Are we all Rowing in the Same Direction?

Monday Message from Jerry Houston, President and CEO of HPISolutions


It occurs to me that one of the great challenges of leadership is getting the whole team to row in the same direction… at the same time.  Try to imagine a rowing team, all in one longboat (a common name for these longboats are “shells”), a common number of team members is eight, and a coxswain (the steersman, or steerswoman, who is in charge of navigation and steering), attempting to compete, with one or more team members rowing in the opposite direction.  You can easily realize the outcome.

Developing a winning team is far more than just getting everyone to row in the right direction.  It is about engagement.  Inspiring each individual member to understand the vision for the team, understanding the potential obstacles, and being on board for whatever it takes to accomplish the overall objective of the race.

What makes it work?

Every team member must feel valued on the team.  They must feel that their individual contributions to the team effort are critical, and be willing to prepare and then execute to the best of their ability.  Teamwork also requires that each individual’s talents are utilized in harmony with the rest of the team.  It also means being willing to compromise and to do what is in the best interest of the full team, not just their individual interests.

We’ve all heard that Teamwork makes the Dream Work, and this is true in competitive sports, in our professions, and in our lives.  We may be able to “go it alone,” however, teamwork is the force that makes us unstoppable.  Have you heard the saying, “stopping one person running down the field is one thing… stopping a hundred people is quite another?”

Have a great week!