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I have found excellent examples of teamwork from sport. Occasions when teams considered far superior were astonishingly defeated by opponents who were very much the underdogs. In the 1990 World Cup, Cameroon beat the defending champions Argentina 1-0 in Milan. In 2002, little fancied Senegal beat World Champions, France in Seoul. What is interesting is that perhaps man for man, the more fancied teams had far superior players but they did not combine as well as one would expect. On the other hand, the underdogs probably had inferior players but the synergy they displayed was enough to beat better players.

Effective leaders have the ability to develop synergistic relationships within their teams. They are able to get team members energized to achieve team goals, often sacrificing individual glory for the sake of the team. As is often said, the team’s final result means more than individual performance.

25 years have passed since India won the Prudential cricket World Cup at Lord’s. Again a case of a team which was hardly fancied coming through to win the finals beating the mighty West Indies who were the defending champions. In this example too, a striking feature of India’s victories were the contributions of all the players. Apart from Kapil Dev’s unforgettable 175 not out against Zimbabwe, there really weren’t any spectacular individual performances but what mattered was that in every game, they combined perfectly to beat stronger teams.

Combining well and working towards achieving a common goal are essential ingredients for team success.

“Teamwork ” wrote Andrew Carnegie “is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

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This is the 64 th of the “A Step A Day “series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.

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