For this first series of weekly drivers, I will be focusing on key “mastermind groups”. These were teams of individuals (historical, fictional, or mythical) which banded together and accomplished amazing feats through collaboration and shear will. Most of us can probably call to mind many of these groups off the top of our heads: Jesus and the 12 Disciples, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, the American Founding Fathers, etc. These individuals were able to come together and as a group change the course of human history for generations to come. For this first week I will be discussing a lesser known mastermind group…The Argonauts.
The Argonauts were a set of ancient Greek heroes tasked with accomplishing an impossible feat…retrieving the Golden Fleece. This task had never been accomplished before and thus the thought of even attempting it was essentially asking to be sent on a suicide mission. Not only was the journey to the Golden Fleece perilous, it was guarded by a fire breathing dragon that never slept. Suffice to say it would not be easy. Before I get into their journey it is important I explain a little about the Argonauts. See, this wasn’t just any group of heroes. Jason, the leader of the Argonauts was tricked by his uncle (who had unfairly stolen the throne from Jason’s father and was worried about a prophecy which foretold Jason stealing the throne back from him) to undertake the task. Jason’s uncle hoped to kill Jason without lifting a finger and knew that Jason, a young headstrong, Alpha-type, warrior would not be able to say no to such a renowned quest (no matter how dangerous). What Jason’s uncle did not anticipate however, was that like Jason, many other heroes would see the quest as an opportunity to cement their legacy. Thus, Jason was able to assemble a team of nearly 50 of the greatest heroes of the day, many of which you may have already heard of. There was Hercules, the son of Zeus who had completed the 12 labors. There was Orpheus, the famed musician and only human to ever go to the underworld and return. There was Peleus the father of the famous warrior and champion of the Trojan war Achilles. As well as Theseus the slayer of the minotaur, and countless other demigods, princes, and famous warriors. Together, these 50 heroes embarked on a journey, undertaking a task that many deemed impossible and suicide. Now, I won’t ruin the story of their adventures along the way for you all because their exploits are truly exciting and worth the read but in the end they do manage to succeed, they return heroes and Jason is able to reclaim his throne. However, the question is why were they able to do what no one else had managed to accomplish.
After reading the story of the Argonauts, I came to an interesting conclusion. While all these heroes were accomplished in their own right, they all had inherent flaws which would have led to an early demise had they sought the fleece by themselves. What made the Argonauts such a successful team was two things. First, the team was built in a way that the weaknesses of some members was made up by other team members strengths. We read about this all the time about how the greatest companies, relationships, or teams are built by finding employees, partners, or building teams with complementing strengths which make up for the weaknesses seen in the team’s individuals. When building his team, Jason made sure that what one member may lacked, others could make up for along the way. The second key to the team’s success was their ability to fall back when someone else was better suited for the task. In a squad full of demigods, princes, and heroes, it is easy to see how many of these individuals also had a lot of pride and ego. Thus, even if they may not have been the best man for a given task, it was difficult for them to admit that. In life, we need to learn how to sometimes check our own egos and selfish desires to the side for the good of the team. Especially when you have a team that is as strong, talented, and committed as you are. The benefits of a strong team is the fact that you know that when you may not be up for the job, or there may be someone else better suited, you have complete faith that they will be able to execute successfully. Trusting in others and putting your life in their hands (literally for the Argonauts) is a scary feeling but if you choose the right team members and build the right trust, together your team can achieve the impossible.