The Importance of Teamwork

General Savage had to turn a luckless group of men into a well-disciplined confident team. Time was of the essence. He had to do his job rapidly and resolutely. Simply put, the job was to drive his men until they could not take any more and then drive them again (Zanuck, 1949). Those in charge, the commanding general, felt that was the only way to win the war.

Loyalty is an issue of team integrity. To illustrate this concept better, one can look at the scene in the movie that talked of a crippled airplane. A crippled airplane has to be expendable; the one thing that is never expendable is your obligation to the team/group. This group has to be your loyalty, your only reason for living (Zanuck, 1949). This speaks to the Army motto that the mission must be accomplished at all costs. Savage disparages his team’s lack of understanding.

General Frank Savage: [to the bomber crews] Well, I can tell you right now, what the problem is. I saw it in your faces last night. I can see it there now. You have been looking at a lot of air lately, and you feel you need a rest. In short, you are feeling sorry for yourselves. Now I do not have a lot of patience with this "What are we fighting for?" stuff. We are in a war, a shooting war. We have to fight and some of us have to die. I am not telling you not to be afraid, fear is normal but stop worrying about it and about yourself. Stop making plans about going home. Consider yourself already dead (Zanuck, 1949).

General Savage’s statement reminds me of Paul the Apostle’s statement when he penned in Galatians chapter two verses 19-20: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (NIV).

Teamwork is an Issue of Commitment

Paul understood that his mission required undaunted commitment. His understanding of the cause gave him the fortitude to press on regardless of the many and sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges faced, Paul fought on and led his team forward. In the face of inhumane situations, somehow General Savage’s new team had to coalesce. Victory or defeat rested on the team’s cooperation.


Leadership success is calculated in three key ways; 1) Leaders pull people together in teams with a unified position; 2) they execute to achieve results, and; 3) they lead change to leave the organization stronger than they found it (Shinseki, 2004). Savage immediately went to the basics. His team needed discipline.


Shinseki, Eric. Be Know Do. 2004

Zanuck, Darryl F. 12 o'clock High. 1949