There is generally no such thing as a successful “lone wolf.” Talent might win the game, but it takes teamwork to capture the championship. Nearly everything I have accomplished so far has been the result of a group effort. From my work at McDonald’s as a teenager, to becoming the founder and CEO of the Gold Star Family of Companies, I was always aware that my success wouldn’t have been possible without the other team members’ support. If you want to succeed, you must depend on the cooperation of co-workers, business colleagues, family members and friends. Here’s how:
Build your team. You may not have a formal team to support you. However, you still have a group of people with whom you work—even though you may all have equal standing. Consider colleagues and associates as team members who can help you reach your job-related goals. Include them in your planning process when appropriate, and listen to their suggestions. You can also help them reach their goals. If you are self-employed and work alone, you still have family and friends who can provide a strong network of support for your business. Bounce ideas off of them, ask them to help spread the word about your work, and collaborate with others when necessary. Even an artist or writer doesn’t work alone. They need readers, printers, art collectors and reviewers to truly be successful. Build your team well. Fill it with those willing to support you. You cannot expect to lead a positive life if you surround yourself with negative people.
Be willing to collaborate. Don’t aspire to be the best on the team. Aspire to be the best for the team. Many people feel competitive when working with others, and try to get their ideas heard above the rest. I’ve been in meetings where ego gets in the way of production. People get so caught up in figuring out who gets the credit that nothing gets accomplished. Sometimes things even go into litigation over ego issues. If you are simply trying to be the best on the team, you don’t leave much room for other people to grow and to lead. Don’t be a spotlight-stealer. What you build together will be stronger than what you build alone.
Create more leaders. True leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders. That’s why we at Gold Star look for new employees who have the potential to become leaders; they can continue helping us grow while they develop their careers. The great ones want to be coaches and get better every day. If you give people the opportunity to lead, they become more invested in the company. As their ideas become reality, they aspire to have even more contributions. It feels good to succeed. Teach the beginners, help them grow, and your company will thrive.
Value every team member. There is no one person on a team that should be underestimated. Everyone is important. The automobile is a great example of teamwork. In order to build a car, someone had to make the tires, someone had to build the components, someone had to mine the copper mine for the wires, and someone had to make and drive the trucks that hauled the copper ore. It takes so many people to make a car, and no one can say that the tire is more important than the copper. The car can’t run without all the parts. Every member of the team is essential.
Teamwork is the key to success. It is often said that if service is beneath you, leadership is beyond you. Someone is sitting the shade today because someone planted a tree long ago. Success is like that—it takes many steps to accomplish your goals, and a lot of hard work. As I always say, success is never owned. It’s rented, and the rent is due every day.
Daniel Milstein is the CEO and founder of the Gold Star Family of Companies, operating in over 40 offices worldwide, specializing in financial services, sports management, publishing, and film production. Under Dan’s visionary leadership, Gold Star has been named among Inc. magazine’s 500 Fastest Growing Companies in America. He is a best-selling author and shares his other strategies for success in his book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2: You Get What You Work For, Not What You Wish For. Learn more at DanMilstein.com.