Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
-African Proverb

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” I always say because teamwork is a core value at MCFA.

Most people hear that and think it means “nice” or “soft.” “Go along, get along.” Cocktail hours with co-workers. Kumbaya stuff, right?


I’ve never seen a group of high performers that didn’t push each other, didn’t challenge each other, or didn’t push back passionately to defend their ideas. And I’ve never seen a winning coach that didn’t look at their team and challenge them for more!  

Steve Jobs once shared the following story:  

“When I was a young kid, there was a widowed man who lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He’s a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn.

One day he said to me, ‘Come on into my garage. I want to show you something.’ And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, ‘Come on with me.’ We went out into the back and we got some rocks. Some regular old ugly rocks.

And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, ‘Come back tomorrow.’ And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.

I came back the next day and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful, polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful, polished rocks.

That’s always been, in my mind, my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other, and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these beautiful stones.”

Sometimes we want to “keep the peace,” “let it slide,” or “take it easy.” Teamwork is recognizing that the team is counting on the individual to be the best they can be and pushing each other to get there.   

Progress and success require tension. “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

So, what is your project team relying on you for?

BJ Kraemer, President

Recommended Reading:

In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni tells the story of Jeff Shanley, a leader desperate to save his uncle’s company by restoring its cultural commitment to teamwork. Jeff must crack the code on the virtues that real team players possess, and then build a culture of hiring and development around those virtues. 

Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.