Boris, a Thai Cave Rescue and Common Goals

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Last week (before England’s victories over Colombia and then Sweden) I wrote about the great team that Gareth Southgate had put together. I made the point then that success is less about individual performance than it is about effective teamwork.

Successful teams share common values and, more importantly perhaps, a common goal. They believe in, and aspire towards, a shared vision of success.

The importance of this has been brought home by the two headline news stories of the last few days.

At one end of the spectrum we’ve had Theresa May’s very public attempt, and subsequent failure to unite her cabinet behind a shared vision. On Thursday she said that her cabinet had a ‘duty’ to reach agreement on what they were trying to achieve. On Friday, Mrs May announced that they’d done just that, reaching a “collective position”, in what the papers called Mrs May’s breakthrough. As I write this blog, two of her cabinet have resigned, leaving Theresa May’s government looking even weaker than before.

If it wasn’t clear to everyone before, it certainly is now that the people in Mrs May’s team do not share the same vision, they don’t share the same measures of success and they don’t share the same values when it comes to the important issues around Europe.

Whilst the UK government has failed to find a common cause around which to unite, events in Thailand have shown what can happen when people do unite behind a common goal. When a group of twelve boys and their coach became trapped in a cave system, more than two weeks ago, there seemed little room for hope. But the Thai government led an international effort that I've just heard has resulted in all 13 being rescued (though we should never forget that one diver has tragically lost his life during the rescue effort, and the sacrifice he made). The rescue operation itself has involved more than 100 experts, including 18 international cave divers. 

Altogether, more than 840 people have been involved in this incredible mission. It’s a team effort that has united people from all over the world.

These two stories provide a stark reminder of what can be achieved when a team is united behind a clear goal, and what happens when a group of people have no shared vision. 

Remarkable things can be achieved by teams with a clear set of core values and a shared vision. And when everyone knows what the end goal is, and passionately believes in it, it’s much easier to work out who needs to do what, and when. It’s easier to engage and motivate people. It’s easier to recognise, and celebrate, success.

And this matters not just on the world stage, but in every department of every organisation. That's why we've put so much effort into building a library of training materials that will help leaders and their teams build a vision the team believes in, that will show the importance of shared values, and which will help ensure teams are motivated to deliver great results. 

As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts: Add your comments below, or drop me an email at [email protected].

Rod Webb

About Rod Webb

Rod Webb

Rod is co-founder and Commercial Director at Glasstap® (, the company behind  Trainers' Library® ( and Managers' Library (

Rod has overall responsibility for the Glasstap brand and the day to day operations of the business.

Through its innovative Trainers' Library® service, Glasstap® provides trainers with easy access to its unique range of innovative, experiential learning materials, including detailed trainer's notes, handouts, participant briefs etc. The service is used by professional trainers in over 50 countries.

The recently launched Managers' LIbrary aims to help line managers become better at fulfilling their part in the leraning and development cycle providing loads of short training activities that can be used in team meetings and lots of self-development tools for the managers themselves.

Rod is the author of an extensive catalogue of experiental training materials, available through Trainers' Library®, which includes teambuilding games like Murder at Glasstap Grange and Jack Fruggle's Treasure. He now works with a team of authors who continue to develop new material for Trainers' Library and Managers' Library.

In his spare time, Rod enjoys creative writing, reading, walking, cycling and spending time with his horses and dogs. He's currently creating a new board game.

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