Monday, December 21, 2009


So often in work situations, I hear how important “teamwork” is.

Every time I hear that word, it really grates on my nerves because it’s one of those workplace phrases that people toss around without really thinking about it.

“It takes teamwork.”
“We’re a great team.”
“Teamwork! Teamwork! Teamwork!”

First of all, it has connotations of the athletic field and competitive sports; and that’s never a good thing. Yes, it takes a whole team to get the football across those goalie lines, but really, what is the intrinsic value in accomplishing that?

Yes, you scored some points when the other team didn’t . . . .and??

I just don’t “get” competitive sports.

So, the word “teamwork” grates on me for that reason.

The other reason is because teamwork is a huge waste of time. Let’s say that The Boss assigns someone to assemble a team to accomplish a task.

First, a team must be assembled. Then, a meeting time must be established. This is done by sending no less that fifty emails and six dozen Outlook Calendar requests only to discover that the next time everyone on the proposed “team” is available is nine months from now.

Finally, the team meeting is set and everyone meets. Someone with a paper flip-chart is assigned to write down everyone’s ideas on large sheets of paper and tape them to the walls of the meeting room. These are passionately discussed -- usually by only two people on the team -- while the other team members engage in “Blackberry prayers.” (Their eyes cast downward while they play with their Blackberries in their laps.)

Then another team meeting-time is set. Everyone leaves, the sheets of paper are never seen again, and nothing gets done.

That’s “teamwork.”

Sigh . . . .

Just assign the task to me – and let me do it.

Even in all my emails, you’ll never see me using the word, “team”. You’ll never see me write “Hello team!” or “team members” -- I always say “staff”.

Bottom line. If you want to waste everyone’s time, just engage in teamwork.

I’ll be in my office with the door closed getting things done.



At 12:06 AM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

This made me laugh, because there's an annoying woman at work who always refers to my group as "team." :)

At 1:56 PM , Blogger Random Thinker said...

They start them early these days, assigning school projects to teams. I suppose the earlier they learn that every team has at least one each, a "talker" a "slacker" and a "producer" on it, the better.


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