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The Power of a Team

Several years ago, one of my children came to me at Christmas and asked me if we could get a dog. This was not a new request. I had heard this request regularly over the years. My excuse was that my wife and several of my children have asthma, and have negative reactions to dogs. However, this time my son came prepared with an offer that I could not refuse. The first part of the offer involved my son’s commitment to improve all aspects of his behavior. (Yes, I had heard that offer before.) The second part of the offer was new. He was interested in a Siberian husky puppy. The Siberian husky is an outdoor dog, and since it’s a breed that is used to the cold and loves the snow, this would be a way for us to have a dog without affecting anyone’s asthma. We talked, discussed and bargained for a long time and finally I caved. We became dog owners.

As I thought about owning a dog, I imagined the kinds of things that we might do together. I imagined us going for a walk and the dog would lope happily along by my side. I imagined going to the park, throwing a Frisbee, and my loyal dog bringing it back. I imagined the dog playing with the kids in the back yard. What I imagined was truly ideal.

The dog finally arrived. My son named him Kestler. He was a beautiful puppy. He grew quickly and I began to take him on walks, but they were not what I imagined. Instead of loping by my side, Kestler persisted in dragging me into my neighbors’ yards. Whatever speed I would walk, he would walk faster. I had a friend who wanted a jogging partner and I convinced her that Kestler was perfect. They went together just once.

If we took Kestler to the park to play Frisbee, he would chase the Frisbee, grab it, and then proceed to run in the opposite direction. We also discovered quickly that you can never take a Siberian Husky off the leash. They run away.

Our once beautiful backyard and flower garden became Kestler’s kingdom. When he discovered digging, my lawn turned into a series of trenches. After a couple of years it was hard for me to imagine the value of this dog.  It became clear to me that Kestler would never be the dog I had hoped he would be.

As we approached another Christmas season, our good friend Racer, who had five Huskies, talked to us about putting Kestler in his dog sled team. We wanted to warn him that Kestler might not be the best choice for his team, but Kestler needed exercise and I did not want to take him on any more walks. And so we obliged.

After a few months of training, Racer invited us to go on a dog sled ride to see Kestler in action. It’s hard to describe how excited the dogs were about getting their harnesses on and being tied to the sleigh. I remember being pulled by horses on a wagon, and for them it was obviously work. But the level of excitement was totally different for these dogs. The dogs took off and I wasn’t prepared for the jolt. As they began running, it was almost like the jerk of a fast car. As we rode I stared in amazement at my “dumb dog.” There he was, between the two lead dogs!  The dog I could never control was working in perfect unison with the other dogs on the team.  He listened, he pulled, and he enjoyed working together with his team. These dogs can pull a sled for 20 miles, and they love every minute of their job.

Great leaders have the ability to create and foster great teams.

Have you ever been part of a great team? A team that utilized your individual strengths and caused your performance to improve? A team where productivity increased just to keep up with the other team members? A team where you love coming to work and every day is an exciting adventure?

In contrast, have you ever been a part of the Team From Hades? This is the team nobody wants to be a part of and is full of conflict, disagreements and discontent. Most people know and have experienced the difference. The contrast is huge.

PS: am scris textul in limba engleza pentru a pastra farmecul povestii originale


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