Teamwork As The Competitive Advantage

When I read this article in EJewish Philanthropy (http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/teamwork-as-the-competitive-advantage/?utm_source=Tue+June+4&utm_campaign=Tue+June+4&utm_medium=email), I remember thinking to myself that I needed to save it for a blog post. Well, better late than never! A year and a half later, it still resonates very strongly. 
 

“Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton write in “Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths and Total Nonsense: Benefitting from Evidence Based Management” (2006) that many success stories – in medicine, sports, politics – point not to a leader or genius, but the power of the team. Pfeffer and Sutton explain that talent is not completely fixed or predetermined. Talent depends on a person’s motivation and experience. Talent depends on how a person is managed or led. Talent depends more on effort and having access to the right information and support, rather than natural ability. They state, “Natural talent is overrated.” It’s not about the best; it’s about the team.I am curious why, when our organizations are struggling, we are quick to identify employees’ weaknesses rather than first analyze our own work cultures and systems.”

In my opinion, that really says it all. Why are organizations so quick to focus on employees’ “weaknesses” rather than examining the bigger picture? In my opinion, it could be because the person “on top” is not totally competent for their role. I think this is a question of “management” versus “leadership”. If the top-level professional is always looking to blame team issues on his/her employees, to me it seems like the problem comes from the top. And as the article states, this person is most likely not viewing their staff as a team. Focusing on “weaknesses” can also be a way for the manager to place blame on the employees under them. Each person is certainly responsible for his/her own workload, but the manager needs to remember that part of his/her job is … wait for it … managing! Although everyone is responsible for their own duties, it is up to the manager to make sure that their staff runs like a well-oiled machine. And as the article states, the way to do that is to foster team-building rather essentially breaking the team down by focusing only on the “weaknesses”. 

I think a huge part of this is also being able to offer criticism in a constructive way. The employees should feel empowered and that they are being listened to. I think that is also a big key to fostering a team environment. 

What have your experiences been working as an employee and/or a manager? I look forward to your feedback.  

Chava  

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3 Responses to Teamwork As The Competitive Advantage

  1. Shirley Gruenhut says:

    I am copying and pasting a snippet from what you quoted in your “blog” – Talent depends on a person’s motivation and experience. Talent depends on how a person is managed or led. Talent depends more on effort and having access to the right information and support, rather than natural ability. They state, “Natural talent is overrated.” It’s not about the best; it’s about the team” . . . I do not wholly concur with the above – talent is G-d given (it’s a gift from Heaven), it’s alleged to be genetic, hereditory, in your blood handed down from parents, their parents, etc.) – talent can be nurtured and honed to its finest by the above lifted quote (effort, the right leadership, information, support, et alia). And it IS about the best – all men are equal but some ARE more equal than others – true, everyone is good at something, but drawing out the best in a team seems to be contingent upon the individual make-up of its team members, so when recruiting for the “team”, one has to glean la “creme de la creme” vis-a-vis “talented” individuals – look, you wouldn’t want to go pay through the nose to see the Rockettes dancing and prancing on the stage of Radio City Music Hall if one or more members of the “team” weren’t as perfect as humanly possible, correct? And yes, once you ensure that you’ve gleaned out the “undesirable” inappropriate members that do comprise the team, if one happens to fall short of that certain level of excellence or performance obviously it is the manager’s task to be cognizant and fully enmeshed in the daily ongoings of his/her “team” so that the weak link in the proverbial chain” is repaired, or ultimately replaced if beyond repair. Capece, my dear?

  2. Ahavah says:

    I agree on some of the points mentioned, but I have also had really amazing experiences where there was no “boss” and the process was based on cooperation, collaboration, and consensus. This isn’t always a practical approach, but encourage where it may be a good fit for a project, for folks to try it out!

  3. chavaleh1127 says:

    Thank you ladies for your feedback; great points!

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