I’m a fan of good quotes. Powerful, thought-provoking, funny or simply resonant, I’m drawn to the idea of an individual whose words transcended time, who captured a moment or situation with such crystal clear clarity that their words couldn’t be contained by that moment in time. Here’s one of my favorites:
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
A lot is written about the various ills of our present society. In fact, almost every news commentator, columnist, blogger and street-corner prophet can call forth a list of the reasons we are headed downhill. Usual suspects like people are selfish, people are lazy, parents don’t spank their kids enough, parents spank them too much, too much profanity on TV, etc. can be accompanied by dozens of examples every day. And I’m certainly not arguing that those issues aren’t problems. They are, without a doubt.
But simply pointing out what’s wrong with society is a little like fishing with dynamite; it’s too easy and too convenient by half. You’ll also notice that finding blame usually involves finding someone to blame. And by that, I mean finding somebody else. Suggesting solutions is harder. Suggesting solutions that involve some work on our part is even harder.
I like the quote because it’s simple and oh so true. Having worked with business owners and CEOs, I can appreciate their desire to have employees committed at the same level they are. And sometimes that happens. But we have to recognize that people are individuals first. It’s their commitment to a group effort that results in success and to get that, you have to make the effort worthwhile and relevant to them. Otherwise, they’re just cashing a paycheck.
By the way, the author of the quote? Vince Lombardi. The old coach knew what he was talking about and we can still learn a thing or two from him.