The Value of Teamwork

Many times in life and business there is a team behind the scenes working together to achieve a goal.  Often, only the team leader is recognized for the individual accomplishment and honored in the record books.  Does that sound like some salespeople you know?

At a seminar this week in Phoenix the morning session had a 10 minute space on the agenda that the master of ceremonies filled in with a short video.  It  began with the story of Roger Bannister, an English medical student, who in 1954 was the first to break the 4 minute mile running record.

I had read about this story in more than one book, but had never actually seen the live video with enhanced audio voices from the runners and coach as they progressed through the race.   Everyone thought that breaking the 4 minute barrier was impossible, even suggesting that a runner’s heart could explode.   Roger himself trained alone for years, effectively lowering his heart rate to 50 beats per minute, but was left within 4 seconds of his goal.  What I never realized was that this particular race was a perfectly scripted plan by all four individuals working together that broke the 4 minute mile and put Roger Bannister in the record books.

Here’s the really interesting insight to the race. The video very clearly showed how the race planning unfolded, it was amazing.  There were two other teammates that were running the race with Roger Bannister – Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway.  Chris Brasher started off and led the pace for the first half mile, apparently it was a very fast pace, but Rodger could be overheard telling Chris to speed up.  They held firm on the planned pace and Chris Chataway moved ahead and led for the last half mile.  The coach could be overheard as he yelled at Roger to “relax” just after the half mile mark.  Rodger saved enough energy by the planned pace to push through at the last 330 feet to set the record.

What people don’t remember are the other team members who executed  the strategy for Roger to succeed.  His team members worked the plan, kept Roger at the right pace, his coach orchestrated and the team succeeded!

Reminds me of Thomas Edison, arguably one of the world’s greatest inventors and holder of over 1000 patents, when asked what was his greatest invention, he stated “the use of his 13 member laboratory team”.

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