By Andy Barton

I recently finished my annual binge of the Band of Brothers miniseries based on the book of the same name by Stephen E. Ambrose. What strikes me each time I watch Band of Brothers is the esprit de corps shared by the men of Easy Company. These men built a special bond fostered out of shared experiences during training at Camp Toccoa, through the Battle of the Bulge, to the end of the war, and through the rest of their lives. They came from different backgrounds and belief systems, but no matter. In no way am I comparing the esprit de corps of Easy Company or that of any of our servicemen or women past, present, or future to that which we have in our businesses or communities. Our experiences are just too different. However, I firmly believe the principles of pride, fellowship, and common purpose that make up esprit de corps applies to us all. 

Have you ever worked in a toxic culture? Was there common sense of purpose? Could fundamental disagreements be worked out for the common good of the team? Compare that experience to the camaraderie of a workplace with a common sense of purpose. Where the team can disagree and still reach a solution that advances the team’s goals. Where the culture is one of accountability and recognition. How about your neighborhood? Do you know your neighbors, and do they help each other when needed? Is there a true sense of community? Or does everyone bicker or keep to themselves such that it becomes no more than a group of houses without a common sense of what’s best for the community? 

So, as I reflect every year on the underlying message of the Easy Company story, I am forced to challenge myself. What am I doing in my professional life to build the esprit de corps of my team? I have opportunities every day to positively affect someone else and strengthen our team and must be aware of and take advantage of those opportunities. Am I a positive influence in my community or even just in my neighborhood? I must ask myself if I am doing enough to uplift others and just maybe bring my community that much closer to success and harmony. 

Ultimately, each of us can impact the esprit de corps in each of the groups, big and small, that make up our lives. What if, a little bit at a time, we all worked to come together instead of looking for ways to stay apart? Find a way to find common ground through differing beliefs and opinions. Look for an opportunity to impact someone positively. How can you make it a little better today than yesterday?

Our guest columnist this month is Andy Barton, Director of Residential Operations at CertoPro Painters. Andy is native and resident of Maryville who enjoys fly fishing and spending time in our beautiful mountains with his family.