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Teamwork~Individual Commitment to Group Effort

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
Vince Lombardi


As we open the 2012-2013 school year, I cannot think of a more important idea than the one that Vince Lombardi speaks to in the above quote.  Vince Lombardi, was an American football coach. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight league championships and five in seven years, including winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. The National Football League’s Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. He was enshrined in the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Needless to say, Lombardi knew how to get a team to work together.  Team work is a core value Lombardi often spoke about and one that I also live by and one that I hope you see the value in as well.


As we go about our work in public education, it is far too tumultuous an endeavor to accomplish by ourselves.  We are no longer in a profession that can operate in isolation.  We are held accountable to the public through newspaper articles, cut scores, social issues and whatever else society believes that we can “fix”.   We are all in this together. This is true for everyone in our school including our paraprofessionals, administration, cooks, custodians and support staff.  We all must work together as a team to make our work, our school, our community a better place for our constituents.


 I do not in my heart believe that anyone would choose to operate in isolation, but I do think that if we are not careful and present in our thoughts and actions, we can be left with no other choice but to work alone as others will choose to not work with us.  As Lombardi’s quote states, it is the individual commitment to a group effort that breads success.  Our actions of individual commitment must not tear apart our team, our words must not create questions of doubt to our commitment; our intentions must be the best for our group.


 Patrick Lencioni is a popular author of many leadership fables.  One of his more prominent best sellers is, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”  The five dysfunctions include: Absence of Trust, Fear of Conflict, Lack of Commitment, Avoidance of Accountability, and Inattention to Results.  As teams we make a commitment to each other at the beginning of the year through the creation of team norms that address these areas and we revisit these norms as we work together.


My commitment and challenge to you as we begin this year is to contribute as a team member to group success.  Let us trust each other , let us commit to success for our students, let us keep each other accountable, let us experience good conflict and keep our attention on results. 


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