You just can’t take your eyes off that poster on the wall. Your heart is pounding. The hairs on your arms are standing on their heads. Your breathing has stopped.
A team of rowers is rowing a boat in harmony. The sun is setting on the horizon, the waters reflecting the beautiful golden glow. Far off in the distance, a pack of birds are making their way back home.
You feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So inspiring!
Then the reality hits you. This is not quite how it works in your office. Harmony is a beautiful concept. It works in the world of sports so beautifully. But it does not work in today’s workplace. Why?
Because our work is not really “work” in traditional sense. The word “work” implies some physical activity. But most of today’s work is more about using our brain than the brawn. Our work today is more mental than physical.
Don’t believe it? Just think about the last time you had to lift anything heavy at work. The heaviest object that you lifted was probably a pen or a pencil. The longest you had to walk was from the parking lot to the office building. The only part of your body that really hurts from “work” is your fingers and wrists from typing.
Sports teams and work teams are different in a very fundamental way. Sports is about physical teamwork; our work today is mostly about intellectual teamwork. Physical teamwork gives us immediate feedback as to what’s going on. Intellectual teamwork does not.
That’s why most work teams, despite the all the hype surrounding it, are nothing more than a bunch of people trying to do their best through trial and error.
If traditional concepts of teamwork do not work in today’s workplace, why is it that we keep buying in to them? What does an ideal team look and behave like in today’s workplace? These are the questions we will address in the next two issues.
This is Bhavesh Naik, wishing you a Happy Success…