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banquo's_bumble_puppy
2005-Nov-08, 12:09 PM
Does anyone else work in an environment where teamwork is important? Do you buy into it? I have a hard time when people preach it's importance while at the same time ignoring the thoughts/experience and opinions of others.

Argos
2005-Nov-08, 12:46 PM
I´ve always felt like I could do better alone. Some people are a real drag.

Swift
2005-Nov-08, 02:35 PM
Yes, both my current employer and my last employer used a team approach on many things. I think it is very common, at least in the industrial environment in the US. I have even been trained as a facilitator and have been a team leader.

I think teams are an excellent tool, but like any tool, they work best if well constructed and if they are used for the right task (a great hammer makes a terrible voltmeter :p ). Teams have their place, but are not a cure for every problem. I could give you a 2 hour talk on what teams are good or bad for and such.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-08, 02:40 PM
Teams are rarely "mainly bad", or "mainly good."

You have too much of a team, and it turns into a bureaucracy.

You have too little of a team, and it turns into... well, inefficient handling.

If you have the wrong type of team members, it hurts the team.

If you have the right type of team members, it helps the team.

Simple as that.

Swift
2005-Nov-08, 03:53 PM
I won't argue with anything Lonewulf said, but I would add a little more. There are tasks that are better done by groups and others that are better done by individuals. For example, groups are great at brainstorming (coming up with a bunch of ideas), but are poor at making decisions among all those choices (how many times have you been with a group of friends, doing the old "I don't know, what do you want to do" ;) )

Jim
2005-Nov-08, 03:53 PM
... I have a hard time when people preach it's importance while at the same time ignoring the thoughts/experience and opinions of others.

I'd have a hard time, too. What you just described is not teamwork. A properly constituted and operating team relies on the individual experiences, abilities, and opinions of every member. It should be striving for true consensus, and you cannot have that by ignoring anyone.

That said, my whole career depends on teamwork. I'm a project engineer. Each project requires the formation of a multi-disciplined team. My job is to get the best effort out of the team and out of each and every member. You can't do that by ignoring them.

ToSeek
2005-Nov-08, 03:58 PM
I've spent many years being a task leader for a team of computer programmers. It can be a challenge. (Favorite button: "Managing programmers is best compared to herding cats.") You've got to make sure you're listening to everyone's concerns and using them as best as circumstances allow. With one position, I figured I was doing a good job so long as my manager and my technical staff were equally mad at me.

You can probably go overboard on the abstract, "teamwork" philosophy. I think your first concern has to be getting the job done. If you let that drive everything else, while making clear that that's your motivation, not anything personal, people will generally go along with it. "Look, I know you're not keen about doing this, but you're the best one for the job, and we need you to do it if we're going to stay on schedule."

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-08, 07:56 PM
All my work is done in teams. I've been doing PM stuff for about 10 years now. Seems like everything we do these days is so complex that to even consider not using a team approach is ludicrous. (I'm in health care financing). Too many different skills and too much knowledge needed to reasonably expect any single person to carry out the mission.

Sometimes I lead. sometimes I represent a division (or divisions) on a team someone else is leading, and sometimes I serve as a consultant to teams.

It was getting involved in project teams that really fired up my casual interest in human dynamics, and made me start composing Models for Effective Living. I took a few psych classes, but there's nothing like real world interactions with a large assortment of Those Darn Humans to make you examine what the heck makes people tick.

Gillianren
2005-Nov-08, 09:26 PM
My boyfriend's official job title for his day job is "Team Leader." However, what he does is manage a group of people answering phones. This is not an environment in which teamwork really applies. Only one person at a time can take a person's credit card application.

Management, in its infinite love of buzz words, has decided that they'll get better work out of their employees if they're "teams." Then, they set the morning and evening shifts at one another in rivalry over sales figures. However, since hardly anyone there really likes their job, it just means that a lot of time is wasted in pep talks that get pretty much ignored by most of the people doing the actual work. (I used to work there; I know whereof I speak.) In fact, I was one of their best employees for quite a stretch, and it mostly involved not doing what they said would make me a better salesperson.

Enzp
2005-Nov-09, 08:18 AM
That is a good example of a place where there is no synergy in the team. If you double the number of phone answerers, you won't get triple the number of calls answered.

A long time ago I was director of field operations for a company with locations all over the US east of the Mississippi. Good luck doing that without a team. I had to rely on people from Mississippi to MAine.

Jim and ToSeek are good examples of where it is needed. Could someone today design a car? I don't mean the shape, I mean the whole car. And if one guy had written Windows, we would know who to blame.

Today I am in show business. I have a small company - I AM the company - but many people in this part of the world rely on me to get their show going. I have to get on their teams figuratively. Each of us brings things to the whole. Ideas, execution, ligistics.

Where is Elton John without Bernie Taupin? WHo can you remove from the Beatles and still have the Beatles? What would the London Philharmonic sound like without teamwork?

Salvador Dali...not so much.

Arneb
2005-Nov-09, 09:27 AM
I am a physician and currently working on an intensive care unit. Without proper teamwork, people would die, and I dare say that more than occasionally, they do die if there is lack of teamwork. Caring for ("managing", they call it :mad: ) a patient on an ICU is a continuous process - you have to make decisions, modify therapies and order/do examinations all the time. If there isn't a continuous flow of information from one shift to the next, things will - do - happen. If you can't be sure something you say to someone else is taken down and acted upon, your patient may be in trouble. There is the chart, of course, and it is a wonderful, detailled piece of concise writing, but never can you make patient care work on the chart alone, try as you might. Without the flow of information between doctors, nurses and everyone else involved, someone has problem.

Obviousman
2005-Nov-09, 09:28 AM
I'm in Naval Aviation.

What's 'teamwork'?

Argos
2005-Nov-09, 12:48 PM
WHo can you remove from the Beatles and still have the Beatles?


Just pick Paul and youīll still have the Beatles. :) [just kidding]

Seriously, team work, in my opinion, is for execution of tasks. It is meaningless for Creation, which is done in solitude.

Swift
2005-Nov-09, 02:17 PM
Seriously, team work, in my opinion, is for execution of tasks. It is meaningless for Creation, which is done in solitude.
I understand what you are saying Argos, but I'm not sure I completely agree. Absolutely, many creative acts are those of individuals. And many teams in the "real" world are more involved in execution than creation.

But creation can also happen within groups. The interplay with others, who have a slightly (or largely) different perspective on something, can open up many creative opportunities. Now you might argue, that in my discussions with a team, if someone else's thoughts give ME the breakthrough idea, that it was MY creative effort, the team only helped - personally, I think that is a very fine line.

Damburger
2005-Nov-09, 03:06 PM
Sort of.

I'm a student teacher at the moment. When I'm teaching a class I am the only employee in the room - but you could say I'm working as a team with my pupils (when they are cooperating, at any rate).

Argos
2005-Nov-09, 03:07 PM
Yes, you may have a point here. A team can help refining an idea, for instance, prior to execution. It´s happened to me some times. Still, my personal experience indicates that creation is driven by a loner´s insight.

Damburger
2005-Nov-09, 03:08 PM
Yes, you may have a point here. A team can help refining an idea, for instance, prior to execution. Itīs happened to me some times. Still, my personal experience indicates that creation is driven by a lonerīs insight.

Initial ideas come from inside your head, but they can only really develop into something real when you ca discuss them with other creative people.

Big Brother Dunk
2005-Nov-09, 09:11 PM
I work in a TV station and teamwork is absolutely essential in order to put the finished product on the air. Every department has to be working smoothly and in harmony.

Gillianren
2005-Nov-09, 09:17 PM
Where is Elton John without Bernie Taupin? WHo can you remove from the Beatles and still have the Beatles? What would the London Philharmonic sound like without teamwork?

Salvador Dali...not so much.

A) He did do some songs without him, you know, most notably The Lion King in its entirety. But, yes, he does need a lyricist.

B) Ringo, obviously. As in, they were in fact Beatles pre-Ringo. (Pete Best, we hardly knew ye.)

C) The Really Bad Orchestra.

D) Ah, but Dali would be nowhere without the slice of (no, really; I heard it on the Food Network) Camembert cheese that inspired all those droopy clocks.

Enzp
2005-Nov-10, 09:03 AM
My God, what if that fateful day he had chosen Meunster instead?