Teams…Are they the best or the worst?


Teams…Are they the best or the worst?

There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art…Seth Godin in “Linchpin”

I wonder if all the stress we put on ‘teamwork’ and ‘team building’ we don’t fall into the category Godin talks about. Do we hold back because we don’t want to upset the team? Do we hide in the corner rather than be labeled “not a team player.”

It’s easy to be on a team, or work in a mine, or an assembly line. We do the same thing over and over. We don’t step on toes, we get positive strokes from leaders and teammates, blame is spread over the team so no one feels singled out.

If we don’t have “teams” each individual has the opportunity to work at their pace, to find the things that interest them, and yes, become the best at something. I wonder if the linchpins upon which Godin bases his book aren’t former team players who broke away from day to day boredom to excel on their own.

 “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”

How do we communicate to former factory workers, desk jockeys, miners, and others whose jobs are gone forever that now may not be the time to learn to ‘code?’ How do we involve them in the wonders of self expression and ideas that only come from within?

Could we rethink a hiring process? Could we looks for brilliance rather than experience? Could we look for contribution rather than someone who ‘fits in?’

Maybe we just don’t ask them the right questions.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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