The Power of Team

We know of Frank Gehry here in Chicago because he designed the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the BP Pedestrian Bridge, which is right across from our office. Two years after architecting these unique structures, he designed the Marqués de Riscal Vineyard Hotel. While living in that space for five days, it was amazing to experience the evolution of Gehry’s scribbles.
Note, in the picture above, the starting point of the hotel (the scribbles on the left) and the end result (the hotel on the right.) How do leaders move from concept to completion and bring their vision to life?
It takes a team to make a vision reality.
Here are several tips on the power of team:

  • BUILD on STRENGTH – to bring a vision to life, it takes the talents and gifts of a whole team working together. One person cannot accomplish what a powerful team can do. A leader must understand the value of each person and help him or her live into their full potential. That creates a powerful team.

“Leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not “making friends and influencing people”, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
― Peter F. Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

  • TRANSLATION – too many times, we’ve observed a leader sharing a great vision with their team that gets lost in translation. Leaders must ensure that the vision is well understood by the team. Some people catch vision through imagination, others through tangible explanation but everyone catches a vision through story. Some leaders are excellent at doing this themselves, other leaders enlist someone on the team to help with the translation. However it gets done, vision translation is critical to success.
  • ALIGNMENT – Vision is essential to ensure that everyone knows where they’re going. Unfortunately, vision leaks and can incorrectly morph over time. Looking at the various scribbles that evolved into drawings which then became a small-scale replica of the Marqués de Riscal, it was clear that the team was constantly working to ensure that they understood the outcome. Throughout a project, teams must be reminded of “what success looks like.” Part of the role of a leader is to maintain alignment. This means that every team member understands the vision and their role as they work together to achieve the vision.

One more quote from Peter Drucker that captures the essence of the power of team:

“The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.” And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They don’t think “I.” They think “we”; they think “team.” They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.”  ~ Peter F. Drucker

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