end. How important was Thomas Edison's team without him? How great were the members of Martin Luther King Jr.'s inner group without Dr. King?

There is always the argument about Abraham Lincoln and how brilliant he was for forming and motivating a team of people in his cabinet who did not like him. We forget about all the people who turned down an invitation from the president and his wife to go to Ford's Theatre the night of his death (even the security guard who had not missed a day in years took the night off).

A team is important, and disagreement can indeed be the foundation of agreement. But if everyone hates you or everybody agrees with everything you say, run like hell!

For me personally, being single-minded has helped when I looked deep in myself and knew that others could not see my vision -- not because they were really against the concept of the plan but because of certain belief systems they held. On the flip side, my single-mindedness has hurt me when I failed to see how people who don't share my vision were somehow offended when I rammed it gently down their throat.

By Garrison Wynn  |  May 13, 2010; 2:03 PM ET  | Category:  Meeting in the middle Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I was visiting with my younger cousins, when they where arguing, I said "Hey guys, there is no "I" in team." One of them promptly responded, "yeah, but there's an "I" in win!"

The word "Compromise" in American politics is a joke. It would be nice if there were a lot more "uncompromising" collegiality in Washington. Something real might actually get accomplished.

The problem is there are 2 teams and only one leader. The second team does not recognize our leader as such and prefers to constantly campaign against him.

I agree with Garrison that it will be up to the individual at the end of the day but it is very hard to accomplish something if you cannot "inspire" your team to act.

Posted by: Rabbitsmoker | May 13, 2010 7:16 PM
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