• Communicating information, sharing assignments and working cohesively with the FFL team
  • Appreciating and leveraging the strengths of others, relying on them for help, input and feedback
  • Volunteering to help someone else complete a task without expecting credit for it

Great things are rarely achieved by just one person and working in teams can sometimes be challenging. But no one person's needs, abilities or ideas are any more important than the combined skills and efforts of the entire group. Recently, I was watching Steve Jobs in an interview that had been discovered after 17 years. In that interview he was discussing the importance and impact of teamwork, and it was during that discussion that he shared a short parable of rocks and how they polish each other:

“When I was a young kid there was a widowed man who lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He’s a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn.

One day he said to me, “come on into my garage I want to show you something.” And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, “come on with me.” We went out into the back and we got some rocks. Some regular old ugly rocks.

And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, “come back tomorrow.” And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.

I came back the next day and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.

That’s always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they’re passionate about. It’s that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other, and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these beautiful stones.”

Our purpose as committed teammates is to enter the coffee can as those common stones, and then to trust that our dedication to undergo the challenges by leveraging the strengths of others, relying on our teammates for help, input and feedback in an effort to succeed together will eventually find us grow as individuals and our collaborative work transformed into the beautifully polished rocks that could not have otherwise been achieved by an individual(s).

Key Words and Phrases
Reliance and interdependence; Common goals; Shared responsibility; Cooperation; Mutual accountability; Blended strengths; Esprit de corps; Trust in one another.

Opposite Terms
Going it alone; Not trusting others; Not supporting others; Not relying on others.

GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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