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Power to the true team

September 6, 2009

The way we feel about the team we’re a part of, determines the way we feel about the company we work for. Let’s face it; we spend a greater part of our (working) lives with our colleagues than we do with our partners and families.

Therefore, if we dislike the people we work with; if the intercommunication with our colleagues is negative and if the working environment is uninspiring; we will eventually throw all our personal belongings in a box (or a bag) and head straight for the door.

The truth of the matter is, that in the end the power of the team proves itself to be stronger than the staying power of the company. No matter how attractive the company branding may be. 

Competitiveness: stagnant company culture

Companies have long believed that a flock of highly competitive co-workers will create that edge any company needs. Especially when working on team projects. Well —news flash— it doesn’t.
An overly competitive environment breaks the team spirit. And I have experienced this first hand. In the past I’ve worked with a colleague who for one reason or the other felt he had to compete with me. He’d do this with every single assignment we had. This was not only very annoying, it was also very exhausting.

By refusing to compete with him, I expected his attitude would eventually fizzle out. It didn’t. Instead my ignoring him just made him the bigmouth, who’d pinched another person’s idea and strut about with it as if it were his own. In the end I couldn’t work with him. I simply couldn’t trust him. This was definitely not good for us as a team. Worse yet, it reflected in the work we did together.

I realise that I live on planet earth and that there will always be a light form of competitiveness among teammates. There’s nothing wrong with that. But this should never be dominant; for it can really destroy the joy of working together.

Collaboration: new company culture

Most people are collaborative by nature. And when we don’t feel that we’re part of a team, it has a contra productive effect. Being part of a team, means that you are able to put your individuality aside and mesh with the other. All with the intention to achieve the project’s set goals.

The ability to collaborate with others is becoming more and more important with the emerging social media technologies. These technologies are making a difference in many of the now existing company cultures. Eventually, it will take them to the higher level of the 21st century company interrelations.

Consequently, for the organisation to relate, it will need it’s co-workers to do this as well. And if you want to relate as a co-worker, you’ll need to relate as a team. This means sharing with others. Sharing experiences, sharing knowledge. Moving across boundaries, whether this be literally across countries/cultures or figuratively across your own personal restrictions/ambitions.

The new team culture demands being a visionary and daring to exert your soft skills. It also means helping each other out —and not effacing the other in competition. This will benefit the team and indirectly benefit the company.


The new 21st century company cherishes and nourishes a true team spirit. The new team is one that consists of collaborative team members. Individuals who desperately need to shine and thus ruthlessly compete with colleagues, will be banned.

The new team member’s not afraid to cross boundaries, whether this is literally or figuratively. And the member’s also not afraid to exhibit a visionary attitude.

Social media technologies are not only changing the way we learn, they are also changing the way we work together. And being a productive and contributing part of a team, is now more important than ever. I say: Power to the true team! 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 8, 2009 23:19


    I can’t agree more with your thoughts on the collaborative culture that organizations need in order to succeed in today’s world of work.

    With virtual teamwork so commonplace in most organization I believe this needs to be nurtured on a team, especially by the managers and leaders.

    As you so wisely pointed out in your post team members need to relate to each other – to know, like, and trust one another. Only then can true collaboration and teamwork flourish.

    For teams that rarely see one another this means making time for informal communication and information sharing. Today’s tools such as web based virtual offices, video chat, and social media all make this easy to do without requiring a huge time commitment.

    I hope more leaders within organizations will start to see things your way and not only embrace but nurture a collaborative spirit!

    Thanks for a great post and blog!



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