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What makes teamwork work?

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A recent experience with contractors taught me something about the importance of working as a team.

My shop ceiling is done, and looks awesome. The contractor did a great job, and I think one of the reasons for that is that they worked so well together. There were three guys – the contractor I hired and his two workers – and they operated like a well-oiled machine.

One guy mostly handled ceiling tiles while the other two cut and hung furring strips. Although they clearly had assigned tasks, that didn’t stop them from shifting around a bit, helping one or the other of them as needed. There were no disagreements I heard; my contractor was calling the shots but took input from both of his guys as the worked and, more importantly, valued their input.

Most important of all was the fact the three of them got along very well, were good-natured, and working together with a true sense of camaraderie. I think they might even have had a little fun: One of them brought a charger/radio and my basement shop was filled with Christmas music for several days, and on more than one occasion I heard them whistling along with the music.

To be a successful contractor you have to be an expert at what you’re doing, and you have to do a good job for the customer. That’s the bottom line. But there’s another line somewhere that’s not so easy to measure. And somewhere along that line it describes a perfect camaraderie, and how important that is for a successful job.

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