Nothing ever truly great is completed by a single person working alone anymore.
Now it is done by teams.
Teams leverage off of one another to create something greater than themselves.
The ’emergent effect of teamwork’. When a well-synchronised team works what they create is a multiple of their linear additions.
Being a lone rockstar was possible in the past.
The imagery of lone wolf is still glorified by some.
But the truth is, wolves (as with humans) are pack animals. They operate best in a core group, watching each others’ blind spots.
The problems of the past were simpler. With less prerequisite knowledge and narrower skillsets required.
But the problems we are solving now take cooperation. They require divergent perspectives working together to see a problem from many sides.
The military adage of “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast” is to say… Do it right the first time, don’t just rush through and make mistakes that will block your progress. These mistakes would make whatever it is take longer overall.
Toeing the line.
You will need to move rapidly enough to stay afloat, but not recklessly – “more haste, less speed”.
It’s akin to crossing a shallow, rushing stream, while being chased by a tiger.
Take steady, measured steps forward. Carefully placing each step is vital. Slipping would mean getting caught.
Bringing in different expertise and experiences increases the probability of success. There are more cumulative past-mistakes to learn from. More contacts to lean on. More lessons to share.
Somewhere between 3-7 makes for a strong single unit that can cooperate under a single leader.
Maybe you’re that leader, maybe you’re a team member.
Both are highly valuable. Both are completely necessary.
“It is a leader’s job to create a bigger canvas for you to do your best work on”, was something that Scott Farquhar, co-founder of Atlassian, said to me today that really struck home.
So when given the choice between elevating yourself, or elevating your team, always pick the team. The rising tide floats all the boats.
If you forget to raise the tide, you’ll constantly run ashore on the shallow rocks.
Humans are social creatures, a network of connections. Strengthening bonds through giving and helping. The reason we get such a high from giving is that to give selflessly helps the greater group.
When you create a network that you give into, those other people will be giving to each other, including back to you. Rising the tide for all of you.
The thing is, this is not really a zero-sum game, this is like the biggest Ponzi scheme ever, and it’ll go until you die.
But this Ponzi scheme is without the negative baggage because the value is the intangible asset of trust.
The giving tree
Funnelling resources around the group. It used to be that the community only traded internally but in today’s globalised economic climate money flows in and out of communities allowing the possibility of an unprecedented influx of wealth.
But, you only have 24 hours in a day. You are incredibly constrained with what value you can create. 8 of which you probably work. 8 of which you hopefully sleep. Leaving you with only 8 spare hours.
I’m guessing you’ve probably bought a round of drinks before. Something you may have noticed is that the first person to buy a round, probably drinks for free all night after that.
Often getting back far more than they gave as people get drunker and drunker, repeating the chorus of, “oh yeah, you got the first ones, hey?”.
What’s the point?:
- If you give into the group, generously, honestly and sincerely, the group will give back at multiples of what you offered.
- Thereby expanding the amount of reach of your reputation and the amount of value that you can create in your measly 8 hours a day.
- People respect those that bring others up, and suspect those that only look out for themselves.
The main thing to remember is that when attempting to bring others up, if you do it because you want to benefit, people will know.
Humans have evolved to be highly skilled at spotting deceit, because it would often mean a risk of death.
You don’t want to be sniffed out for being disingenuous. No-one wants to be led by a rogue. Trust is the glue that aligns the team. If you’re caught being destructively selfish: Trust = gone.
Be a team player. Because nothing great is done alone anymore.