For those of you who don’t know, I’m a diehard University of Michigan fan. I grew up 30 minutes from the University of Michigan and still have football season tickets to this day despite living in Cleveland, OH. One of the greatest speeches I’ve ever heard came from Bo Schembechler in 1983. Bo was the head football coach at Michigan from 1969-1989 compiling a record of 194-48-5. In 21 years at Michigan, his teams won or shared 13 Big Ten Conference titles. With him, it was never about individual accomplishments. It was always about teamwork.
Here is a transcript of Bo Schembechler’s “The Team” Speech:
“We want the Big Ten championship and we’re gonna win it as a Team. They can throw out all those great backs, and great quarterbacks, and great defensive players, throughout the country and in this conference, but there’s gonna be one Team that’s gonna play solely as a Team. No man is more important than The Team. No coach is more important than The Team. The Team, The Team, The Team, and if we think that way, all of us, everything that you do, you take into consideration what effect does it have on my Team? Because you can go into professional football, you can go anywhere you want to play after you leave here. You will never play for a Team again. You’ll play for a contract. You’ll play for this. You’ll play for that. You’ll play for everything except the team, and think what a great thing it is to be a part of something that is, The Team. We’re gonna win it. We’re gonna win the championship again because we’re gonna play as team, better than anybody else in this conference, we’re gonna play together as a team. We’re gonna believe in each other, we’re not gonna criticize each other, we’re not gonna talk about each other, we’re gonna encourage each other. And when we play as a team, when the old season is over, you and I know, it’s gonna be Michigan again, Michigan.”
For the full effect, here is a link to the video of Bo’s “The Team” Speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjv2iDxiGBI
I believe this video still stands true today whether or not you are in a team sport. Look at some of the key statements that Bo made:
• “No man is more important than the Team”
• “No coach is more important than the Team”
• “We’re gonna believe in each other, we’re not gonna criticize each other, we’re not gonna talk about each other, we’re gonna encourage each other”
I’m a member of the Business Development Department in my professional life. We are a team of about 25 people who actively try to assist our members with growing their businesses. I consider my boss to be the coach and his employees as the players. He listens to his team, works with us and takes responsibility if something goes wrong. If we succeed and accomplish our goal, he is the first to tell people that it wasn’t him, but his team that deserves the credit. My boss treats all of us as equals. He doesn’t criticize or talk bad about us. If one of us is feeling down, he knows how to motivate and encourage us.
I encourage you to take a minute and think about Bo’s speech one more time. How do you treat your co-workers/teammates? If you start treating everyone as equals, maybe you’ll start seeing the same level of success that Bo Schembechler did.