“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” -Henry Ford
Teamwork consists of more than simply being in a group. To be successful, all components must effectively work together toward a common goal, with each individual contributing their own unique talents. As someone who gravitates to social situations, I’ve personally always been a fan of group projects. I enjoy being able to bounce ideas off others and observe how different leadership styles contribute toward the final product. However, the value of teams extends beyond just the classroom.
Take sports, for instance. How interesting would it be to watch a football game with just one player on each side? Or look at the workplace: how could businesses create and market their products without technical, design and sales teams? It holds true that multiple people all working toward the same goal allows for the exchange of innovative ideas, opportunities and strategies, from which the best final products emerge. Best of all, teams provide a support network. “There’s strength in numbers” is a cliché for a reason.
Here in the Humphrey Seminar, we’ve already had a team experience — one that was magnified by the fact that the attaches and fellows working together for the very first time. We were randomly grouped together during our first class meeting, and assigned to select a movie and analyze its leadership roles in a fairly short turnaround. I was impressed by the quality of the presentations that were given just two weeks later, without any class time to meet in between. The project challenged us to break out of our comfort zones, especially because we weren’t only adjusting to the differing work styles of new people, but new backgrounds and cultures as well. Yet by the end of the project, I already feel that I’ve made friends in these colleagues from all over the world. I think that these methods of leadership and cooperation are the essential skills we should be taking from this seminar.