A team is made of space
Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl writes, from out of the depths of his experience in the concentration camps:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In that response lies our growth and our freedom.”
The space between a team is what counts not the individuals. That space sometimes looks like complete trust; like a circus act, a long-term married couple or dance partners. On other occasions it looks like support; like a coach of a youth football team, an executive mentor or rehabilitation nurse. However mostly it looks like a shared goal; like winning that trophy, landing a man on the moon or making that sales target.
When the space is filled with something that binds us together we are stronger than the sum of our parts. We take on tasks that seem impossible to all of us individually but together we can achieve. Together we can overcome huge difficulty, as with Frankl and those he shared the concentration camps with. Sometimes this involves a strong leader. Books are full of Shackleton guiding his men to safety, Churchill during the Second World War and Florence Nightingale changing the face of nursing but this is not the whole story. The space they filled with such courage, determination and strength was only possible because the others in the team allowed that to flow in to every pore. They became part of the whole by choosing to engage and be part of it.
We can choose to make the space between us and others on the team a place of safety for ourselves. However if that means we do not engage with the others we loose the opportunity to be part of something more. We will be the worse for it. Sometimes the response we get is not the encouragement, resources and energy we need to succeed but did we provide that to the those around us? Good teams and crews never have one way relationships.
We could add that you can never be fully free until you full commit. When all fully commit there is a resilience in that team & crew that will enable growth into some of the most unexpected areas.
Team Machine is a tool that some find helpful in measuring the space between the time members.