A post on my community’s Facebook page asked which local restaurant has the best French fries. The post garnered a surprisingly large and enthusiastic response.

The replies varied from fast food giants like McDonalds and Chick-Fil-A to some of the smaller, quainter, hometown eateries. As I scrolled through the comments, one thing became increasingly clear to me: People sure are passionate about their French fries!

Some insisted that only thin-cut fries merited consideration. Others argued that thin-cut fries, by definition, were inferior to thick-cut fries. The waffle fry contingency scoffed at both assertions.

According to National Geographic, the average American eats almost 30 pounds of French fries per year. The Daily Mirror reports that a typical Brit gobbles more than twice that amount annually.

In full disclosure, I too am passionate about French fries. I love all varieties and can’t say that I disagreed with any of the submissions to the community Facebook post. They were all worthy of consideration.

What’s interesting about French fries is that individually a case could be made for any style being the best. But if you were to mix styles together, they wouldn’t be nearly as good.

For instance, a bite consisting of a handful of McDonald’s thin-cut fries could be tasty. But a bite consisting of a McDonald’s thin-cut fry, a Chick-Fil-A waffle fry, and a Red Robin’s thick-cut tavern fry wouldn’t taste right.

The different textures and seasonings aren’t complimentary to each other—unless they’re all dipped in ketchup. Ketchup is the great bonding agent. It neutralizes the varying textures and gives the bite a consistent flavor. Essentially, ketchup brings the bite together.

On teams, ketchup teammates serve a similar purpose.

Assembling the most talented individuals won’t automatically lead to team success. Teams need members who are willing and able to shed their individual egos, sacrifice for the greater good, provide support, and abandon personal agendas.

Ketchup teammates don’t necessarily possess the most desired physical talents. Their value to the team isn’t tied to those distinctions. Their value is found in their complimentary talents, like their willingness to assume less heralded roles and their capacity to simply get along with everyone on the team.

It’s easy to become enamored with an individual’s physical talents, much in the same way that it’s easy to become enamored with a particular style of French fries. But unlike a basket of French fries, teams aren’t homogeneous. They’re an assembly of individuals with different backgrounds and varying talents.

Don’t discount the value of ketchup teammates. Their contributions hold the team together and make team success possible.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a former sports coach turned bestselling author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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