On Teams

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"When we come to the end of our light and must move into the dark of the unknown, we must believe we will find something solid on which to stand or that we will understand how to fly."
author unknown


Leaders have to get people into an "adult" mode of operation so they will make rational and objective choices. These move the company forward, not sideways. After all is said and done, that's the way Square Wheels move best.

Ed Westerdahl


"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost."

Martha Graham


Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.


As soon as everyone is on the bandwagon with one idea, a leader should be working on the next one.

Roger Enrico, Pepsico


"It is not what people do when they work, but what they do when they don't work that causes all their troubles."

Wm. J. H. Boetcker

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.

William Blake


Every exit is an entrance somewhere else.

~Tom Stoppard


Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while A great wind is bearing me across the sky.

~Ojibwa Saying


If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.

~St. John of the Cross


a Dutch expression: "Holle vaten klinken het hardst" -

"Empty (hollow) barrels sound the loudest"


"I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use."

Galileo in retort to his critics including the Church


Eugene Taurman wrote:

"Deprived of information one cannot assume responsibility, but, given the information one cannot avoid responsibility." Smitty The Janitor


... teams, not individuals, are the fundamental learning unit in modern organizations. This is where the "rubber stamp meets the road"; unless teams can learn, the organization cannot learn.

Peter M. Senge, The Fifth Discipline


Most potential teams can become real teams, but not without taking risks involving conflict, trust, interdependence, and hard work. For example, a common team purpose, set of performance goals, and approach rarely arise without conflict. Indeed, quite the contrary -- the most successful teams recognize their members' conflicting views and experiences as a source of strength. Similarly, mutual accountability requires trust and interdependence, which usually do not grow without risk taking. And, finally, most potential teams include members who must develop the skills needed by the team after they have joined the team itself. This, too, implies risks and hard work for everyone on the team.

in "The Wisdom Of Teams," by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith


"We trained hard...but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demorilization."

Petronius Arriter, 210 B.C.

It's important to talk to people in their own language. If you do it well, they'll say, "God, he said exactly what I was thinking." And when they begin to respect you, they'll follow you to the death. The reason they're following you is not because you're providing some mysterious leadership. It's because you're following them.

Lee Iacocca


Teams in the American workplace

60% prefer to work in teams

66% of women prefer teamwork

54% of men prefer teamwork

Adult workers spend 61% of time working in teams

90% have exposure to teams, 50% receive team training

72% say that woeking in teams makes the job less stresful

67% say it makes them feel better about their jobs

66% say it improves quality, productivity and profitability

What makes teams successful?

33% - getting along

29% - listening

21% - setting priorities

6% - feeling recognized

6% - having everyone agree

4% - deciding who's in charge

from Teamwork in the American Workplace, Dale Carnegie & Associates from Training and Development, January, 1996 - Pp. 15 - 16.


Group desire is different than individual desire. With individual desire, it's up to you to feed the fire. With group desire, you get all kinds of people rolling logs on from every direction.

Vince Pfaff

On Performing:

Some people drink deeply from the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.

adapted by Grant M. Bright

"If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four sharpening the axe"

Abraham Lincoln


Go to the people

Learn from them

Love them

Start with what they know

Build on what they have

But of the best leaders

When their task is accomplished

Their work is done

The people will remark:

"We have done it ourselves."

2000 Year Old Chinese Poem

"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is not necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice. There are two other possibilities: one is paper work and the other is nostalgia.

Frank Zappa

If something is not worth doing at all, it is not worth doing well.

Warren Buffett

Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.

William Faulkner

People may doubt what you say, but they always believe what you do.


The body travels more easily than the mind, and until we have limbered up our imagination we continue to think as though we had stayed home. We have not really budged a step until we take residence in someone else's point of view.

John Erskine The Complete Life, Chapter 8, Foreigners

A sale is not something you pursue; it's what happens to you while you are immersed in serving your customer.


"People who never do more than they get paid for, never get paid for anything more than they do."

Kemmons Wilson, Founder, Holiday Inns

A frustrated manager complained that everytime he provided training, the now highly skilled employee was snatched up by a competitor: "The only thing worse than training people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay."

attributed to Zig Ziglar


It wasn't until 1865 that the Matterhorn was first climbed. Four men in the party died during the descent.

It took 30 years and 20 deaths before Everest was first successfullly climbed and it was generally considered "Impossible without oxygen." In 1975, 2 men made it.

Mount Blanc used to take 3 days to climb. Last year, a climber did it in 7 hours.

Now, athletes actually have a race to the top of Matterhorn, where they start at 2000 feet and run to the peak, up 35 degree inclines at a rate of 1500 meters an hour.

It's about beliefs.


On Knowledge

"Some are born with knowledge, some derive it from study, and some acquire it only after a painful realization of their ignorance. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing. Some study with a natural ease, some from a desire for advantages, and some by strenuous effort. But the achievement being made, it comes to the same thing."

Confucius (in The Doctrine of the Mean)


The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.

Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Watterson)

Wouldn't it be much worse if life were fair and all the terrible things that happen to us happen because we really deserve them?

J.M. Straczynski

I always remember an epitaph in the cemetery at Tombstone, AZ. It says: "Here lies Jack Williams. He done his damnedest." I think that is the greatest epitaph a man can have - when he gives everything that is in him to the job he has before him. That is all you can ask of him and that is what I have tried to do.

Harry S. Truman



On Change

It should be born in mind that there is nothing more difficult to arrange, more doubtful of success, and more dangerous to carry through than initiating changes in a state's constitution (read organization). The innovator makes enemies of all those who prospered under the old order, and only lukewarm support is forthcoming from those who would propser uinder the new. Their support is lukewarm partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the existing laws on their side, and partly because men are generally incredulous, never really trusting new things unless they have tested them by experience. In consequence, whenever those who oppose changes can do so, they attack vigorously, and the defense made by the others is only lukewarm so both the innovator and his friends are endangered together.

Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

George Bernard Shaw

"The illiterate of the future are *not* those who cannot read or write. They are those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."

Alvin Toffler

Never doubt that a small, committed group of people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

Margaret Mead

"If you want things to stay as they are, things will have to change."

Giuseppe di Lamedosa


"Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed."

Michael Pritchard


The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.

Oliver Wendell Holmes


If you want 1 year of prosperity, grow grain.

If you want 10 years of prosperity, grow trees.

If you want 100 years of prosperity, grow people.

old Chinese proverb--


Sitting quietly

doing nothing

spring comes

and the grass grows by itself.

Zen Poem


Unless we change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.

(Old Chinese Proverb)


Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.

(Emile Charter)

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