Do you love the dream or do you love the team?
There’s a very famous quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a survivor of the Holocaust. His quote says,
He who loves the dream of what he wants his group to be more than he loves the members destroys the group.
That may take a while to sink in, but the power of that quote is incredible to me. As I work with leadership teams, there’s always a great vision, a great desire, tremendous amounts of energy, a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty, to achieve the dream. The dream is always out there.
It doesn’t make any difference which industry I’m working in. It can be the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the automotive industry, the transportation industry. But it’s this image of the dream of what we’re going to do together that continues to propel the leadership team.
However, often the people on the team are ignored, not given credit, not listened to, and in some cases, even sacrificed to the altar of the dream. Bonhoeffer tells us that he who loves the dream of what he wants his group to be, more than he loves the members, destroys the group.
If we don’t build strong respectful, may I use the word “loving”, relationships on our leadership team, we love the dream more than we love the members.
The dream always seems to be the focus. It’s couched in words like:
- Next quarter’s goals
- Initiatives for this year
but it’s always the task in front of them.
When I’m working with a team I’ll say to them “We’ll talk about your dreams (or any one of those words that describe it) later, but first, we’re going talk about the people. We’re going to talk about
- who we are
- what we contribute
- what our individual dreams are
- where we’re going together
- how we’re going get there together.
Without fail, when we get to the strategy/vision/task/dream portion of the session, it always goes much better when we’ve spent the time to build the fabric of the team.
Do you love the dream of what you want the team to be more than the people on the team? You’re going to be disappointed.
Love the people of the team. Build the fabric of the team. Many of my clients refer to this as team building. I don’t believe it’s team building. I believe it’s building team! You’ll be happier and more productive in the end.