Superstars and Team Players

photo shows four hands working together on a puzzle

I played team sports growing up: all my kids at least tried them, too. What do we know about strong teams and strong businesses?

A star player can get a team pretty far—but notching some big wins doesn’t mean the program is sustainable.

It’s a hard lesson for many superstars. Plenty of hot businesses crash and burn under extraordinary people who turn out to be poor leaders.

On a solid team, you don’t need a leader who’s able to do everything: you want a mix across the team. You need to face that not everyone is equally skilled in all areas, and you want to build a space where strengths can shine and powers can complement each other.

So what’s a better alternative to the superstar? We’d suggest it’s the true team player.

Okay, so being a “team player” sometimes isn’t so glamorous. Sometimes people ask you to be a team player when it’s time for you to do something you don’t want to do. It can be a euphemism for a chump.

A team player, however, is someone who can delegate. This type of leader is not so foolish to think they are the only one for the job. This leader isn’t afraid of looking like they’re not up to a challenge—because they know that other team players will recognize the power of working together. Trust begets trust.

Some people mistake a team player for someone who’s okay giving up control. But someone who can work on a team actually gains power: if the work makes it to the person that it’s best for, everyone is free to pick and choose, to optimize how they spend their time.

A lot of endeavors in life require teams. We like to think of our office as one such team, but we are also honored to be part of the team that helps you keep your life running. Clients, by letting us help you, we get to use our skills to focus on one important aspect for you. You’re not giving anything up by inviting us into the process: you’re gaining control, the chance to make more informed decisions that work toward your goals.

We don’t need superstars. Our team has what it takes, and we’ve got the best clients in the world. Call or write when you’d like to chat about this, or anything else.

I Mow My Lawn with a Checkbook

© Can Stock Photo / tab62

You may have heard a thousand times, “time is money.” For me and perhaps for you, the reminder to use our time well was a needed and useful lesson.

As we grew into adulthood and established our lives, careers, homes, and everything else, money seemed scarce and time was abundant. Using time to get money made a whole lot of sense.

Things change as we age, you may have noticed. A client shared a revelation that came to him shortly after he retired. “I spent all those years worrying about having enough money in retirement, and quickly learned that the scarce thing is time, not money. I’ll run out of time long before I run out of money.”

This conversation led us to the thought that money is time. The point was driven home recently when I received a compliment about my lawn from a neighbor down the street. “You must spend a lot of time taking care of it,” he said. I was forced to admit I spend virtually no time on it.

I mow my lawn with a checkbook. That same tool takes care of the landscaping, and keeps my home clean. It has more functions than a Swiss Army knife. Time, for me, is a scarce resource—a valuable commodity. It is a blessing to be able to spend money and get time.

From time to time you have heard us advise, invest wisely and spend well. These things mean different things to different people. A very dear friend LOVES to mow the lawn, tinker with lawnmowers, fool around with the shrubbery. Good for him, I say. One of the ways he spends money to gain time is by paying us to help with his financial affairs.

To our young clients, a reminder: time is money.

To our not-young clients, a different version: money is time.

If you would like to talk about this or anything else, please email us or call.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.