The Importance of Teamwork: Inspire Change Together

Since preschool, we’ve learned about the importance of teamwork. Yet, in today’s world, it often feels like our society is more divided than connected. We, as a community and a country, have lost touch with the thread that ties us together.

But if you look beneath the surface, you’ll see glimmers of connection and collaboration, and of people coming together for the greater good.

Human Connection Makes a Difference

When people rally and unite for a common cause, it sparks drive and motivation that is much greater than the sum of each individual person.

For example, after Hurricane Harvey, pro football player J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans posted a video on Twitter to raise money to support the rebuilding efforts. His goal was to raise $200,000, and within three weeks his foundation raised over $37 million from over 200,000 donors across the country.

Another great example is how a small group of people in Stockton, CA, worked together to turn an empty lot into a garden that produces 3,400 pounds of vegetables each harvest. All the veggies are donated, and this small group of people has made a big impact on their entire community.

Teamwork Helps Push Boundaries

Working together as a team can also inspire you to go beyond what you thought was possible. Completing a triathlon was on my bucket list for a while; however, I was always too scared to sign up for one. The training and the logistics of the sport intimidated me — and I was never a serious athlete.

It wasn’t until I signed up for Team In Training to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society that I worked up the courage to sign up for the New York City Triathlon, and learned the power and importance of teamwork.

Every week, our team would meet for swim, bike, and run workouts, and we supported each other during the challenging ones. Teammates and coaches shared their years of knowledge — everything from how to change a flat tire to race-day nutrition — to help us feel prepared and confident at the starting line.

So when I panicked on race day — petrified in the middle of the Hudson River and thinking of quitting — I thought about my teammates, the cancer survivors I had met through Team In Training, and the family and friends who had sponsored me to race. I didn’t want to let them down and I reminded myself of the greater purpose of my race — to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I took a deep breath and finished the race strong.

No Man Is an Island

As it turns out, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Outcomes are usually better when two people work together instead of alone. Teams of two to five people work and communicate better.

Plus, researchers have found that moods can be contagious. So when people feel good about coming together for a good cause, they are more likely to pass on those positive feelings to others in the group. And positive moods are linked to more cooperative behavior, better performance, and more creativity.

Teamwork is vital to solving complex and challenging problems from the workplace to our communities. We can pool our skills, draw on different perspectives, and ignite greater creativity. Working as a group can also inspire accountability and a little healthy competition that drives you to go the extra mile.

We all have the power to make a change in our community, especially if we collaborate. Coming together as a team for a joint purpose and cause can inspire greater change than we could achieve on our own.