Last week I attended a basketball practice at St. John’s University, my alma mater. Afterwards, head coach Pat McKenzie invited me to share a few thoughts with the players about how my time playing basketball at St. John’s impacted my life. We gathered in a meeting room overlooking the court.

I began by explaining a bit about our work at Top 20 Training and how we focus on helping groups become more effective by seeing things differently. “For instance,” I continued, “I’d like for you to think about this building differently. I’d like for you to think about this gym as a laboratory.”

Seeing their quizzical looks, I explained that the gym is a place where they spend three hours a day conducting experiments, gaining awareness, and practicing skills so they can succeed at one of the most important things human beings have to do…be a team.

Not everyone has developed the mindset or skills to function as a team. However, the reason being able to operate as a team is important is because human beings have dreams. They desire to create something that is important.

“On one level,” I shared with the players, “you are trying to win a game, win a conference championship, and get to the national tournament. But that’s all just practice for other more important dreams you will have for the rest of your life. Your future dreams may entail having a family, working to develop a product or benefit others, or establishing a supportive neighborhood or community. Whatever your dream is, it will only be possible by becoming a team.”

I had a simple dream recently. After doing a training in Iowa, I just wanted to get home. That required a 5 ½ hour trip back to St. Paul at the same time that a major snow storm was making its way through the Midwest. Good fortune shined on me until I got half a block from my home. That’s right, I got stuck in 13 inches of snow just a half block from my house. That’s when Katie and her two children, who live on the corner, were shoveling the sidewalk. They immediately came to my rescue with their toy shovels. Brian from across the street came with a pail of gravel to put under my tires in order to gain some traction. Three other neighbors came to push my car back and forth. With the help of my neighborhood team, I was able to get my car into my garage 30 minutes later.

We’ll focus more on team next week. In the meantime, recall how you have experienced team in one form or another. How has team helped you achieve a dream?

From our team…Willow, Kevin, and Tom…who have made amazing things happen.

Paul Bernabei, Director
Top 20 Training