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Dream work makes the team work

As the old saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” But, it seems dream work is what makes the team work. As cliché as both sayings may be, they are proving especially relevant today.

Businesses and nonprofits are struggling to stay afloat, but those embracing collaboration over competition, producing truly remarkable work (dream work), and challenging the status quo, are thriving by engaging and motivating their “tribes”. Those stuck in the old mentality of operating in a silo and taking ownership over ideas are likely to encounter more struggles as they try to find their way to success.

Seth Godin points out in “Tribes,” his most recent book, “Organizations that destroy the status quo win. Individuals who push their organizations, who inspire other individuals to change the rules, thrive. Whatever the status quo is, changing it gives you the opportunity to be remarkable.”

One organization changing the rules is Gangplank, a start-up business incubator in Chandler, Ariz. They thrive on connection and collaboration, and have motivated others to help propel their manifesto: creating an economy of innovation and creativity in Arizona.
“I believe that Gangplank was able to get people to connect and unify for a purpose,” said Derek Neighbors, co-founder of Gangplank. “It quickly formed an ‘unwritten’ membership where by people associated themselves as being part of ‘Gangplank.’ It met many needs that those that identified themselves as members were looking for. I think the combination of these things gave them an emotional connection they were missing elsewhere and let them know that they had value, purpose and influence on the community they were participating in.”

Godin said organizations that abide by the rules of the status quo, stuck in their processes, won’t ever create a motivated following – a key difference between tribes and groups. Creating a tribe, however, requires a certain type of leader – often a heretic.

“Tribes are about faith – about belief in an idea and in a community,” he said. “Groups create vacuums – small pockets where stasis sets in, where nothing is happening. Leaders figure out how to step into those vacuums and create motion.”

Heretics create motion and therefore tribes. They have vision, conviction and belief in their ideas. They challenge the status quo, and most importantly, they have a tribe they support and that supports them – collaboration, or team work that makes the dream work.

“Organizations and individuals that embrace collaboration will be at a distinct advantage over those that choose to not collaborate,” Neighbors said. “However, one can succeed without collaboration – it is just a more difficult road.”

But collaboration, or tribes, won’t form around ideas or organizations that are unremarkable – it will never spread. Dream work needs to be at the heart of the tribe. Godin subscribes to a simple marketing formula: “Ideas that spread, win.”

Neighbors and Jade Meskill hit the mark with Gangplank and seem to embody the qualities of a true leader: Passion. Integrity. Vision. Belief. (Though I’m not sure they would ever call themselves leaders.)

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