There’s nothing quite like the power of teamwork.

If you’ve ever been on a successful, thriving team (either professional or athletic), you know firsthand the effect of working together toward a common goal.

Practice Makes Perfect

A great volleyball coach I once had taught me and my team that when we took the court, we had to give it our all. However, to play great, we had to practice and learn how to play well together. In scrimmage, he’d tell us not to concentrate so much on the end goal, but rather, just the first five points. After that, we’d focus on the next five points, and so on. Before we knew it, we clenched the win!

Share a Common Goal

goals

When you know your “why” and share the same vision as your team, you can achieve almost anything. Our coach encouraged us to set realistic and stretch goals. These were simple in concept but gave us a sense of shared vision, motivating us to work hard to achieve them. They were:

  1. Win the games we were supposed to win.
  2. Win some we weren’t supposed to win.
  3. Celebrate small and big wins alike.

It was disappointing when we didn’t live up to that first set of expectations, but when we did beat a team we shouldn’t have? What a glorious victory it was, and boy, did we celebrate!

Diversity Is Key

As individuals, there was no way we could’ve won a single game. Everyone had their specific role and responsibility: setter, hitter, receiver, server. As a team, we knew that if we pooled our talents and resources, we could beat teams we weren’t supposed to beat. Teams with better records than us and far more star talent than we had as a small-town school in Nebraska.

Choose Progress Over Perfection

teamwork

When you’re on a team, it’s more important to focus on the progress you’re making over being 100% perfect. You might literally drop the ball, but if you’re on a good team, your teammate will be waiting behind you to scoop it up and send it sailing over the net.

The above principles hold true even in my professional life. I still freak out when I have big projects to undertake, but when I work with my manager and team on coming up with bite-size solutions, celebrate milestones, and give myself room to be imperfect, the world seems like a better place.