Putting the I back in team

Commentary by Lt. Col. Arlene Collazo

Commander, Det 2, 21 SOPS, Guam Tracking Station

Have you ever watched a football game and thought, “This team has a great quarterback, but they don’t win any games?” As frustrating as that can be, we have to remember that a quarterback is not a team. He is one of 40-something players who make up a football team. For a team to win, you need good players who play well together. Each player needs to prepare and train for his or her particular role. At game time, players must play their role to their utmost ability.

So what does this football example have to do with us and the upcoming Consolidated Unit Inspection? The 50th Space Wing team is like a football team. You can have a great unit or program and still fail an inspection.

For our team to excel come inspection day, each member must train and prepare. Every member of this team should proudly say, “I am an important member of this team.” Better yet, “I am a critical member of this team. My actions contribute to making this team win.”

We always hear that there is no I in team. This is usually used in the context of building good teams to ensure that all team members work towards a common mission or goal. While it does work with removing egos and personal agendas, I think a lot is lost when we remove the I from team. In particular, we lose personal accountability, pride and the individual himself. Bottom line, we lose what makes a team strong! We need to put the I back in team and remember each one of us is accountable and responsible for the team’s success.

So, first, I urge you take ownership of your job and responsibilities. Remember the Army slogan, “Be all you can be?” We should be the best: satellite operator, gate guard, personnelist, comptroller, flight commander, trainer, evaluator, etc. we can be. Our team depends on every single one of us. We can’t be satisfied with blending into the crowd, or hoping somebody else will cover for our unpreparedness. Putting the I in team means we value the individual strengths, skills and experiences of every member of our team.

Second, offer a helping hand to a team member. During sporting events, you see players helping each other get back up after they get knocked down. Sometimes, they even help players from the other team get back up. We see players cheering for each other and sharing their successes. That is the attitude we need to embrace. Every member of the 50 SW should help each other out, share their knowledge and look out for one another. By holding each other accountable, we can guarantee success for our team.

We always hear that there is no I in team. But, as we countdown the days until the CUI, I urge you to put the I back in team and continue your preparation. As a quarterback’s wife so eloquently stated after Super Bowl XLVI, “My husband cannot throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.” The 50 SW team needs everyone of us. Let’s all get ready to catch the ball and win for our team.

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