If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.
- African Proverb
A friend recently shared the African Proverb quoted above with a group where I was present. His core topic was the power and value of operating in community - where each person was able to contribute according to their unique skill-set. And that together each person was stronger than if they operated on a solo basis. It was a great reminder of a powerful leadership principle.
The power of a team as contrasted to “going it alone” cannot be over-emphasized. It is clear from even a cursory review of modern history that a small group of dedicated men and/or women can have a great impact on their surrounding culture. This is true in politics, education, government, business, religion, and social causes.
Team work can produce powerful results.
That does not mean that the team doesn’t require a spokes-person. And even though such a person may be branded as “the leader,” it is likely true that in any truly influential setting, such a person is actually the point-person for the team that stands together with them.
With the proverb quoted above in mind, several questions emerge for us to ponder:
- Am I part of a team?
- Is it a team of leaders; people who are committed to productive outcomes?
- What is my core skill-set and how will that best serve the team?
- Would I be better off “going it alone” or, rather, operating as a contributing member of a team?
- In what aspects of my life would teamwork produce better outcomes than would occur if I go it alone?
There are other questions that can be posed regarding this important principle of leadership. What are your thoughts? Do you want to go fast? Or do you want to go far?