Subscribe to Inc. magazine

15 Quotes to Inspire Great Teamwork

The difference between success and failure is a great team. Here's how to inspire yours.

The difference between success and failure is a great team. 

When I first became an entrepreneur, in the spring of 2002, I was a consultant working for myself. As Dave Kerpen Strategic Consulting, I could make my own hours, determine my own success, and avoid answering to a boss. But as a one-man business, I was very limited in the potential to grow. It might be fun, or interesting, or exciting to be on your own, but it's also limiting. A one-person business can only grow so much. Ultimately, that first business of mine failed.

Twelve years, two companies, 100 employees, and three times on the Inc 500 list of fastest-growing companies later, I've learned that the only way to build a company with great success and scale is to build a great team.

No matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success as an entrepreneur depends on your ability to build and inspire a team. A successful leader is one who can inspire his or her team members to work better together toward a common vision and goals. 

To inspire your team members, you'll have to talk to them, of course. I hate meetings, but I love short (seven to 20 minute) huddles to get the team aligned, motivated, and inspired. One very effective way to begin or end a huddle is by sharing a quote. Here are 15 quotes from well-known coaches, athletes, business leaders, and authors that will inspire you and your team members to work better together:

  1. "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work." --Vince Lombardi
  2. "Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships." --Michael Jordan
  3. "Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results." --Andrew Carnegie
  4. "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." --Helen Keller
  5. "Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability." --Patrick Lencioni
  6. "I invite everyone to choose forgiveness rather than division, teamwork over personal ambition." --Jean-Francois Cope
  7. "None of us is as smart as all of us." --Ken Blanchard
  8. "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." --Henry Ford
  9. "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." --Henry Ford
  10. "The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." --Phil Jackson
  11. "Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other's fund of collective intelligence." --Mike Schmoker
  12. "It takes two flints to make a fire." --Louisa May Alcott
  13. "Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." --Mattie Stepanek
  14. "To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless." --Mike Krzyzewski
  15. "The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison." --James Cash Penney

You can do better with your team than you or I could do it alone. Here's to your--and your team's--success! What is your favorite quote to inspire your team? 

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Feb 12, 2014

DAVE KERPEN | Columnist | CEO, Likeable Media

Dave Kerpen is the CEO of Likeable Local. He is also the cofounder and chairman of Likeable Media and the New York Times bestselling author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business. Want to learn about how to grow your business using social media in 2 minutes? Click here.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: