Home » Book Excerpts » EXTREME DREAMS DEPEND ON TEAMS by Pat Williams


Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams

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Author: Pat Williams
Title: Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams
Publisher: Center Street
Genre: Business
Language: English


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Human beings are designed for teamwork, and teamwork is the only way to make seemingly impossible dreams and bold visions come true. Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven consecutive times, not by himself, but with the backing of his coaches, mechanic, and teammates. Charles Lindbergh may have been called “the Lone Eagle” because of his 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, but he assembled a first-rate team to make his dream possible.

In his new book,Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams (Center Street, July 22, 2009), Orlando Magic co-founder and Senior Vice President Pat Williams says that teamwork is the key to making extreme dreams a reality. Named one of the 50 most influential people in the NBA (National Basketball Association) after following his dream and helping to build the Orlando Magic from the ground up, Williams gives inspiring accounts of the power of teamwork—many of them personal—in a book that leadership guru Patrick Lencioni calls “the most comprehensive and interesting collection of wisdom on teamwork I have ever read.”

In Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams, Williams points out that extreme dreams are only fulfilled when teams are led with characteristics like respect, empowerment, commitment, trust and passion. “Once you put teamwork into practice in your organization, these principles will begin transforming everything. They will transform how you view the world, including our society and its problems, and the political and environmental issues we face…you’ll begin seeing the world through a lens of extreme dreams, extreme possibilities, and the power of teamwork,” says Williams.

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baseballTeamwork has been one of the great themes of my life for as long as I can remember. As a boy and as a man, as a team player or a team-builder, I’ve spent the vast majority of my years living by the principles of teamwork.

My dad gave me my first baseball glove when I was three and took me to my first major-league baseball game when I was seven. Dad, my sister Carol, and I sat in the stands at Philadelphia’s historic Shibe Park, scarfing hot dogs and cheering our throats raw during a Philadelphia Athletics–Cleveland Indians doubleheader. It was a glorious day, and I was hooked for life on the joyous mystique of teamwork.

When I was twelve, I played on my first baseball team. I loved the sense of comradeship, the giving and receiving of encouragement, the joy of victory, the shared consolation of defeat, the sense of belonging, and the pride of realizing, We’re a team! I’ve been involved with team sports nearly every day of my life since then. That’s more than half a century of teamwork experience, from elementary school to junior high to high school to college to the pros.

I’ve learned that every important accomplishment in life involves teamwork. The same principles that apply to team sports also apply in the corporate environment, government, the military, the religious world, and in families. As a dad, I helped raise four birth kids and fourteen kids by international adoption, so I was putting teams together every single day to keep our busy household functioning smoothly.

Teamwork is essential to our security and national defense. In Creating a Culture of Success, Charles Dygert and Richard Jacobs observe:

The United States military, in conjunction with its coalition forces throughout the world, emphasizes the importance of teamwork among its various branches. As we watched daily television war briefings by General Brooks on the war in Iraq in 2003, we noticed that he always attributed successes to the “people,” not to the technology. He acknowledged that the technology was the best in the world, but emphasized that it was people working together that made the technology effective.1

The medical staff of a hospital is also a team. The principles of teamwork are essential to a high-performing, effective lifesaving operation. Business writer William A. Cohen, PhD, offers this insight in Secrets of Special Ops Leadership:

Peter Drucker found an interesting phenomenon in investigating the procedures in a well-run hospital. Doctors, nurses, x-ray technicians, pharmacologists, pathologists, and other health care practitioners all worked together to accomplish a single object. Frequently he saw several working on the same patient under emergency conditions. Seconds counted. Even a minor slip could prove fatal. Yet, with a minimum amount of conscious command or control by any one individual, these medical teams worked together toward a common end and followed a common plan of action under the overall direction of a doctor.2

A business is a team—or should be. This is true whether the business is Microsoft or General Electric or Kelly’s Korner Koffeeshop. I have given thousands of speeches to corporate meetings and business conventions, and the number one subject I’m asked to speak on is teamwork. Whenever people come together to achieve a vision, their first priority must be to function as a team.

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Pat WilliamsPat Williams is the senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He is a popular motivational speaker averaging over 150 appearances a year. Williams has spent 45 years in professional baseball and basketball as a player and executive. He served as general manager of the 1983 world champion Philadelphia 76ers and managed the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.

Williams is the author of 55 books. He and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations. He and his family have been featured in such diverse publications as Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, and Focus on the Family as well as all the major TV networks. Pat and Ruth recently received an award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute for their efforts in adoption. To learn more about Pat Williams, visit www.PatWilliamsMotivate.com.

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