There’s No “I” in Team

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Folks ponder this question … When you think of government does the phrase “high performing organization” come to mind?  Probably not. 

Most envision red-tape, lazy workers, corruption, and money mismanagement.  They have images of the “bad guys” you see on TV and read in the newspaper who have spoiled the public’s trust over the years.  Well, it’s the mission of the City of Auburn Hills to defiantly challenge that negative stereotype and be not just good, but great.

Today, the Auburn Hills Chamber of Commerce held an inspiring luncheon at the Crown Plaza Hotel.  The program included fun presentations by speakers from Plante Moran, the City of Auburn Hills, and Bayer Science Materials on “how to harness the power of talent to create a high-performance organization.”  It was an excellent event.

Many great ideas were presented at the forum.  City Manager Pete Auger’s comments really challenged and engaged the group as he shared the story of when he was being recruited by the legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler.  He reminisced about how Bo liked him and thought he could be a “Michigan Man.”

Interestingly, Bo told Pete that he was not fast enough or big enough to be an impact player on the team, but there was something special about him.  What was that intangible? Bo saw that Pete was a real team player.  You see, Bo had three values that were important to the culture of his football program:  TEAM, TEAM, and TEAM.  Although Pete ultimately decided not to attend the school, that experience impacted his life.

There’s No “I” in Team

After telling that story, Pete boldly dared those in attendance to take the word “I” out of their lexicon.  He said start by going four hours … then a day, then a week, then a month without using the word “I” in your conversations and writing.  It will change how you look at the world and how people look at you.   There’s no “I” in team.

So, can you do it?  Can you go a day without using “I”?  Are you willing to take on Pete’s challenge?

Give it a test.  I … oops … We believe he’s on to something here.