In every field, a champion team always beats a team of champions

One of Charlie's favourite movies is The Blues Brothers. It's a movie devoted entirely to "putting the band back together again" so that Jake and his brother Elwood can raise $5000 to save the orphanage that saved their life.
By · 26 Oct 2013
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26 Oct 2013
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One of Charlie's favourite movies is The Blues Brothers. It's a movie devoted entirely to "putting the band back together again" so that Jake and his brother Elwood can raise $5000 to save the orphanage that saved their life.

But getting the band back wasn't easy. They had scattered far and wide and Jake hadn't helped matters by having a stint in prison.

The Blues Brothers made the point that the best way to succeed is to put a team together and there have been many examples of this in all areas of our society, including media and entertainment.

The other week a young man from the band One Direction hired Charlie's modest little jet. Readers should ask their grandchildren if they know about One Direction and stand back as the eyes roll and that one multi-purpose word of all teenagers is expressed: "hot".

"I know one direction," says Louise, ever the pessimist. "Down."

"Keep it nice," says Charlie.

Well, the story of One Direction is all about the other direction. Up, up and away, to revive an old airline slogan. These five young singers have become the hottest thing coming out of England since the Beatles. But they weren't a band at all when they first took to the X Factor stage in 2010, just five individual hopefuls who weren't going anywhere fast.

As soloists, their auditions weren't good, but Nicole Scherzinger, a guest judge, had the inspired idea to put them together to form a five-piece boy band.

Overnight the less than impressive five individuals became an unbelievable team. They finished third. Their first single, What Makes You Beautiful, went to No. 1 and the album became No. 1 in about 15 countries.

The advertising industry had learnt many years earlier about the importance of teams. No copywriters produce their text as solo operators and art directors don't make decisions on their Pat Malone. Creative teams are formed, with some amazing results.

The Campaign Palace in Melbourne had huge success with campaigns such as Underdaks and Antz Pantz. And, in Sydney, the famous Mo and Jo hit the jackpot of their clients with I Feel like a Tooheys. A great team will always beat brilliant individuals.

Charlie is a student of US history and fondly remembers the days when the American presidents would be bold enough to ignore party lines and pick the best people for the cabinet from any party or even any walk of life.

The best example is probably the Kennedy era when Robert McNamara was appointed secretary of defence. McNamara had rebuilt Ford following World War II and he went on to become the longest-serving defence secretary in US history.

America has just completed its greatest century, controlling 22 per cent of the world's GDP - not bad for less than 5 per cent of the world's population. But right now it's far too divided along party lines and becoming increasingly dysfunctional. It would do well to go back to the Blues Brothers and have a go at getting the band back together again.

Many argue Australia would be well served in the future with such a system of government. Does it make sense to restrict our access to talent and deny ourselves the best possible team?

I see it work so well in medical science. As chairman of The Florey Institute, one of the most influential brain research institutes in the world, I've seen many problems solved by putting a team together.

Most recently, a team of 20 scientists and doctors reviewed the case of a child suffering extreme epilepsy.

Their combined thinking led to a new approach to the lifesaving operation. They weren't interested at all in their own egos, they just wanted to do the job.

As Charlie's uncle was always saying, "It's amazing what you can achieve if you don't also want to seek the credit for doing it."
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