Is the culture of team building in corporate America causing unseen damage to corporate growth and efficiency? One of the greatest concepts in today’s corporate America has been the emphasis on team building. Could it now be causing a rusting of the individual drive, effort, and creativity? Isn’t that also important to the free enterprise system?
As a consultant and corporate officer, I’ve always been a proponent of the team concept. The values and contribution of a well-developed team are not at issue. What I’ve become concerned about what is, potentially, a mutation of the team culture.
I’ve seen some organizations where the emphasis on teams was so strong that an imbalance in the creative development of some employees was sacrificed for the benefit of “team think.” This “group think” mentality while very effective in some areas when over-emphasized, can stifle that vital element necessary to furthering corporate goals. Some companies have mistakenly used the concept of team- building before they were adequately trained, confusing it with employee participation.
For managers, the key question to ask yourself and explore with your leaders is this; are we sacrificing creativity and individual merit in the way we promote team effort? If so, trying a more balanced approach may be the answer. Stressing individual assignments on some projects or using teams for only special projects, at least temporarily, may help your staff to become more self-reliant and more creative.
My purpose here is to suggest that you take another look at how your organization manages teams, not whether the concept works. How can you and your people be even more productive? Are you too focused on one method? If you work alone, as an entrepreneur with a 30-second hallway commute to your office daily, you may be wishing that you had a team to work with, at least at times. However the odds are, that by necessity, you are more innovative than your corporate brethren. How both sides can improve on this will be a subject in the next Justin Times.
What do your e-mails look like? I mean the format, especially in initial business communications. Recently I saw an e-mail from an experienced businessperson who was also a professional writer and editor. The email, all in lower case with no formatting with very long paragraphs hardly represented a cogent communication. It was not only difficult to read, it was unprofessional.
E-mails to friends and known associates is one thing. How we present to the world is another.
Have you ever attended a business networking event or been a member of a weekly networking group? If so, you may have noticed that there is either a high drop out rate or that many in the group don’t to do well through the contacts they are making. Why not?
The next time you’re at one of these events, observe and you’ll likely find some people who look like a cat about to pounce, to wait for the person talking to finish so that they can say what they want to say. This person is usually clueless to other’s needs or concerns, and it shows. People naturally sense this and will react accordingly.
In any networking affiliation, either personal, group meetings or through the Internet, be a supporter, a buyer, or provide some- thing of value through advice, links or introductions to someone else who you may know who might be able to help the other person in the group. Listen closely without thinking about what you are going to say next.
If you are one of the few supporters, and not many will do this, others will want to know more about you. Ultimately this is the key to your successful networking experiences.