The Undeniable Benefits of Putting the Team First

Updated on
April 14, 2024

by Tim McMullen

“It’s not about how tough you are. It’s not about how smart you are. It’s not about how fast you are. If you want to be an elite warrior you better get really, really good at helping the person to the left of you and helping the person to the right of you.” - Simon Sinek

As humans, we crave to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Here at redpepper, one of those things is our culture. Buying into our culture and core values means being motivated by team success rather than just individual ambition. Adopting a team-centric mentality will allow us to check our egos at the door, trust one another, and peak perform—leading to better outputs and happier team members. When I think about how to best articulate our vision for team success, there are two great examples that come to mind. The first is John Nash’s equilibrium and second is the Navy SEALs BUD/S program as told by General McChrystal in Team of Teams.

A Beautiful Mind is one of my greatest inspirations (I’m partial to the film version...have you seen the size of that book?!) It’s based on the true story of John Nash and his equilibrium game theory. Nash rebuts Adam Smith’s theory that “the best result comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for themself,” calling it incomplete. In an “aha!” moment he declares, “the best result will come from everyone in the group doing what’s best for themself and the group.” Our teams will always be better off if each of us is driven by more than just personal gain. 

So, what do A Beautiful Mind and the Navy Seal BUD/S program have in common? They have the same predictor of success. As a U.S. Naval SEAL Officer, Coleman Ruiz has seen first hand just what it takes for SEAL candidates to make it through the world-famous BUD/S qualification program. It’s not the runs, swims or punishments that make-or-break the trainees. Success is determined way before the physical tests, in the interview. Candidates who are there for self-serving reasons—citing the personal challenge and continuously using the word I—those are the ones who drop. Then there are the ones who say they are there to be part of an elite team, and who are willing to put themselves on the line for their teammates' safety and success above all else. They buy into “a shared sense of purpose”, those are the ones who make it through the program.

We will always have drive for ourselves to succeed, but we’ll never reach that success with individual ambition alone. We’ll get there with the understanding that if each person makes the conscious choice to put the group first, our teams will be stronger and we’ll all be better off.

Imagine walking through the doors every morning with the feeling that each person on your team is trying to help you succeed, even above their own success. If everyone felt that way? What a place.

By putting everyone on your team first, asking them what they need to succeed, you exponentially improve your own potential to peak perform. 

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