Nobody Sees The Most Important Team Members

“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” – Mia Hamm

I absolutely love racing Formula cars. There is an excitement and an adrenaline rush that is beyond most things I’ve ever experienced. Taking a car to 140 miles an hour only to slam on the brakes, drop a few gears and turn 90 degrees at 80 miles an hour is an indescribable feeling. It’s something I think you have to feel in order to understand.

This past weekend, I was competing in a couple of races at Road Atlanta. It was a pretty big deal to me. Why? It was my first time back to this track since my triple flip with a twist.

Yes, for those of you who are new here, it was quite the wreck. I got 10s from all the judges. You can check out the video if you’re brave enough in 5 Ways To Get Stronger/Smarter/Better After A High Speed Crash.

Getting back on the track was a little hairy. I had a lot of flashbacks every time I came up on slower traffic. But eventually, I had a Top Gun moment, snapped out of it and got back “in the game.” When I did, I began driving harder and faster than I ever have.

By the end of the weekend, I had dropped my time by 2 seconds over last year’s best time. Believe me. In racing, that’s a lot.

As my blood pressure began to fall back in range of a normal person, I began to think about how it was possible for me to overcome the fears of repeating a bad day, as well as dropping my time. The more I thought about it, the one answer overwhelmingly stood out. It was because of my team.

You see … I’m just a driver. I show up to the racetrack and my car has already been completely race prepped for me, so it can do turns at 100 miles an hour. The adjustment to my wing has been made to give me less down force. My gear shift has been adjusted to make it easier for me to shift gears under two G’s of force.

Everything that is needed to make me a better driver has already been completed by my mechanic Alex Stephens. Each time I pull into the pit, he makes sure my tire pressure has expanded correctly. When I get back to the truck, he preps the car with the right amount of oil, gas and other important things that don’t make sense to me.

In between track sessions, my crew chief, Terry Jinks, pulls all of the data from my car and we go over every turn. It usually ends in him saying, “Yeah, you should be over 100 in that turn. You can do it.” Then I get back out on the track and do 100 in “that turn.” Well …. eventually I do.

If it were left to me and all of my mechanical wisdom, I wouldn’t be doing very well as a race car driver. Instead, because of the incredibly talented team that I have, I’m able to do what I need to do every time I “fire it up.” Because of this team, I’m able to do something so dangerous and yet be so safe. There truly is no way for me to be where I am without them.

Question: How important is your team to you?



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

93 thoughts on “Nobody Sees The Most Important Team Members”

  1. Love this. If we are all drivers, mechanics, or crew chiefs we never will get anywhere.  Great reminder that my ultimate success is in the hands of my team.  Glad I’ve got a good one!

  2. Team is essential. I’ve been in situations where there isn’t a sense of “the team”. Where everyone is looking out for themselves and there part. I’ve had co workers in the past that, seemingly, have done all they could to make themselves look good and hen something goes wrong they’re ready to hang the blame on anyone else. Think of what that’d do in your situation? What if the mechanic was more worried about everyone knowing how great he is? Would he be over talkin to the girls at the ice cream stand bragging about his job rather than making sure the car is race ready? What if you were more worried about making sure everyone knew you were responsible for ALL success? Would you listen to your crew chief? I’ll bet you’d end up in another aerial spectacular, and probably w/o a crew chief.
    We all need a team. If, for no other reason, that success without people to share it with isn’t real fun and failure without people to support you can be unbearable! In the oft repeated phrase of the live chat yesterday: People Matter.

    1.  @Skropp Mark, that should be a “click to tweet” comment:  “success without people to share it with isn’t real fun and failure without people to support you can be unbearable.”
      You’re on a roll, this and the George Washington comparison yesterday!  :^}

        1. @lilykreitinger @skottydog Haha. So you’ve moved from harassing me outright to subversively trying to make people think I’m whiny and needy?? Haha. Well played! I’ll accept kindness in all forms, sincere, or pity 😉

        2. @lilykreitinger @skottydog Haha. I’m not sure whether to feel complimented or insulted Lily! Haha. Either way I’m rollin o the floor laughing!! My favorite thing to play is devil’s advocate. I like taking the opposite side of an argument just to see if I can!

      1. @skottydog Well thanks for tweeting it. And the GW comment just popped into my head 🙂 I figured he’d be a good example for ya. I doubt anyone feels they’re in inferior company when compared to him 😉

  3. I have heard from various people that the most valuable employees (team members) are the ones you don’t notice until they’re gone. I agree with the reason behind that statement, but sometimes employers will literally forget the value of their team. Don’t be that employer!
    Of course, Chris, you obvious recognize the value of your team whether it’s on the track, at the office, or elsewhere… and I’m sure those who choose to read your blog have that in common 🙂
    Thanks for the awesome reminder!

    1.  @Laura Johnson Great point, Laura.  I always say, “Nothing makes you realize who your rocks stars REALLY are until they take a 2 week vacation!”

        1. @lilykreitinger @skottydog @Laura Johnson Haha. True. Those are the ones you look at with your head cocked to the side and think (don’t say..) “why did I hire you again?? Oh ya, I didn’t listen to Dave and TAKE MY TIME!!” or maybe only I would have the conversation…

      1.  @skottydog So I guess a good idea would be to make myself as indispensable as possible before I hit my year anniversary, and get to take my first vacation 😉
        (fyi, my boss does appreciate me!) 

  4. The best team I ever had was when I was GM at Borders. My leadership team was completely on the same page as me as far as culture, goals and how to get there, and we all communicated the same story with the rest of the staff. Took that store to 4th in the company that year. Team is everything! You can’t do it alone.

    1.  @CarolDublin Being on the same page is the biggest obstacle.  Having that under your belt, especially in a huge store like that, AND taking it to 4th out of hundreds of stores is pretty amazing!

        1.  @ChrisLoCurto  @skottydog  @lilykreitinger Thanks guys – I’ve been off the grid all day. I think that’s why I’m a bit frustrated at the lack of communication where I am now – I know how good it can be!

  5. I loved this post because you really show what a team is supposed to do: make the organization fly around corners at 100 kph without flipping. 
    How important is my team to me? They are what make me who I am as a business. Without them, we don’t exist. Period. 
    How important is my team to me? They must become more important. This week, I’ve learned from the #CloBlog community that I must work on better KRA’s so that my team can be an even stronger team. 
    Each member of your pit crew knows their functions and responsibilities inside and out – that’s why you can fly around corners at 100 kph – and KNOWING THAT YOU SHOULD BE. Why? Cus your team told you to. I LOVE THAT.
    Thanks for the burnt rice.

    1. Love this Aaron.  In the past I hired people who I thought could do the job and then tried my hardest to do my job… and theirs! Crazy!  If I would’ve known then what I’ve learned here, I probably would’ve kept working there… except that’s the one place where I had the horrible boss, so maybe not  ; )

    2.  @Aaron Nelson I can tell you that everyone I talk with AFTER they have introduced KRA’s, say that they didn’t realize how chaotic their business was beforehand. It completely changes the way people are able to produce in their job because they now see what winning looks like. 
      I love me some burnt rice baby!

      1.  @Skropp  @Aaron Aww shucks. But a big ‘Here, Here!’ And a little singing: “Can you feel the luuuuuvvvvv tonight.” 🙂 Hehehe. Seriously: I echo Mark’s words – Love the team happening here. 

        1. @Aaron Nelson first off, you KNOW you sang that to yourself when you read it!! Second, it’s so true! Most of us (ok, the vast majority) don’t work for Lampo, and many of us (at least me) don’t work in places where EntreLeadership principles are in practice, so this little comment section has literally given us the team we never had (but hope to someday…). So thank you all of you, and especially, thank you Chris!!

        1. @lilykreitinger @Aaron There she goes again…an offhanded attack towards me!! I just don’t know what to do anymore!! Eat worms??? That may be my only recourse!!
          Hahaha (yes, I know I know, twisted words, reporter, etc 🙂 haha)

  6. I used to work  for a company with very high quality standards. Our team was solid and we all pitched in to get the work done.  Not all teams within the organization had the same chemistry and I completely credit our leaders for creating that environment within our team. 
    When I relocated with my family, the company kept me on board as a telecommuter for over two years…and  I lived in two different states!  It was great  since I was a new mom but I missed my team.  We still kept good communication going and completed tasks on time but being the lone ranger was very difficult. 
    My job is to develop learning solutions for on-line and instructor-led delivery.   I am blessed to work now for an organization with a large group of experts who design and develop online learning.  Our team of instructional designers collaborates with world-class interactive designers and media production staff in-house.  Many organizations have to outsource these tasks. It puts us at a very high competitive advantage to have all these available right here.  I have no idea how to program an animation in Flash, but I have rockstar interactive designers who will do it for me to help me deliver the right message to my audience. 

    1.  @lilykreitinger “It puts us at a very high competitive advantage to have all these available right here.” I love that!! That’s what my racing team gives me!! Great word picture. 

    2. @lilykreitinger Question: what insights did you gain about online learning while being a telecommuting team member? Must’ve opened some eyes for you and the team about what online leaning entailed!

      1.  @Skropp  @lilykreitinger Oh have I gotten stories to tell you.  The biggest thing is people feeling isolated. Which is weird, because social media has allowed us to connect here with each other and people we would never have met.  When you telecommute or you learn online, you need STRONG communication strategies to provide that human connection.   Expect a meeting invite for a conference call soon 😉

        1. @lilykreitinger When did online class the hardest things for me was keeping a schedule and the communication with the school administration was almost non existent

        2. @lilykreitinger This was a fairly well known school… I kinda feel like the financing wasn’t explained real well…not shirking responsibility, just saying the communication wasn’t the best…

  7. Chris, that is the ULTIMATE example of teamwork.  True teamwork.  In MRI, and I suppose even CT, if my team members don’t evaluate the patient for contrast allergies or metal implants, it can be fatal for the patient.   
    Pacemaker….very bad.   That “yes” on the screening is most certainly a game changer. While we must confirm the patient is safe to enter the room ourselves, when my partners say “That guy is good to go” I know I bring him in the room.
    Smaller scale than going 100mph in a turn, but can have the same negative impact if not for the team cohesion.

      1.  @ChrisLoCurto And talk about motivation to live a healthy lifestyle!  You’ll never meet an MRI technologist with a pacemaker!  I’m a big fan of ‘Quitter’, but getting a pacemaker is a career-ender, whether you have achieved your dream job or not!  

  8. Good word Chris. I work on a church board, and it is easy for us to get very task focussed when Christ is all about community. When we stop and focus on community, treat our elder board like a home fellowship group, the work flows out of community, rather than at the expense of it.
    By the way – the racing sounds like such a rush!!!
    Thanks! as always your posts are first class.

    1.  @MrBND Thanks Ben!! And you’re so right. I believe we should learn from the Jewish community, because that’s what they truly are, a community. And thus, they are so very successful as a people group. 

  9. This reminds me of working in a kitchen at a large summer camp (not even the main one, just a little one in a separate area). The Big Deal camp musician (who was also a race car driver) would stop in from time to time and say, “I love you guys – you’re doing the Lord’s work!” We felt like we’d had a visit from royalty – it was a huge shot of encouragement. Made us believe that without us chopping carrots and washing dishes, he wouldn’t be able to bless people with his music!

  10. Great post Chris- and way to get back in the saddle so to to speak. 
    your post made me think of teamwork in this way- I am sorry if it is wordy, but as Shrek says, better out than in…
    What’s the atmosphere around your team charged with?  Is it a buzz with dynamic, energized powerhouses? Or do not even the frequent caffeine infusions do anything to lift the down trodden, negativity filled, angst of the office? Is it alive and sparking with the creativity of your team, or does dread seep into every pore as they watch the clock tick, tick, tick ever so slowly throughout the course of the day? The charge that surrounds your room is determined by the ION in your team.  Ions of course can be defined as atom with electrical charge, gaining or losing electrons. In grammar, an -Ion as a suffix denotes the result of a verb, , it takes energy and animating force to produce results.  Ion also stems from the Greek root of something that “goes” ..does your team GO the way you want?   
    Just like an atom, your team can gain or lose the  -Ions in a positive way or negative manner.  Preferentially speaking, it behooves us as leaders  to produce team members that  are cations (a positive ion) than anion (a negative ion) .  Think about what words your team would describe their interactions with you their leader.  Would they include words as ruination, confusion, agitation, degradation, condemnation, and consternation?  I hope not.  If so, you need to discharge that negative build up and dissipate the friction so everyone radiates at a higher frequency.   You as leaders have to be the culture,  You must radiate it. Exude it. Like a radiant energy stream it will attract other particles, your team member. 
    As leaders, it’s the energy you bring to the party.  I am not talking about touchy feely wishy washy fluff. I leadership and teamwork  IS a result of your actions.  
    These –ions will lead to INSPIRATION for your team. What -ions is your team built on? 

    1. @Kathleen Fantastic analysis Kathleen thanks!! Lots to think about!! Seems like teamwork is a lot of just plain ol’ work! Who wouldve thought? Haha 😉

      Another heapin’ helping of burnt rice!!

      1.  @Skropp  @Kathleen Thanks! Sometimes its hard to overcome the weakness associated with the kindness and humanity  needed by leaders.  When they are portaryed as strengths then we all win. 

      1.  @Laura Johnson Lol, I think I may have one or two children stories rattling in my head, but as anything much other than an unlaunched dream, no I am not a writer.  I do LOVE the idea though, so maybe I will have the drive to explore it one day. 

  11. In the most basic sense here is what I have determined…
    I can only do the work of one person. I tried once to do the work of two and almost ended up in a psych ward (only partially kidding).
    So at it’s most very basic level…a team multiplies the amount of work that can be done. Some entrepreneurs don’t truly get that. Until they do, they continue to run a micro business.

    1. @MattMcWilliams2 …and the one person I can do the work of is me…and I have TONS of weaknesses!! Like Stephen Covey taught: Synergy: 1+1=3 or 30 or 300!! Teams get more done than EVER possible on our own!

    2.  @MattMcWilliams2 So true Matt. I usually find that the missing element to those running a micro business, is maturity. You have to be mature enough to delegate. You have to be mature enough to set your team up for success. Good stuff as always. 

  12. Nice post.  I can see how a team would be essential in racing.  In hindsight, I do have the beginning of a team: I have an editor.

  13. Chris,
    With my team, we couldn’t do a fraction of what we’ve accomplished.  I’ve always viewed and team my leaders to be athletic directors who have coaches who work with the players.  Then, I encourage them to be a servants who want their own teams to be winners. 
    Thanks again!

    1.  @Todd Stocker Ruminating over the golden rule, and treat others how you want to be treated, I am inclined to ask my team members to treat each other they way the one being served WANTS to be treated.  What works for a “d” doesn’t work for a “c” , so not only is the mentality of serve, but also of understanding who you are serving and how they will accept it.  Putting yourself in their shoes as you ask them to run along aside of you, if you will.

  14. Chris, my 48DaysTeam has been an amazing part of my journey! While I don’t have a employee relation with the group, I find that I rely on them for their insight, wisdom, and quite truthfully, the synergy they create.
    Thanks for your wisdom!
    Live Beyond Awesome!

  15. I was an average branch manager and loan officer until I realized the concept of TEAM – that was over 8 years ago and my production quadrupled.  On a corporate level, I couldn’t do what I do without the entire mortgage team – not just loan officers – but wire specialist, closing coordinators, shipping, etc.  TEAM is what makes it happen in my world!

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