An iceberg is a good illustration to represent a team’s character, because there’s more to it than meets the eye. Most of an iceberg is below the surface of the water. You probably remember the awesome story of the Titanic (maybe you saw the movie). The huge and unsinkable ship received five iceberg warnings that fateful night of April 14, 1912, before it went down. When the sixth message came during the wee hours of the next morning saying, “Look out for icebergs,” the operator wired back, “Shut up! I’m busy!” These were his last words over the wire before the ship sank. Exactly 30 minutes later, the great vessel, the one whose captain said, “Even God couldn’t sink this ship.” - was sinking. Hundreds of passengers and crew were drowned. What was the problem? They forgot the truth about icebergs. What they saw above the water seemed to pose no threat. Unfortunately, most of an iceberg is below the waterline. They underestimated the power of the iceberg and overestimated their own strength. This story accurately describes so many teams today.

Scientists now say that a series of slits, not a giant gash, sank the Titanic. The most widely held theory is that the ship hit an iceberg, which opened a huge gash in the side of the ocean liner. But an international team of divers and scientists recently used sound waves to probe through the wreckage buried in mud two and a half miles deep. Their discovery? The damage was surprisingly small. Instead of a huge gash, they found six relatively narrow slits across the six watertight folds. In other words, small damage below the waterline that appeared almost invisible sank the huge ship. In the same way, small compromises in our integrity can go unnoticed, but eventually will sink a team.

To be a complete team, we must work above and below the waterline.

What is the work that needs to be done above the waterline (what is visible to everyone)?

What is the work that needs to be done below the waterline (what is not visible)?

What do we need to watch out for that may sink this team?