In Search of the A-Team

team-spirit-2447163_640Last Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of the premier of The A-Team. This NBC sitcom featured the exploits of of an ex-military group that operated as soldiers of fortune. Each week, they would assist an individual or group in rectifying an injustice or solving a seemingly impossible problem. Episodes always featured a crazy plan, unforeseen obstacles, and plenty of explosions.

The team was comprised of four members, each possessing unique abilities. Leading the group was John “Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard). He was the brains of the outfit and excelled at devising strategies that made the most of team member’s skill set. Initial plans were always straightforward, but he often had to think outside the box in order to come up with a solution to outwit the competition.

Dirk Benedict played Templeton”Faceman”Peck. He was a master appropriator. Stranded in the desert and need an ice cream truck? Face was your man. His job was to figure out what resources the team needed to succeed and get them. He was also the chief salesman of the bunch, hence the nickname.

“Howling Mad” Murdock, portrayed by Dwight Schultz, was the team’s pilot and resident crazy. He could drive or fly any vehicle and always pushed to get the team where they needed to be at any given time. His desire to move fast also meant he offered up some of the show’s most hair-brained ideas. Time after time though, those ideas proved to be just what was needed to save the day.

Rounding out the group was Bosco “B.A.” Baracus. Mr. T. played the gruff but lovable mechanic and strongman. B.A. was the skeptic, never quite sure what was going on. However, he always trusted that his teammates were moving in the right direction, he jumped in and applied his muscle to the task at hand.

Members of the team often found themselves at odds with each other. B.A. doesn’t like flying, so he usually had to be sedated or tricked in order to get him on the plane. Murdock’s off-the-wall antics tended to annoy the others, if not cause them to fear for their safety. Hannibal’s plans didn’t always make sense at first, and the other members of the team would groan about particular assignments they were given.

In the end, they always succeeded – because they performed as a team. Each member respected the others. They contributed their individual talents to the team objective, and appreciated the talents of the others. They respected Hannibal as their leader and trusted him to guide them appropriately. In return, Hannibal made sure that each one was given work that engaged them and focused on their strengths.

As much as I loved watching The A-Team back in the 1980’s, I love being part of an A-Team today even more. There’s nothing like working with a group of people you respect, admire, and know you can depend on. Together, we come up with some crazy plans.We tackle unforeseen obstacles. To date, there haven’t been any explosions, but nonetheless, we succeed together.

Not every team is an A-Team, but it can be. All it takes is a commitment from each member to do their part – to become A-players with regard to their own performance. I’ve seen sports teams make incredible turnarounds without any changes in personnel or outside influence. The same has happened to work teams I’ve been a part of.

Anytime the A-Team successfully completed a mission, Hannibal would light up a cigar and say “I love it when a plan comes together.” There’s simply no feeling like seeing your team succeed. I hope that’s part of your plan for this year.