I just love to eat fruit. I like it raw. I like it cooked. I like it just about any way you can serve it up. But one way I don’t like to eat it is when it’s bruised. Take a bruised apple, for example. Maybe it’s how it looks… maybe it’s the texture… Whatever it is, there’s just something about a bruised apple that is not appealing to me in any way. But, here’s what’s interesting: If I take that apple and put it in the blender with some other fruit to make a smoothie, I can’t taste anything different about it. I can’t tell it ever looked different. There is nothing left of that bruised apple to let me know that it was ever bruised in the first place. Great teams are a lot like that fruit smoothie. If you are in the business of building and leading teams, you more than likely would love to build/have the best possible team you can. Sometimes we get stuck on finding those “perfect” employees or team members who are just good at everything. I don’t have statistics, but those seem to be pretty rare. In fact, I could argue that they don’t exist. What I have learned and continue to learn is that the challenge isn’t always finding the best individual, but finding the best team member. The truth is that we all have varied strengths and weaknesses. I need someone to compliment my strengths with talent and/or areas of expertise that I lack. Those people likely need some of my strengths to offset their weaknesses. What is beautiful is that those weaknesses, or “bruises” if you will, become invisible when woven into the fabric of a great team that is focused and intent on becoming the best group of individuals that they can be. So don’t knock the bruised apple. It might be just the apple you are needing.