Career Tips

Teamwork Requires More Than Dribbling

By Tim Bograkos (Guest Blogger)

“Teamwork is working together — even when apart.”

Working on a team is a funny situation.  A successful team consists of a group of individuals that come together to work towards a common goal.  They possess one focus and are willing to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team.  It takes complete and total commitment from everyone to accomplish the goal, but it only takes one person to destroy everything.  Our basketball program at Michigan State exemplifies this idea in my eyes.  I’ve been a part of teams that have total focus and we were able to have success as a result. However, I have also been on teams in which one person was a cancer that was able to infect the minds of other players. This always made for a tough season.

When I was playing for MSU, I was always amazed at the atmosphere inside our program. It’s one of the few places where people that grew up in the inner city and people that grew up on a farm can become the best of friends. Growing up in Flint, I went to school with all types of people and I was able to learn and develop my interpersonal skills.  Basketball does the same thing; it puts so many different personalities together that you learn from.  I can’t say it’s always pretty. I’ve seen and been involved with plenty of arguments and physical altercations with my teammates because we had a differing opinion on something.  But if you’re all committed 100 percent to the goal and vision, the little things don’t cause big issues.

An office presents a similar dynamic in a group of people from different backgrounds all working for the same organization. In our office we have people from different geographic regions, age ranges and specialties.  You have to be committed to the mission set by your leadership and maintain the right chemistry for continued growth. Also, similar to the teams I played on at State, one person can infect the others in the office and cause fractures within the infrastructure of your business.

In closing, the quote I started this post out with explains exactly what I mean.  I don’t care if you hate your coach/boss, co-workers/teammates and/or company- don’t become the person that splinters the other members of your organization.  Have enough respect for yourself to stay committed and do what you can to help other people be successful.

Tim Bograkos is the Student/Young Alumni Coordinator for the MSU Alumni Association. He graduated from State in 2004 with a BA in Advertising, then in 2005 with a BA in Communications, then again in 2009 with a Master’s in Sports Administration. While a student at MSU, Tim played on the basketball team and was fortunate to win a big ten championship and go to two final fours during his time on the team. He went on to play as a professional for two years before returning home to MSU. You probably know him best as the “Sixth Option.”



  1. Scott Westerman 15 April, 2011 at 09:15

    Tim touches on an important point. Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown, in their superb book, “Multipliers” articulate this premise. There are those who attract good talent and make them even better by creating an atmosphere where people can learn, succeed and have fun. These are the Multipliers.

    On the other end are the Diminishers, people who are in it to build their personal brand, gather good talent and micromanage them into mediocrity. As team members, Multipliers raise everyone else to new levels of accomplishment. Diminshers can literally destroy a team of superstars almost overnight.

    If you’ve worked long enough, you’ve probably experienced both types of people. The key is to recognize them and do something about it. If you manage one, get rid of them. If you work for one, “remove yourself from the unacceptable”.

    Life is too short and happiness is too important to live any other way.

    Great piece Tim!!

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