‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe.
This evergreen classic composed by Martin Gaye & Tammi Terrella was given further immortality through the movie Remember the Titans. Amidst external turmoil over issues of race and society, the newly integrated T.C Williams High School got its first African American football coach, Herman Boone (the ever-so sublime and brilliant Denzel Washington). The movie follows the real-life journey of this school’s football team, as they overcome deep seated issues that have divided them for as long as anyone can remember. And while Boone’s coaching methods are certainly debatable in terms of the line that they toy with, their effectiveness in making the team champions cannot be argued with. He brought together a diverse group of players and converted them into a well-oiled machine where each player was ready to lay down on the barrel for each other. Despite all the challenges that the city of Alexandria and their school faced, all of them emerged victorious at the end, in no little debt to the ‘soul spirit’ that the team imbibed within itself. Ronnie Bass, Gerry Bertier, Julius Campbell; contrasting personalities came together to lead the team to the championship.
In the beginning of the movie, the two coaches, Herman Boone and Bill Yoast, meet to talk about not only how they’re going to integrate the Black players with the White players, but also on how to ensure victory. Each coach has distinctly different methods and ideas, leading to a mutual dislike right from the beginning. The city’s tension permeates into the team as well, with the black and white players coexisting in an atmosphere of mutual distrust. How did a champion team emerge out of all this? The teamwork and spirit that the coaches were able to build was exemplary and can teach us a thing or two about teamwork. Teamwork is important in any organisation where a group of people are working together towards a common goal. It inspires innovation, healthy competition, and each task is performed efficiently by those with skills specialising in the same. Working together leads to a mutual increase in skills and relevant knowledge, as well as increased innovation due to the presence of multiple perspectives provided by working in a group of people. Few more reasons why effective teamwork is absolutely indispensable in any healthy organisation.
Importance of Personal Connections
In their pre-season training camp at Gettysburg, Coach Boone pushes the players to get to know each other and employs rather extreme methods to ensure that this was carried out properly. At the end of the camp, the players emerged as friends rather than just co-workers, and this bonding helped ensure that the team was able to endure through a tough season. A teamwork environment promotes an atmosphere that encourages friendship and loyalty. Such close-knit relationships inspire employees to work harder and smarter in a more cooperative manner.
A team needs to be adaptable to any change that they might end up facing. Pressure situations often require spontaneous thinking, and a team that is adaptable and quick on its feet can respond better than the one that is not. In a team, the presence of multiple perspectives can lead to innovative solutions, as the same problem can be attacked in a variety of ways. The Titans were not behind in this regard either. They encountered several problematic situations but replied with vigour and emerged on the right side, when their star quarterback Rev got injured in the match, the rookie Ronnie Bass stood up to the occasion and led his team to victory. Similarly, in the final match of the season, a player gives up his playing time for the sake of what’s better for the team. When team members possess this innate ability to mould their behaviour to respond to external circumstances effectively, magic happens!
Team over the individual
In the movie, the team doesn’t really start performing well until all the players collectively decide to improve and put aside their egos. No team can succeed if its members keep thinking about themselves and individual satisfaction. For any organisation to succeed, it takes the contribution of every member. Oftentimes, people want to take credit for the wins and assign blame for the losses. But a team cannot succeed with this attitude, it was only when each and every player saw loss as a collective defeat and each win as a collective victory that the team smoothened up and started to enjoy playing football together, and subsequently winning together.
Certain movies have lessons that are universal and can be implemented in any sphere of life. Remember the Titans definitely has a lot of them.