Why (not) Teamwork

Exploring together "Why not teamwork" gives you perspective, confidence, and credibility for the discussions with your teams and managers.

I have been looking at working life for 35 years. I would like to see that the majority of teams are able to do teamwork. Ok. Average. Normal. But what I usually see is a couple of brilliant teams, the majority of the teams peacefully dragging their feet and the rest struggling.

My experience is supported by the researcher Susan Wheelan, who studied about 600 teams for decades. She concluded that 50% of people have never experienced decent teamwork.

This is waste, unutilized human potential. Why is it happening?

  • The team - as a team - believes that we are already good. No-one challenging. No bold example. No need to reflect or improve.
  • Most people assume that Teamwork happens automatically - no need to create conditions or learn skills.
  • The management has no evidence or experience of return of investment. It is uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. It is safe just to define roles and responsibilities.

We will study the practical benefits of teamwork:

The team's perspective

  • Learning to share workload, competence, and leadership.
  • Having the work supported by the essential organizational enablers
  • Improving interaction to create constructive norms, trust, and safety.
  • Solving the essential group dynamics questions of agreeing to be lead, acceptance of individuality, and work-related anxiety.

Individual perspective

  • Choice of growth: Learning, participation, and influencing
  • Intrinsic motivation: Competence, autonomy, and relatedness
  • Freedom through taking responsibility

Organizational perspective

  • Teamwork is the only antidote for bureaucracy
  • Teamwork is the only way to have a real transformation