May 25, 2011

How Many I’s on Your Team?


Last week, I was meeting with a client and we got into exchanging business clichés. When she used the “There’s no “I” in team”, I corrected her. I relayed a post I had written here a couple of years ago and it reminded me that most people don’t sift through the archives. This was originally published in January 2009.


We travel in packs, so it’s safe to say you more often work in a team environment. A group of people all wandering in different directions can be extremely dangerous. When we can share ideas with each other, magic can happen.


One of the coolest television shows ever was Long Way Down featuring actor Ewan McGregor along with his best mate and fellow actor Charley Boorman. This was the follow-up to their original trip entitled Long Way Around which began in April 2004. The goal was to take the long way around the earth - on motorcycles.


Charley, Ewan and their crew left from London, crossed over to mainland Europe then rode to France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Alaska, Canada, into the U.S. and finally arrived in NYC. You don’t just wake up one more morning and try this. It takes a lot of preparation and a lot of people.


In January 2004 the boys began intense physical training which included weights, boxing, and cardio. In between workouts, they joined the rest of the team for intense road planning research. They also had to educate themselves on issues such as possible bear attacks, language barriers, passports, every possible weather condition, medicine, proper supplies and just for fun there was a television crew filming everything from day one.


They also had to be trained to deal with survival issues, possible hostile environments and of course first-aid. Nutritionists, GPS experts and seasoned outdoor travelers were consulted. All this to prepare for their mammoth trip.


Three years later, they wanted to do another trip. This time, Scotland to South Africa. The same detail had to go in to this trip as with the last. They ran in to some passport issues and Ewan broke his leg which delayed things. But when you see them riding their bikes around the Great Pyramid of Giza or stopping to bungee jump over Victoria Falls, it's proof the prep was well worth it. Long Way Around was 115 days covering 15,000 miles. Long Way Down covered more than 20,000 miles in 85 days.


You may not have the desire to spend twelve months of your life training and riding motorcycles but the elements are the same. Working in a team environment takes many moving parts and many talented people who can take thoughts and turn them into actions and results.

You have to imagine the idea, inspire the rest of the team to get moving, integrate everyone involved and implement the plan.

Give some thought to the I's on your team.

Kneale Mann

image credit: visualphotos
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