2 Teams That Flatline

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

—Maya Angelou

Over the past few years we’ve asked hundreds of people, both younger and more senior than ourselves, as well as those in and out of management roles, this question: How many great teams have you been on in your career? (We intentionally don’t define “great,” allowing them to determine the criteria.)

Upon consideration, the clear majority of those responding answer that they have been a part of two to three great teams. Very rarely does anyone answer zero, nor five or above. And when asked why they qualified those teams as great, the plurality of answers cited two things, in relative terms: (1) the team achieved something significant and (2) they worked (choose your favorite superlative) together.

Is it good enough to get to the end of a career and claim that the number of great teams one has been a part of can be counted on one hand? It isn’t according to most of the inspired people we know. Although there are variables unaccounted for when considering the responses to this question, the fact is the answers reveal perceptions. And that’s a glimpse of the reality for a sizeable sample of people.

This is where things get crazy—and frankly, sad—from our perspective. We’ve observed a significant number of teams unknowingly be on the verge of delivering the steps outlined in the Do Big Things Framework, only to stumble and fall away. You may, for example, recall a team you were on ...

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