No matter what industry you’re in, it pays to be a team player. When a team works well as a unit, they are able to accomplish more than individual members can do alone.
As Patrick Lencioni puts it in the leadership fable, The Ideal Team Player, the ideal team player embodies three virtues: humility, hunger and people smarts.
So this got us thinking, what more could we be accomplishing as a company, as an industry, if we all strived to embody these three virtues? How could we move the dial further on fresh produce consumption by working together as a team?
Here’s a breakdown of the ideal team player model:
Humble – Humble people are quick to point out the contributions of others and slow to seek attention for their own. They share credit, emphasize team over self, and define success collectively rather than individually.
Hungry – Hungry team players are always looking for more. More things to do, more to learn, and more responsibility to take on. They are constantly thinking about the next step and the next opportunity.
Smart – Smart team players have common sense about people. Smart people tend to know what is happening in a group situation and how to deal with others in the most effective way. They ask good questions, listen to what others are saying and stay engaged in conversation intently.
What happens when people have one dominant characteristic of the ideal team player?
According to Lencioni, these are the names and descriptions of individuals who have one dominant characteristic of the ideal team player:
Pawns – Pawns are only humble. While they’re modest and pleasant people to be around, they hardly ever cultivate meaningful relationships and lack ambition and drive.
Bulldozers – Bulldozers are only hungry. They have a one-track mind when it comes to getting results. Because of this, they can be selfish and not realize the effects their behavior has on the team.
Charmers – Charmers are only smart and are well-liked because they can be very entertaining. They will compliment team members on doing a good job, but they’re not interested in the team’s welfare.
What happens when people only have two characteristics of the ideal team player?
Although someone who has two character traits of the ideal team player is preferable to a team member with only one characteristic, this still does not make someone an ideal team player. Here’s how Lencioni names and describes people with two out of the three characteristics:
Accidental mess-makers – These are individuals that are both humble and hungry, but are not smart. While they have good intentions and aren’t continually seeking credit or affirmation, they have no clue how their words and actions are perceived by other team members.
Lovable slackers – Lovable slackers are humble and smart, but they aren’t hungry. Their people skills and humility are exceptional however, they don’t have the drive and motivation to be the ideal team player.
Skillful politicians – Team members who are skillful politicians are hungry and smart, but not humble. This is the most treacherous type of team player because they only work hard to serve their own interest and are good at manipulating people to get their own way.
Overall, what makes humble, hungry and smart powerful and unique is not the individual attributes themselves, but the required combination of all three. An ideal team player can be developed. Meaning when you are aware of your characteristics, you can work to strengthen the ones you need to strengthen.
When a team has a wealth of true team players that encompass this model, we believe that team is virtually unstoppable – and this is our hope for the fresh produce industry.
So we leave you with this question, are you a true team player?