Two weeks ago, I started a series of themes of the week based on a book I had been reading last month by John Maxwell and Rob Hoskins called, Change Your World.

The first week’s theme came from Chapter 1 — “We Can’t Wait for Change,” and last week we covered Chapter 2 — “Become a Catalyst for Change.”

This week we talk about Chapter 3 – “We All Need One Another.” For all you coaches out there and for all of you who lead some type of team (actually, I imagine anyone reading this would fall into one or both of those categories), you’re going to love the ideas in this chapter.

There are so many great ideas here for anyone who is trying to get people to work together and understand the value of having a team-first attitude.

There are also a lot of great quotes in the chapter. If you did not listen to Episode 161 of the Great Quotes for Coaches podcast or my video about the chapter on the SlamDunk Success YouTube Channel, I highly encourage you to do so. In both places, I talked about quite a few of the quotes that made Chapter 3 so powerful.

I will touch on a few of the quotes and concepts here, but again, I recommend you pick up the book and read it.

Maxwell started the chapter with a quote from Mother Teresa – “I can do what you cannot, and you can do what I cannot; together we can do great things.” In many ways, that simple quote gets at the essence of teams.

Teams are filled with people with all kinds of different talents and skill sets. When they come together and work together to blend those talents and skills, thereby maximizing the effectiveness of everyone, the chances for team success skyrocket.

Maxwell then discusses a concept based on the acronym TEAM—Together Everyone Accomplishes More. He says, “A group of people becomes a team that can make a difference when the majority of its members make the transition from thinking, ‘The group is here to benefit me’ to ‘I’m here to benefit the group’.… If you want to change the world and be part of a transformation movement, you need to put we ahead of me.

Those of us in the team sport coaching world have been preaching this forever. Players need to move from a “Me” attitude to a “We” attitude if we are going to have any level of team success.

Man in the Arena

Maxwell then had the entire “Man in the Arena” speech/quote in the section “Who Is More Important Than How.”  If you have never read Teddy Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote, you MUST do so now. It has been one of my favorites for years.

It is basically talking about the concept that the people who matter most and the people whose ideas matter most are those who actually get into whatever arena one is in and who work hard and do what they need to do to try to succeed. All too often we worry about what the people “up in the stands” are saying. However, those people ultimately don’t matter for they are, “cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

I have had many times in my coaching career where the Roosevelt quote has helped me get through my share of criticisms and attacks, and I imagine many of you have felt the same way, too.

Dr. Brene Brown has felt it, too. In fact, she titled one of her most popular books, Daring Greatly, using a phrase in Roosevelt’s quote. She says, “Going back to Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech, I also learned that the people who love me, the people I really depend on, were never the critics who were pointing at me while I stumbled. They weren’t in the bleachers at all. They were with me in the arena, fighting for me and with me. Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands. The people who love me and will be there regardless of the outcome are within arm’s reach. This realization has changed everything.”

I hope both Teddy Roosevelt’s and Brene Brown’s words give you strength and comfort when you are struggling through your own difficult times dealing with critics who point out how you stumbled or could have done better.

Shared Values

In the section, “What Unites Us is Greater Than What Divides Us,” Maxwell focuses on the concept that great teams have shared values that team members are committed to.

He says, “If your values and the values of the people on the team match, you will experience alignment, unity, and effectiveness. If not, you will never feel like there is a fit; you and they will remain frustrated. Once you’ve determined there is an alignment of values, focus on what you have in common, not your differences. What we focus on expands. If we focus on our differences, our differences increase. If we focus on what unites us, then our unity increases.”

What a great concept! This is why whenever I am speaking to teams and organizations, I talk about the need for the leaders to have and share a vision for the team and then to teach the values that they believe will best help them achieve that vision.

Maxwell then talks about how everyone on a team has some unique values, and that it is important for us as leaders to put them in positions to use their value to best serve the team.  He quotes himself in The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork when he says, “All players have a place where they add the most value.” He then adds, “You have a unique role to take and unique contributions to make if you can find them. When you do, you make the team stronger, more complete.”

Collaboration vs. Cooperation

In the section, “Collaboration is More Important than Cooperation,” Maxwell and Hoskins nail home an important point that I had never really focused on before.

The concept of cooperation has always been a good thing in our world. We like it when there is a cooperative spirit in the people we work with.

But cooperation also has a feeling of, “I’m doing this because I’m supposed to, because it will help us get along better. I’m cooperating with what you are telling me to do.”

However, the concept of collaboration has a different feel to it. Collaboration is about me actively wanting to work well with others because it’s the best thing to do, the best way for us to succeed. “Let’s collaborate on this thing together to make it great!”

They talk about a method of collaboration called Collective Impact that John Kania and Mark Kramer have come up with. It includes five important agreements: 1. Common Agenda, 2. Shared Measurement System, 3. Contributing Activities, 4. Continuous Communication, 5. A Support Team. I will not go into more detail on them here. Again, read the book, as this is another section of gold nuggets.

Winning Together

This is probably the most impactful section of the book for me personally. This is where Maxwell told the story of former NFL football player Casey Crawford. I will not go into all the details of his story here.

What I will say is that Casey Crawford left football after only three years because he wanted to “transition my life from entertainment to impact.” And holy cow, has he made an impact!

What hit me so hard, though, was that a major focus for the impact he wants to make is on kids, and making life better for kids, especially kids in poverty.

My entire professional career has revolved around kids. I have been a teacher, coach, athletic director, writer, and speaker whose main focus has been on working to provide kids the opportunity to have a positive experience through their athletics and academics.

That focus has also been guiding me towards possibly doing a project that I have been thinking about for the last six months or so. But I just haven’t pulled the trigger on it, so to speak.

As I read Casey Crawford’s story in the book and then checked out his Movement Mortgage website and the Movement Foundation he created to impact kids, it felt like everything I was reading and hearing was speaking directly to me, telling me I had to act on my idea and start moving forward with it.

More than anything, this story led to me doing my “Reading the Signs” theme a few weeks ago and this series of themes about the book Change Your World that I am now doing.

If you don’t read the book, I ask you to at least check out Casey Crawford, Movement Mortgage, and his Movement Foundation. Watch the video about the foundation on the website. Guess whose voice that is narrating the video. (Hint-it’s one of the authors of Change Your World!)

Great Definitions of Teams

The chapter wrapped up with a section called, “The Need for One Another is Everywhere.” I loved this section because in it are a few quotes that get at the heart of what the concept of teams is all about. I will be incorporating these quotes with my own teams, as well as in my presentations on teams and team-building.

Author & Speaker Patricia Fripp says, “A team is not just people who work at the same time in the same place. A real team is a group of very different individuals who share a commitment to working together to achieve common goals. Most likely they are not all equal in experience, talent, or education, but they are equal in one vitally important way: their commitment to the good of the organization. Any group of people—your family, your workplace, or your community—gets the best results by working as a team.”

While I have a somewhat similar definition of teams in some of my presentations, I love this one because it goes further by highlighting the importance of teams being made up of many different types of people all committing to working towards common goals for the good of the team.

Finally, in response to the question, “What does it take to be an effective team?”, Julie Lambert said it required:

  • Tolerance of each other’s weaknesses
  • Encouragement towards each other’s successes
  • Acknowledgement that each of us has something to offer
  • Mindfulness that all of us appreciate those three qualities

Couldn’t all of our teams benefit from hearing that list? I know mine will be!

Maxwell concluded the chapter saying, “When individuals put the team ahead of themselves, when they share the same values, when they collaborate together using whatever assets they possess for their cause, they can make a huge difference. If you want to change the world in a big way, then you know what you need to do: Team Up!”

From Fripp to Lambert to Maxwell, these three definitions get at the heart of what teams are all about. I hope you will incorporate them in some way with the teams that you lead, too.

What an amazing and powerful chapter in this amazing and powerful book!

Next week, we will build on these concepts in Chapter 4—“Let’s All Get on the Same Page.”