I recently went to the National Adult Baseball national tournament in Phoenix and had a great time. I'd played this year for the first time in 20 years and really enjoyed it. A few people from each of the teams in my league came to the tournament and we fielded a joint Denver area team for the 38 and older tournament.
And we went 0-5.
But it was fun. Not so much because of the baseball since it's tough to get beat, sometimes badly, in the desert heat. But more because of the comradare we had with each other. My team sent me, another team sent 2, another 4, and we picked up a few people from around the country that didn't have teams. I had the chance to make some friends and work together towards a common goal.
We didn't achieve it, but things went well because we were there to pick each other up and help each other out. It was also good to have teammates who could calm someone down when they got upset about a bad call or a strikeout or whatever.
It really hasn't been much different in IT for me. When I've worked on teams that have worked together towards a common goal, we've generally had a better work environment and gotten productive work accomplished. When I've had individuals working for their own ends, we've struggled as a whole. Someone might succeed, but when another doesn't, no one is there to pick him or her up.
I firmly believe teamwork is important in business. We all will face adversity, have problems, things go wrong, or just plain get stumped by a problem. It's easy to get down when things are going wrong and there have been a few times when I've let lots of system issues get me down without anyone picking me up. Other times it's been helpful to have someone just pick me up, take me out for a beer, or just pat my shoulder and tell me it will work out.
I've always stressed the team fit and personality over technical skills when hiring. It's just that much more important to me to have the whole team function better than to have the best of the best of the best working on code.
I don't think that every business environments needs the type of bonding you get in a sports league, but I do think that having a friend supporting you during those tough times is key to a long term stable environment.