Michael Jordan, Bruce Piasecki,
It's hard to believe, but the great Michael Jordan recently turned 50. Bruce Piasecki is a big fan. Yet what interests him is not Jordan's sheer athleticism and many victories, but what Jordan in context can teach the business world about teamwork.
"To me, Michael Jordan's career is a shining example of how the best teams operate," says Piasecki, author of the upcoming book Doing More with Teams: The New Way to Winning (Wiley, March 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1184849-5-1, $25.00, www.brucepiasecki.com). "I've long believed that the team is more powerful than the individualeven when that individual is someone as immensely talented as Jordan."
People who may not be able to succeed alonethe planners, the doers, those who lack the internal spark to market themselvescan find success in the context of teams, says Piasecki.
"It was pure pleasure to watch how Michael Jordan fit his court family, which was deep and full of different personalities like the quiet Scottie Pippen and the very outrageous Dennis Rodman," he says. "The beauty of this team was that its members worked together in a way that allowed everyone to learn together where they fit while working for The Common good."
Similar dynamics play out on business world "courts" every day. And when teams have the right mix of talents and personalitiesand are governed by the right "captains"companies achieve, grow, and prosper. In a global economy, whose complexity demands fast results and a broad range of skills, great teams matter more than ever.
Piasecki offers four lessons on teamwork:
Fierce individualism has no place in teams. We don't think of the Chicago Bulls as "Michael Jordan's team" despite Jordan's superstardom. Contrast this with, for example, our propensity to use the phrase "Lance Armstrong's teams"as if the disgraced cyclist's teammates were there only for him. When we pin all our hopes on a single individual and ignore the context in which he or she operates, we will be disappointed.