Posted by: G. Lane Cavalier | July 27, 2007

Life: White Board Sayings Explained – Number 8

“There is no ‘I’ in Team; but there is in WIN!”

-attributed to Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

This is another of my often used quotes. I never actually saw it directly quoted but heard the comment second hand and it struck a chord with me.

My interpretation of this quote is that of someone who is a Leader. Though I likewise believe fervently the old saying that there is no “I” in team, I also believe that Leaders are the one’s who are willing to take the responsibility for success when it’s time to get something done.

Having been a huge fan of MJ growing up, I remember him slowly going from someone who could put on a show, while most of his teammates seemed to be enjoying his talents as much as the rest of us; to someone who learned how to make those around him better by his mere presence and determination.

I often think that we overlook MJ’s biggest skills (note I didn’t use talent), his determination, work ethic, and his demand for excellence from everyone involved in his endeavors. The difference between MJ and others who entered the league with arguably equal or near equal talent were those three things.

Another age old saying that this is a subcomponent of this one that I try to remember often. The biggest asset of a leader is to know when to lead, when to participate, and when to follow. Can you think of a better sports related example of this than when Michael started the sequence that led to John Paxson’s game winner in Game 6 (1993) against Phoenix. Now that was Leadership, not Talent.

For those of you who want to go down memory lane, check this out at YouTube:


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