No one really makes it on their own. Everyone is part of a team, whether internally at their business or with partners at other businesses. Anyone who thinks their success is only attributable to their own actions is mistaken and myopic.
You need to know your colleagues. Does this mean you have to be best friends with everyone and know everything about them? Of course not. But it does mean you need to know more than their name and which office they are in.
For what I do, I need to know the practice areas of other attorneys at my firm. If not, how do I serve my clients and referrals generally and when they have needs outside of my practice area? I can’t, and then I lose and my firm loses, because I can miss valuable cross-marketing opportunities.
It sounds so simple: you need to know the services your business provides. It is easier in some businesses than others. In mine, it means I need to remember a lot of information or be organized enough to access it or know who to asks in a given situation. And when I need to ask, it is another time being on a team helps.
Internal teamwork also fosters trust and collaboration. Sometimes you are the quarterback running the offense and sometimes you are the receiver catching the ball from a leader or supervisor and running with it. If you do not have an effective team, there is a better chance the ball is dropped, which reflects badly on your business.
Of course teamwork can lead to situations where some people get more credit than others, even where other members of the team were necessary and did the actual legwork that resulted in the credit or accolades. Good leaders recognize those who lift them up and enable the recognition. Most of the time you see someone getting recognition or an award, there is a group of people behind him or her who are responsible. And without their teamwork, the project being recognized likely would have gone nowhere.
So remember that every member of your team is impactful and has a role to play because team work is the rule, not the exception.