There’s No “I” in Team
But there is a Me…
Witnessing the growing number of attention seekers on social media, it seems as though a lot of this behavior may be driven by the fact that many individual professional identities have become shrouded within “teams” “groups” or “pods”, starving the more delicate personalities of the accolades they feel they’re due. These collective efforts are designed to make their sum greater than its parts, train new members, and ultimately create more velocity for the collaborative. They’re all generally after the same thing, just on different scales. Corporate models often promote larger operations with an abundance of resources and means from which to move the needle effectively and efficiently. This lends credence to the idea that bigger is better and that we generally get by with a little help from our friends, but faster. We join these cohesive units because we support each other, hold hands, and share an abiding love that endures. Through thick and thin, we persevere in the name of our platoon. Members are screened, vetted, and pre-determined to be a good fit so that all parties play nicely in the sandbox. Everybody gets along famously, and we all have a very Merry Christmas.
Now, back to planet earth. A group dynamic can be a tremendous source of support, inspiration, and achievement. It provides all of us with a safer entry point when it’s most needed. This is evidenced by young college graduates that begin their careers in large corporations specifically for the comprehensive training programs they are required to complete. This brand of training is focused and funded on levels that simply cannot be found most anywhere else. It becomes a launchpad for the entry-level apprentice to sharpen his or her teeth and climb the corporate ladder internally or pursue other avenues. These programs have a proven track record of success because they provide a supreme level of structure that subjects participants to a boot camp environment. Upon completion, graduates of this type of training are free to stretch their legs, leverage an applied education, and begin offering professional opinions, after they’ve earned their stripes. It is typically within smaller operations, where these freely offered opinions precede any formal training that it can become rather amusing to the casual observer.
Any aspiring “group” larger than a given number of people will always have its share of divisive mishaps that can disrupt the collaborative dynamic at times. As human beings, we’re wired to serve our self-interests first, even if we claim to be team players. Let’s face it, we’re difficult. We can be tough to get along with. I can be a real pain in the ass in a team setting, but trust me, I’m the one with the problem. Groups and teams are not always my strong suit, but they often create breakthroughs that allow all members to think and grow in directions they hadn’t previously imagined. This type of success is entirely possible and even likely for a unit that is strategically assembled. However, Real Estate Teams hang their hat on a volume approach that remains underfunded in more ways than one. Their sole identity is typically defined by who can do the most deals. And why not? In many cases, if you can fog a mirror and you have a license, you’re in! How else would someone like me have been granted access? This is one example that illustrates how the targeted success of a team is often unrealistic in the grand scheme of things. Effective teams typically do well to remain as smaller units or invoke restrictive rules and guidelines that stunt the very brand of creativity they proclaim to instill. Some operations truly are a streamlined vision of success that directly benefit their sum and its parts, but they are often the exception rather than the rule.
If you are a member of a team that works well together and successfully, right on! I salute you. It’s Yeoman's work you’re doing. But if your team feels more like the Bad News Bears, it may be time for reflection. Team leaders always take the hit on this one. CEOs get replaced, coaches get fired and players are torn up by the press. Maybe a team angle in business isn’t necessarily the best fit for all. What if the Team approach was replaced with the idea of a Partnership? Partnerships, plural. Several of them, serving as individual alliances that create a mutual sense of purpose and appreciation on both ends of each drafted agreement. This approach is aimed at smaller scale groups that lack a larger corporate budget. It consists of contracted individual agreements (smart contracts) set in place to define a bilateral commitment you have to each other, and no one else. One on One. This creates a head fake activity that can generate indirect, endgame benefits, Mr. Miyagi style – paint the fence >>> learn karate. Kapeesh?
Moving along, the singular focus of each contract bears fruit to the larger initiative, previously unrealized within a team agenda that is often thwarted by even a couple of disgruntled members with an ax to grind. All parties end up inadvertently saluting the common good of the group, while still serving their own personal interests. Individuals engage their workload in more of a FLOW state that motivates them to go the extra mile rather than stare at their watch. This could deliver a Win/Win scenario and enlighten individual members to put aside petty differences, stay out of each other’s kitchen, and paint the Team Leader as a F*&!@# genius.
In a world, as polarized as the one in which we currently reside, any team environment will fracture at times. Why not implement a “Blockchain” brand of agreement whereby each individual Promisor/Promisee holds each other directly accountable? This eliminates the smokescreen defense of, “I thought they were gonna do it” and holds everybody’s feet to the fire, all in the name of creating systemized and sustainable loops of production. And if the Blockchain description sounds too technical then call it what it is, a binding contract between two people. Signed, Sealed, Delivered.
Ultimately, the laws of the universe do not change. You can either dazzle your targets with brilliance or baffle ‘em with bullshit. Whatever works for you, but it’s usually skewed toward the former….