Exodus 20:16 Psalm 50:20
We have only one person to blame, and that's each other.
Barry Beck of the New York
Rangers, on who started a brawl during the NHL's1997 Stanley Cup playoffs.
There's a wonderful story about Jimmy Durante, one of the great entertainers of a
generation ago. He was asked to be a part of a show for World War II veterans. He told
them his schedule was very busy and he could afford only a few minutes, but if they
wouldn't mind his doing one short monologue and immediately leaving for his next
appointment, he would come. Of course, the show's director agreed happily. But when Jimmy
got on stage, something interesting happened. He went through the short monologue and then
stayed. The applause grew louder and louder and he kept staying. Pretty soon, he had been
on fifteen, twenty, then thirty minutes. Finally he took a last bow and left the stage.
Backstage someone stopped him and said, "I thought you had to go after a few minutes.
Jimmy answered, "I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed. You can
see for yourself if you'll look down on the front row." In the front row were two
men, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had
lost his left. Together, they were able to clap, and that's exactly what they were doing,
loudly and cheerfully.
Tim Hansel, Holy Sweat, 1987, Word Books Publisher,
Bees can show you something about teamwork. On a warm day about half the bees in a hive
stay inside beating their wings while the other half go out to gather pollen and nectar.
Because of the beating wings, the temperature inside the hive is about 10 degrees cooler
than outside. The bees rotate duties and the bees that cool the hive one day are honey
gatherers the next.
Bits & Pieces, September 17, 1992, p. 19-20.
It's those stately geese I find especially impressive. Winging their way to a warmer
climate, they often cover thousands of miles before reaching their destination. Have you
ever studied why they fly as they do? It is fascinating to read what has been discovered
about their flight pattern as well as their in-flight habits. Four come to mind.
1. Those in front rotate their leadership. When one lead goose gets tired, it changes
places with one in the wing of the V-formation and another flies point.
2. By flying as they do, the members of the flock create an upward air current for one
another. Each flap of the wings literally creates an uplift for the bird immediately
following. One author states that by flying in a V-formation, the whole flock gets 71
percent greater flying range than if each goose flew on its own.
3. When one goose gets sick or wounded, two fall out of formation with it and follow it
down to help and protect it. They stay with the struggler until it's able to fly again.
4. The geese in the rear of the formation are the ones who do the honking. I suppose it's
their way of announcing that they're following and that all is well. For sure, the
repeated honks encourage those in front to stay at it. As I think about all this, one
lesson stands out above all others: it is the natural instinct of geese to work together.
Whether it's rotating, flapping, helping, or simply honking, the flock is in it
together...which enables them to accomplish what they set out to do.
letter, October, 1991.
The next time a committee is appointed and the committee names several task forces to
do its job, think of this story: To highlight its annual picnic one year, a company rented
two racing shells and challenged a rival company to a boat race. The rival company
accepted. On the day of the picnic, everyone entered into the spirit of the event. Women
wore colorful summer dresses and big, floppy hats. Men wore straw skimmers and white
pants. Bands played and banners waved. Finally the race began. To the consternation of the
host company, the rival team immediately moved to the front and was never headed. It won
by 11 lengths. The management of the host company was embarrassed by its showing and
promptly appointed a committee to place responsibility for the failure and make
recommendations to improve the host team's chances in a rematch the following year. The
committee appointed several task forces to study various aspects of the race. They met for
three months and issued a preliminary report. In essence, the report said that the rival
crew had been unfair.
"They had eight people rowing and one coxswain steering and shouting out the
beat," the report said. "We had one person rowing and eight coxswains." The
chairman of the board thanked the committee and sent it away to study the matter further
and make recommendations for the rematch. Four months later the committee came back with a
recommendation: "Our guy has to row faster."
Bits and Pieces, September 19,
1991, p. 5-6.
I'm just a plowhand from Arkansas, but I have learned how to hold a team together. How
to lift some men up, how to calm down others, until finally they've got one heartbeat
together, a team. There's just three things I'd ever say: If anything goes bad, I
did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes real good, then you
did it. That's all it takes to get people to win football games for you.
Every year in Alaska, a 1000-mile dogsled race, a run for prize money and prestige,
commemorates an original "race" run to save lives. Back in January of 1926,
six-year-old Richard Stanley showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of
an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis
Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective
anti-dipheheria serum. But it wasn't long before Dr. Welch's supply ran out, and the
nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska--1000 miles of frozen wilderness away. Amazingly, a
group of trappers and prospectors volunteered to cover the distance with their dog teams!
Operating in relays from trading post to trapping station and beyond, one sled started out
from Nome while another, carrying the serum, started from Nenana. Oblivious to frostbite,
fatigue, and exhaustion, the teamsters mushed relentlessly until, after 144 hours in minus
50-degree winds, the serum was delivered to Nome. As a result, only one other life was
lost to the potential epidemic. Their sacrifice had given an entire town the gift of life.