Individual Work Versus Team Work

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Virtually every working person I’ve ever come across believes in teamwork. At least they say they do. Sadly, a scarce few of them make teamwork a reality in their organizations; in fact, they often end up creating environments where political infighting and departmental serenity are the norm. And yet they continue to flaunt their belief in teamwork, as if that alone will somehow make it magically appear. I think that only a small minority of companies truly understand and embrace teamwork, even though, more than one in three of the Fortune 500 publicly declares it to be a core value.

“I would like to start by asking a question – What is a TEAM? I would say it’s an ‘Allegedly Cohesive Summation’ of INDIVIDUALS”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, teamwork is not a virtue in itself. It is merely a strategic choice, not unlike adopting a specific sales model or a financial strategy. And certainly, when properly understood and implemented, it is a powerful and beneficial tool. Unfortunately, management theorists and human resources professionals have made teamwork unconditionally desirable, something akin to being a good corporate citizen. As a result, we see many of today’s champion managers adopt this theory without actually realizing what it entails. Take them in a corner, confide them, and ask them the truth – “Why do u actually follow team work?” They would say – that’s the convention about employees in today’s organizational portfolio.

Of course, none of this is to say that teamwork is not a worthy goal. There is no disputing that it is uniquely powerful, enabling groups of people to achieve more collectively than they could have imagined doing apart. However, the requirements of teamwork cannot be over hyped. Becoming a team is not necessarily right for every group of leaders. The fact is, building a leadership team is hard. What follows is a realistic description of what a group of managerial executives must be ready to...
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