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An Invitation to Something Bigger

The Latin phrase “nemo resideo” is a concept sorely missing from most cultures. It means “leave no one behind.” Today it is frequently associated with the elite U.S. Army Rangers creed. However, the ethos is as old as war itself. Simple and clear, it captures the heart of every great team.

What makes it so powerful? At its core it is a commitment to have each other’s backs and risk life and limb to bring each other home. It is a commitment to duty, honor, and personal sacrifice. It is the team embracing the idea that “if you fail, I fail.” It is also key to engagement and a necessary ingredient for producing extraordinary results.

Unfortunately, too many teams lack this ethos. Instead, it is every person for themself. We show up everyday and do our work. We are supposed to be part of a team but we our disconnected from the team. We are enduring work rather than enjoying work. We tolerate each other, we transact with each other, but we do not really enjoy each other. Henry David Thoreau once said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Is it any wonder?

For any team to be exceptional, three things must be in place:

  • A clear, simple mission

  • Actively engaged people committed to the success of the mission

  • The right culture—one which makes it easy to be engaged

The word “committed” is key. When team members are committed to the success of the mission, it means each member is committed to everything it takes to accomplish the mission, including being committed to each other. It means we are committed to building high trust relationships.

This commitment cannot be coerced. It is born out of personal relationships and reenforced through trials and experience. When lived out at the highest level, it results in team members who will gladly sacrifice for each other during difficult circumstances.

It feels good to belong to a team that lives out this ethos. As human beings, we all long to be part of something bigger. We want to belong. We want to matter. We need a challenge that demands our best.

Leaders who embrace this ethos and instill it in their teams produce extraordinary results. It creates a bond that energizes everything else we do. Unfortunately, we live in the age of “what’s in it for me?” and too many leaders are afraid to ask for a commitment that requires personal sacrifice. The consequence is corporate cultures that say all the right things but fail to achieve anything extraordinary.


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