The Power of WE

Ok, so another football analogy (look, I live in Bronco country so it is to be expected).  I was watching the Bronco comeback win last night and the interview right after the game with Payton Manning.  The interviewer, still amazed about the 2nd quarter comeback, kept asking him what “he” did to win the came and how “he” felt.  Payton, without missing a beat, kept responding by using the word “WE”.   This player, who many feel is one of the best to ever play the game, directed the reporter to look at the whole of the team, not just him.  It was refreshing.

If you think about it, the football field is not much different than business.  There is a leader on the field (QB) and lots of support around him.   There is a board of directors (all the coaches) and a financier (GM).  There are team captains who are in charge of motivating each specialty of play.  There is a vision, a mission, and a goal.  And each team has its own culture.  What is different (aside from the paychecks) is that there also is a sense of WE.  Each player, even those who break out for amazing plays, know that they could not do their jobs without every other player on the field.  There is a deep respect from the “Leader” to the “Workers” because he knows he could not do what he does without them and they in turn respect him because he actually leads.

I find it ironic that in a profession that is often very ego driven, they get the concept of WE but in corporate settings, also often very ego driven, you find silos.  How do we get the team concept into business?  I know many have tried and there are tons of slick productions out there that companies can spend millions on to teach them how to work as a team.  Yet it rarely is sustained, if achieved at all.

As I think about it, perhaps it is because football players have been taught from the time there were little tykes that this is how a team works.  They come to respect the importance of each position.  They listen to their coach and are okay that their quarterback is telling them what plays to run.  They know that when they are playing their positions the best that they can, they will win games.

Makes me wonder what we are taught about business.

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