Teamwork Makes the Dream Work


“Teamwork makes the dream work” suggests that it is almost if not certainly impossible to make a dream work all by one’s self. An individual may birth the dream, but to make the dream a reality may require the collective efforts of people with a similar dream or who have come to believe in the individual’s dream. It suggests that with an ideal team committed to a particular dream over a period of time, the realization of the dream is inevitable. It is just a matter of time. Just as Mother Theresa said, “I can do things you can’t, you can do things I can’t, together, we can do great things.” For the quote, “Teamwork makes the dream work to be true, the premise of a skilled and rightly motivated group of individuals with a clear and common purpose must first be established, then and only then can teamwork make the dream work. AS Michael Jordan once said, “Talent win games but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”

Origin of the Phrase: “Teamwork makes the dream work” is a relatively well-known phrase, especially in the corporate and business world. It is believed to have first been used by John .C. Maxwell, an American Clergyman, leadership coach, speaker, and best-selling author who has sold more than 24 million books in 50 languages. Identified as the most popular leadership expert in the world by Inc. magazine in 2014 and being voted the top leadership professional six years in a row on, it’s no fluke that the quote caught on to the world so virally. His original quote was, “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.”

Makes sense, but what does this quote really mean?

Understanding the Quote: For any statement to be true, there has to be a premise or premises that allows it to be, of which outside of such premises, that statement or argument falls apart and can be negated. For the quote to be proven true, we have first to understand it and the premise that it can be true.

Let’s start by understanding the basic concept of a Dream. A dream is basically an envisioned goal, an endpoint, or at the very least, a checkpoint or milestone, which in most cases is usually time-based (either short term or long term). For an individual, it may be to attain a certain lifestyle or achievement by a certain age. Still, for corporate organizations, which would usually involve a group of people, it usually is a milestone or a vision they all share.

Now that’s out of the way, what is a team? A team is basically a group of individuals working together on a particular endeavor to achieve a set and common goal. Therefore, “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork” would mean that a dream, vision, or goal is more likely to be achieved if a group of individuals is putting in collective efforts to achieve it. 

But therein lies the problem, getting different individuals to function as a unit with cohesion, relentlessly putting in their best with the aim of achieving one shared goal. For this quote to be made true, the premise of building a high functioning team must first be created.


For Teamwork to make the dream work, the right team must be put together and properly lead. Most of the time, there is already a team on the ground, and the challenge is getting this team to begin functioning as a unit to make the dream work. Hiring the perfect team is a great way to put together a dream team, but that in itself could prove to be a myth because, obviously, you may hire good professionals. Still, it would require time and observation to recognize and fix pitfalls and loopholes in their activities’ flow and coordination.

To build an effective team, there are a couple of things that have to be put in place both physically and psychologically, let’s take a look At them.

Clear Purpose/Vision: Arguably, the most important thing to be put in place is a clear vision/purpose for the team, a common goal that every team member has agreed to achieve, which somehow aligns with individual goals.

It doesn’t have to be “rocket science,” something simple and clear, easily and well defined, to be either an end or a milestone to a series of activities. A vision is easily the driving force of any individual; it is said that if the why of a thing is strong enough, the how is doable. Lack of a clear vision or purpose will usually lead to frustration, confusion, and, most times, waste of time on unproductive activities. If a group of people can agree to achieve a particular goal in a given period of time, it makes the job easier because the job that would have been done by one individual can now be split among a tangible number of people, which now leads us to the next and essential element of building a “dream team.”

Well-Delegated Responsibilities: After the group has agreed on the outcome of embarking on a certain endeavor, the very next thing is to rightly delegate duties, assignments, tasks, and responsibilities to each individual of the group or team based on their different strengths and expertise.

This is a rather challenging and daunting task, especially when building a team that isn’t made up of professionals. An example of such would be putting together a team of Excos in a church board or school fellowship or setting up a school department committee. Delegating responsibilities has to be done very carefully and strategically after a period of careful observation to know who is naturally fit for a task. It is a bit easier when working with a team of professionals in different fields related to the team’s vision. Responsibilities should be assigned fairly and evenly not to stir up envy and jealousy among team members. That alone is enough to stop the dream from working.

Solid Support System: After each team member’s task and responsibilities have been clearly stated and properly conveyed to the team members, the next thing is to ensure a solid support system. This basically comes down to “Comrading.” Team members need to be supportive of each other in and out of the work environment. This has more to do with building “human” relations with each member.

Team members have to get that sense of belonging, enough to know that their absence would be felt, it helps to reassure them that they are an integral part of the team, which means that if they fall short of expectation, it would affect the team and be consequential to the team goal and vision.  I would definitely feel safer working in an environment where I feel like my teammates have my back. That’s the sole reason why many individuals tend to try building a team or going into business with friends, for the “safety” it offers. Although, this in itself is not an effective way of building a team.

General Team Activities: It is a good idea to propose and carry out tasks together. After all, the whole idea of a team is working together. Especially for teams that are not based in the same geographical location, as in online teams and team members. Meetings, seminars, and workshops should be scheduled and organized; tasks and activities that require collective efforts should be engaged in to encourage interdependency of teammates on each other. Meetings to evaluate progress and give reports should be organized regularly to ensure that teammates interact with each other. This helps to bring the team closer, spot slackers, and spur them up.

Clear Communication Pathway: Handling a task or responsibility can get really daunting and overwhelming sometimes, and team members get stuck at certain points during the execution of their tasks. Without a clear channel or path of communicating these frustrations and confusion, team members either become redundant or, in a bid to be smart, end up doing the wrong thing and wasting time, energy, and possibly resources, which cycles back to frustration and definitely if not handled properly may affect the collective efforts of the team thereby killing the dream.

Clear channels and pathways of communication should be established; this may entail defining the team’s hierarchy or putting in place a system to collect information.

Adequate External Support: As perfect as a team may be in its inner workings, sometimes the team’s goals and visions could be thwarted from actions of external elements. Internal support may often not be a problem as team members have established good working relationships, but their problem may be from superiors, especially in large corporate organizations. Adequate support from superiors or management in terms of providing resources and prompt responses to proposals and requests will go a long way to encourage and solidify a team. Whatever hampers a team’s productivity should be avoided because nothing is more discouraging than doing the right thing and not seeing results. A team’s effects could be almost irreparable as team members become complacent and lackadaisically towards team activities and responsibilities.

In areas where a team is deficient, it is better to get an external help than trying to be over-resourceful thereby putting too much pressure on the team.

Rewards and Consequences: One of the most important elements in building a dream team is rewarding the team members’ efforts. As the statement goes, “the reward for good work is more work.” Keeping the team motivated is a sure way to get the best out of the team members, which is not always done verbally. Incentivizing tasks and assignments carried out outstandingly can encourage both the team member and the rest of the team, urging them to strive to be better. Giving awards and special recognition, special privileges, and monetary incentives to team members who carry out their duties in exemplary fashion is a great way to motivate a team.

As important as rewarding good work is punishing bad work. In a team, you have to acknowledge that not every moment is rosy; even in a dream team, sometimes team members lose sight and focus and take the tasks for granted; this sort of behavior, if left unchecked, can grow to be detrimental to the whole vision of the team, as such, disciplinary action against unwanted behavior and poorly executed tasks and responsibilities would help send a clear signal to the rest of the team that tasks should be carried out appropriately. Rewards and punishments are very delicate issues in a team. They must be handled carefully and wisely. Not everyone can make the right decisions when it comes to leading a team, which leads us to arguably the most important team element.

Good Leadership: The effectiveness of a group of people coming together as a team relies greatly on that team leader. No matter how small, every organization or group will always have a leader, whether appointed or not; there is always a figurehead, an authority figure who everyone turns to for instruction or guidance. Most of the time, the leader is responsible for even putting the team together in the first place.

The job of a leader begins even before the team is formed. To be a good leader, you must be prepared and knowledgeable about the team’s vision to be formed; this will help you choose the right people to be on the team rather than trying to surround yourself with friends. You must be fearless, firm, and willing to take risks, be willing to take responsibility for success and failure, and listen to the team.

A leader must be able to make decisions that are not easy and compromise for the team’s benefit if the situation demands it. Above all, a leader should be selfless and ready to do what he delegates to his teammates to do. If a leader possesses these qualities, the Law of Attraction suggests that it would be easy for he/her to attract people or teammates of similar qualities to his/her team, thereby making the formulation of a dream team a bit easier.

The quote “Teamwork makes the dream work” should not be used to cajole people for personal endeavors or exploit others for selfish personal gains. It is used to encourage a group of people who have agreed to share the same or similar goals or purpose and are determined to work on it together until it is achieved.

Teamwork makes the dream work is applied where two or more people have combined ideas positively in a project or a task until it succeeds.  Teamwork is a term used to refer to combined efforts that individuals put in to achieve a common goal or complete an assignment in the best possible way.  A dream (s) desires to achieve a particular goal or a given task almost perfectly.  A dream could be short term or long term. Almost everyone has a dream in life, and most of them come to reality through teamwork. A team consists of persons with each having unique skills that lead to accomplishing the dream in question.

Importance of Teamwork

When a group of people join forces to achieve a dream, excellent results are to occur. Below are some of the values that collaboration can result into:

Brings virgin ideas

This is usually practical within an employment setup. An employee who has been with a certain company for quite a long period will execute his or her tasks in the old ways he or she has learned in the past. Although it is believed that old is gold, sometimes the gold must be polished to put some fragrance. This is now where teamwork sets in. Team players with their unique thinking capabilities channel massive ideas to the table to solve a problem. Even the expert grasps pts at the end of the day that later adds that to their experience.

Teamwork is a source of unity

A given company might be having different departments. Certain events usually bring most of the departments, if not all, together. For instance, organizing for an annual general meeting (AGM) or an end year party. Such events usually require individuals from different departments to brainstorm to make the program a success. 

Teamwork reduces stress

A lot of work has made so many individuals pile up thoughts, making them stressed and sometimes fall into depression.  When one has a vision of having an excellent output on a certain project and decides to incorporate many heads, they are bound to have outstanding results with a lot of ease. This is because there would be suggestions on how to tackle the problem from the team. It is, therefore, correct to conclude that teamwork is a cure. When one leaves lives long, he or she has the opportunity to achieve so many dreams.

Teamwork encourages risk-taking

it is easier to take risks when in a team than when working alone. The main reason is that while one is alone, they want to be perfect, but when in a team, many individuals are accountable, and if anything goes a mess, the whole team will be held responsible. The act of taking risks is very crucial in the journey of fulfilling a dream. It might have disadvantages along the way, but that’s where discoveries and inventions come in.

Increased efficiency

teamwork is the best tool to apply when one wants the best results.  The main reason behind this is that each team member has unique skills. Therefore when delegating duties, the leader gives according to expertise levels. Individuals would want to showcase their abilities by giving their best performance. Henceforth, without a doubt, when the results from different team members are combined, the efficiency level becomes impressive.

Hastened innovation

when minds critically think over an issue new discoveries are likely to come up. Despite the fact that ideas might overlap, one would still be having a number of options to make the situation in question better.

Provides learning opportunity

Teamwork provides a learning platform. This is practical since one might find more experienced team members who will advise on how to conduct a task professionally or maybe get ideas that will change their mindset. By acquiring multiple skills, one can change one way of solving similar problems efficiently and effectively.

Characteristics of Effective Teams


Solidarity is an important factor when it comes to teamwork. Team players that stick together throughout the execution of a project or an assigned task tend to complete faster and in the most effective way. When team members with information and each member want to be so useful than others, achieving the dream desired will be too slow. Group members should therefore work towards building cohesiveness between them.


This is a key factor in making teamwork efficient. It is only through communication that new ideas can be given and corrections made where possible. When team members feel uncomfortable with the kind of leadership or a particular member, it is important to communicate as early as possible before everything is messed up. 

Team size

A team should have a moderate number of members depending on the amount of work that has to be done. It is advisable to avoid too many members as this may result in laziness among the group. A big group means a low level of accountability, which is very dangerous for the task’s successor project in question. Blame games and poor communication tend to rise in a large group.


when selecting team members to conduct a given project, it is important to consider compatibility. They should neither be over homogenous nor over heterogeneous.  The choice can be based on the individuals’ skills and abilities, education level, personalities, backgrounds (religious, cultural, generational), and income level. When all these are considered, then one is likely to have a standard team.

Role specification

As much as people will be working in a team, each member needs to have a specific role in delivering. This encourages timely submission of results as dedicated members would not wish to let down their team.  Results can then be combined and discussed with ease. Role identity also promotes the sense of belonging as each member will strongly feel recognized and be able to celebrate the results since they fully participated genuinely.


Maintaining the same members contributes to effective teamwork. Team members get t to learn from each other over time; therefore, they collaborate most efficiently to ensure the best results are realized. Stability in a team increases togetherness, and members can openly share ideas. Reshuffling teams will slow down the workability rate since new members have to take time to acquaint themselves with the new working style. Newcomers might even bring confusion since their ideas could be totally different.

Effective Teamwork Setbacks


When there is a lack of agreement among team members, the team’s functionality becomes poor. This is because conclusions will be made by few individuals who might not be the best as compared to where arguments are absent. The sense of ownership of the work lacks where members keep on disagreeing on executing a task. The probability of increased timeframe of achievement of the set target is high in this case.

Absence of trust

Lack of trust is one of the major hindrances of dream achievement in a team. It creates a sense of insecurity, which is totally unhealthy when it comes to teamwork. When members do not believe in each other’s ideas, it becomes tough for them to implement them. The contributions being avoided might be the ones that could lead to the success of the project or task.


When one member is favored more than the others when it comes to giving ideas, the rest’s enthusiasm is minimized since they feel insignificant in the team. However experienced an individual may be, they will always need others. That is the main purpose as to why teamwork is encouraged. Each team has unique ideas and skills that need to be implemented in the task in question. It is therefore important to let each member speak their mind equally.

Evading duties

Role distribution is a key factor in effective teamwork. However, when some members start dodging their duties, then the team is likely to be drawn behind.  Laziness should be completely discouraged in a team. During team members selection, the project manager should check out for hardworking individuals to incorporate into the team. The selected team leader should take the responsibility of reminding each member of their duties.

Lack of a team leader

A group without a group leader tends to be so disorganized since no specific person gives directions. There has to be one person who is more responsible for the task being undertaken. The leader will ensure everyone participates and delegate duties to each group member and follow up to ensure they actually complete their assignment. If the team is reporting to someone of higher rank, the group leader can give the briefings.

Prolonged meetings

Extended meetings lead to boredom, and members might end up forgetting important ideas. Team members give best ideas when their mind is active. Strong issues that require a lot of brainstorming should always be discussed at the beginning of the meeting when participation morale is still high.

Absence of social interaction

Team members should interact with each other even outside their working environment. This promotes cohesiveness among them. Interacting outside will allow them to discuss matters not related to their task; hence, they will know each other well, their likes, and dislikes. When they meet again for their team duties, they will share ideas freely.

Poor communication

Ineffective communication may lead to the wrong implementation of ideas. It might also easily lead to disagreements among team members. Fear of being irrelevant can lead to poor communication; therefore, the leader should work on members’ self-confidence to ensure that communication is done freely.

Reluctant to accept change

When team members are unwilling to accept change, it makes it very difficult to achieve the desired goal in the most efficient way. Flexibility and adaptability are very crucial factors when it comes to dreaming achievement. This does not mean that a team should completely abandon the old ways but rather incorporate new ideas to the ancient ones to make them even better.

Lacks of motivation

Human beings are naturally emotional. Lack of motivation really lowers their level of enthusiasm. Motivation could be done financially or just verbally. Some duties are so heavy and tend to take one’s time as they try to brainstorm.  It only takes a little encouragement to make them work even harder.


In conclusion, teamwork is a crucial team when an individual or a company wants to achieve their goals effectively. The advantages of teamwork discussed above should encourage anyone with a goal in life to embrace teamwork. No one is perfect. One cannot possess all the skills required to carry out a project, however much learned they could be. Working together means success as long as team members are disciplined and dedicated to the dream. The barriers to effective teamwork should act as strongholds when one thinks of forming a team. The setbacks should be transformed into advantages by all means. No individual is perfect, and for this reason, no team is perfect either. The joint ideas are the ones needed in teamwork to produce the most efficient way.

One of the most difficult tasks is convincing people to channel their energy towards ensuring that your dream comes to reality. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that your idea really makes sense. Once one identifies persons who are willing to join the journey of accomplishing their dream, a good leader has to be chosen since a team’s efficiency is determined by the quality of leadership. Engaging a team is the fastest way to make your dream work.

Also read: Effective Communication is Key to Career Success

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

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