If you want team work, put your money where your mouth is

If you overeat, you get fat.If you text and drive, you may mow someone down and ruin a few lives. If you don’t buckle your sear belt and you hit an air pocket, your vacation may not be a lot of fun.

Consistency between action and results are pretty important, “if you ask me”. Which is why poor teamwork is so frequent.

Organizations do not position teamwork as an absolute “must have” in the recruitment process. Time and time again, skills trump teamwork when push comes to shove, relegating teamwork to a “nice to have” position. Real shitty team players are “excused” because they are “top–notch professionals.”

Organizations do not have performance reviews for teams; but rather the individual is sized up on a yearly basis, stuffed with feedback like a goose. Naturally, the interfaces between teams, (eg, between Sales and Engineering) are not subjected to the review process.

Compensation is very much aligned to the individual, never to the “interface between teams”.

Individuals are developed much more frequently than teams.

People are often fired, but teams are never fired.

People are recruited, not teams.

Diversity and inclusion efforts are aimed at colour, sexuality, disability, but never at accommodating other professions who look at the world differently (eg R&D vs Finance; Legal vs Sales).

So, if you are sure that you need team work (and not every organization needs team work), put your money where your mouth is. Hiring a consultant to clean the dirty diaper after the organization has been poorly “architected” is pissing into the wind, an expression which my dear late Dad used all the time.

Sorry for not being able to control myself.




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3 thoughts on “If you want team work, put your money where your mouth is

  1. Excellent. This is also true even in non-profit. There is a tendency to believe in non-profit that encouraging the individual will insure that people volunteer their time – even though the end result is that their work goes for naught. Supporting good teamwork over individual interests or ‘giftedness’ has a far greater benefit for the organization AND will often result in those people on the team feeling more positive about their efforts and outcomes.

  2. This rings true. As we completed a decision-making mapping exercise with an executive team, it became obvious that implementing self-directed teams had been a very very bad decision. Those became the marsh where the key elements of sound decision mapping had sunk deep in the mud. A spaghetti like flow of information ensued as people argued as to who should be responsible for certain decisions, who should be consulted, who should approve, who should be informed after. When teams are used to reduce costs, it’s a bad omen.

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