I recently came upon a noteworthy story around team building from of all sources, Bruce Springsteen. It seems that back in the early 1970’s when Bruce was about to rocket to stardom and national attention with the release of his third album, Born to Run, he had a meeting with the E-Street Band. He point-blank asked them to commit to being all-in for all-of-it and with all-of-us.
It would be easy to be all-in for being on-stage, for the fame and for the money. He needed them to be all-in for the grind of a road tour, the hours of practice, the set-ups and tear downs. He also needed them to be all-in for each other and not for just themselves. I guess it worked out well, apart from a small hiccup in the 90’s, Bruce Springsteen and E-Street band have been a combined force with both being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on their own merits.
I used this concept in a recent Character Lesson with the High School football team, it is a perfect fit. Every high school football player wants to be all-in for wearing the game jersey in school and playing under the lights on Friday Nights. However great teams need players to be all-in for all-of-it; including winter weight lifting sessions, 5:30AM reporting times in mid-August, that third day of full contact when every bone and muscle hurt, and film study on a Monday night when their girlfriend just wants to hang out. They also need to be all-in with all-of-us. Not just for themselves or their buddies, but the whole team as well as the coaches.
In life being a father and a husband requires that same commitment. Easy being a dad when your daughter scores 20 points in a basketball game, but you need to be there, all-in, when she slams a door in your face and screams “I hate you” for reasons you can’t figure out. Everyone is all-in on their wedding day, but how about when money is tight or a spouse gets a serious illness or when your Mother-in-law moves in.
My role in business has always been focused on business development (sales/marketing) where being on the front line and bringing in revenues is like being on-stage or under the lights on a Friday night, an easy place to be all-in when times are good. However, being successful means doing all-of-it; the mundane and drudgery work required to qualify opportunities, prepare quotations, review excel spreadsheets. Success also means valuing the people behind the scenes. Being all-in with all-of-us is not throwing a warehouse individual under the bus for a late shipment; criticizing an inventory manager for not having stock or better yet disappearing when there are customer issues and letting a ‘support person’ take the heat.
“Commitment” in one word is the essence of being all-in for all-of-it and all-of-us. The great football coach, Vince Lombardi said, “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
The greatest example ever of being all-in for all-of-it and all-of-us is Jesus. What greater commitment than sacrificing His life for each and every one of us. Our challenge as a Christian must be that we are committed (all-in) for whatever God asks of us (all-of-it) and for whoever it may be (all-of-us).