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Senior Correspondent

It takes a lot of buzz words to fuel the corporate consulting industry. Teamwork is one such buzz word. Like most other buzz words, it's easy to talk about. Teamwork has been talked about, written about, and trained about for decades. We have seen leaders attempt to implement effective teamwork by simply talking about it. We call it the "poof you are a team" syndrome. And when that doesn't work, we hear the same leaders explain their failure with comments like "teamwork doesn't work" as they move on to build their more comfortable silos a little taller and a little stronger.  

We are fortunate to live in a community where great teamwork is the norm. We see examples of extraordinary teamwork every day. Our volunteer fire department comes to mind. These volunteers dedicate themselves to a common mission and train continuously to provide a first class service to our community. It is a huge honor to be a member of this elite team of fire fighters and our community is extremely fortunate to be served by this level of professionalism.

Other examples include the many service organizations that team up tirelessly on behalf of our community. I am most familiar with the Rotary Club where volunteers team up year after year on project after project for the good of our community and various International causes. We see examples of teamwork among our state, county, city and chamber entities to generate economic growth in our community. We enjoy a vibrant downtown because of teamwork on the part of downtown Washington, the chamber, the city and business Owners. And then there is our very famous town and country fair made possible by extreme levels of teamwork on the part of just about every man, woman and child in the community. These are but a few of the many examples of teamwork in our community. Our community's teamwork results in a high quality of life for all of us who live and work here.

We have had the privilege of coaching business leaders as they plan and implement teamwork that really works, and it is a beautiful thing. It is not only a beautiful thing but it is a profitable thing. During lean times, companies practicing great teamwork survive and even thrive. The costs of poor teamwork are rarely recognized, but include wasted labor in business and work processes. The effects of poor teamwork spill over onto quality of products and services. They impact the customer, client, or patient. And these hidden costs ultimately drain value and real dollars right out of the business.

Employees who work in true team environments are required to look beyond their own jobs and consider the bigger picture. They are more tuned into customers and business as a whole. They are more energized and engaged. These employees focus on making improvements, small and large, to generate increased profit, reduce waste, and improve quality and customer service. These team members tend to be happier and feel more in control of their destiny, as much as anyone can, in a business world turned upside down.

We believe that these lean times call for more teamwork…way more teamwork. We believe that teamwork is not an option now, but a necessity. True teamwork gives our clients a competitive advantage. It is their secret weapon during lean times…everyone pulling together toward common business goals by leveraging strengths and optimizing processes.

"Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships." Michael Jordan

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