I really enjoyed Year 4’s assembly on teamwork this week. As a sportsman I have played in any number of teams since I first represented my prep school at the age of ten and as a follower of Chelsea, Essex County Cricket Club and the fortunes of England’s rugby team since 1970 I have also watched teams perform on different sports fields both on television and on sports pitches across Europe.
All three of the teams that I have followed have experienced, or are experiencing, periods of unprecedented success during the time that I have been watching them and they have also all gone through several years of being quite dreadful!

I think what makes teams successful and not just in sport, but in any walk of life, is a combination of talent and ability, coupled with experience, strong leadership and a real sense of “togetherness”. That feeling of being part of an extended family is crucial for a team’s success. You have to feel that sense of belonging, the feeling that you know that you can contribute to the team and that your contribution will be valued.

Above all you have to enjoy it and you have to lose the fear of failure. Without this you will not take calculated risks, will always hedge your bets and tend to make very slow progress, if any at all. Perhaps above anything else that our children will learn at school, we must strive to teach them that making mistakes and getting things wrong are actually crucial to success. Morihei Ueshiba, a Japanese martial artist, once said,

“Failure is key to success. Each mistake teaches us something.”

Good teams come back stronger from failures, learn from what went wrong, correct these failings and in many cases actually turn them into strengths.

Being part of a team is hugely rewarding. Being part of a successful team is even better, but sometimes you have to fail in order to succeed.