Friday, January 27, 2012


A four letter word that means the simplest of things:
A number of person associated in some joint action.
However simple its meaning might be, its impact is temendously more complicated.  In the business world, 'team' has become the word of choice when referring to any group of people, a buzzword if you will, that conjures up images of cohesiveness and productivity.  Before recently, I had never paid much attention to its use, sure I'd noticed everyone using it and even casually referred to myself as part of a "team," but honestly, I found it all a bit patronizing.  Seriously, does someone really believe that if you put me in a room with a group of people for 8hrs a day, for a few weeks until we accomplish whatever task was set out before us that we are a 'team?'  I certainly  didn't.

I believed rather than being a part of a 'team' I was part of a group.  We were all likeminded individuals with the same goal...and since we all liked receiving our paychecks on a regular basis we would work to be successful at what we were tasked to do.  Work is easy, its a lot like algebra to me.  We have a boss (the teacher) and they would give us a task (the equation) and our job would be to provide the answer (solve for "x").  Sometimes, there were other variables (y & z) or formulas we had to solve before we could continue with the original problem, but each time we would complete the task, another would be waiting.

The thing that management classes and books can't really train you for is how to truely cultivate a team.  A team is about so much more than just a group of people working on some joint task, but rather understanding each member, identifying strengths and weaknesses, trusting one another, pride in the work and knowing that a reflection of one is a reflection of all that are apart of the final result.  The funny thing about 'teams' is that often the process is a seamless transition from a group to a team.  You can't force it, you can't will it, but you can help foster its growth as a manager who understands the difference between a 'group' and a 'team.'

Projects come and projects will go, deadlines are met, money ebbs and flows, careers continue in different directions, but our job leaders is to learn and lead by example.  To teach the ones around us and pass along the desire to leave behind something better, than when we found it.  For now, we are here to build a team.

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