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The difference between success and failure is a great team.   When we first started Wake and District in the spring of 2006, we were not certain of what was to come.  We were police officers, lawyers, engineers, students, machinists, Doctors to name but a few — all tremendous individuals who shared a common goal of being a successful and driven pipe band standing ready to honor our fallen.

Ten years, three competition bands, 100+ members (past, present, traveling and guest) and hundreds of chanter reeds later, we’ve learned the only way to build a band with great success and scale is to build a great team.

No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success as a band depends on your ability to build and inspire a team; members working well together toward a common mission and goals.   

Teams need to believe that their work is important.  Teams need to feel their work is personally meaningful.  Teams need clear goals and defined roles.  Team members need to know they can depend on one another.  But, most important, teams need psychological safety.  How do you do this?   Listen to one another.  Don’t interrupt.  Admit what we don’t know.  Don’t make excuses.

We need to encourage one another (especially when we are upset) to express frustrations and encourage teammates to respond in nonjudgmental ways; call out intergroup conflicts and resolve them through open discussions.

Bands succeed when everyone feels like they can speak up and when members show they are sensitive to how one another feels.

To inspire one another, we talk. We hate meetings, but love short huddles to inform, align and motivate one another. One effective way to begin or end a huddle is by sharing a quote. Here are 15 quotes from well-known coaches, athletes, business leaders, and authors that will compel you and your band members to work well together:

  1. “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” –Vince Lombardi
  2. “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” –Michael Jordan
  3. “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” –Andrew Carnegie
  4. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller
  5. “Remember, teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” –Patrick Lencioni
  6. “I invite everyone to choose forgiveness rather than division, teamwork over personal ambition.” –Jean-Francois Cope
  7. “None of us is as smart as all of us.” –Ken Blanchard
  8. “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” –Henry Ford
  9. “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” –Henry Ford
  10. “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” –Phil Jackson
  11. “Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other’s fund of collective intelligence.” –Mike Schmoker
  12. “It takes two flints to make a fire.” –-Louisa May Alcott
  13. “Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” –Mattie Stepanek
  14. “To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless.” –Mike Krzyzewski
  15. “The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison.” –James Cash Penney

You can do better with your team than you can alone. Here’s to your–and your team’s–success!

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