Monday, August 25, 2008

Handing off the baton

I enjoyed watching the Olympics this year. One of the tragedies was watching both the men and women’s 4X100 relay teams drop the baton.

Anybody who has ever participated in a track meet in high school knows that handing off the baton is the most basic and fundamental skill in relay running. How could Olympic level runners drop the baton – twice.

The answer is actually pretty simple, they didn’t practice. The relay teams were all-star teams, meaning they were all the best in their category, but had never really worked together. Just because you put the best people together does not mean that you are going to have a smooth-running team. You see this all the time. Top executives that drive the business in the ground, good politicians that do dumb things, and so-called super-groups made up of great musicians that can’t play together.

Team work is very underrated as we saw on the USA relay teams. Working well with others, understanding your role, and letting others do theirs is fundamental. In more ways than one we drop the baton. We fail to communicate, and we fail to see how we fit in.

We are all given different gifts, different personalities, and different opportunities. Understanding how we fit and handing off the baton at the right time without dropping it is a key to successful living.