Parts working together effectively produce amazing results

Teamwork is one of the basic methods to get out of any jam you’re in. That’s what saved 15-year-old Morris Baetzold, the teenager in this month’s Uniquely Cleveland who was trapped in the Cleveland Metroparks’ Wildcat Cave on Oct. 5, 1965.

The teen fell headfirst into a narrow crevice and was wedged in — he couldn’t pull himself out. Many experts combined their talents and efforts to devise a system of ropes and pulleys to raise the youth and then pull him out on a glycerin-covered board.

It was teamwork that made the rescue successful. While you don’t have to be a genius to conclude that, the lesson is timeless: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

When the parts interact effectively, they will produce a result greater than each part added together.

The same goes for business. Several small businesses can collaborate under the umbrella of a larger corporate enterprise — manufacturing supplies and offering services to each other to use those strengths in a way that produces a strong corporation.

For example, a CEO I interviewed says not only does an arrangement like this build strength, it builds loyalty.

The deciding factors often vary among industries, but for this leader, who focuses on quality as a top concern, the payoff has been to make use of his corporation’s various divisions.

“Everything is in our operation,” he says, “from the architects, to the marketing, the financing, the banking, the management — everything is in-house. We are an A to Z operation.”

With everything under one roof, the chances of establishing loyalty are much greater than when you are outsourcing, he has found.

“It is much easier to manage quality because of the loyalty,” he says. “You will have control over correcting mistakes because the team is working together.

“I am not going to tell you that everything in our business works perfectly. But if it doesn’t work, you start all over again. You have to fix it. This is your foundation.”

That’s the beauty of teamwork. It’s how to execute well and achieve success.

Dennis Seeds is editor-at-large of Smart Business magazine.