10 Good Reasons to Hate Work Teams – A Little Background

20121022_105016I originally wrote 10 Good Reasons to Hate Work Teams way back in 1998, shortly after I had decided to become an independent consultant in the area of organizational development and opened the business Pathways and Crossroads Consulting Inc.  Back then eBooks, blogs and other forms of social media for publishing your thoughts and ideas were still mostly just thoughts and ideas so 10 Good Reasons was published as a booklet.  It had a giant 10 on the cover with a picture of me in the middle of that 10 and my kids still ‘strike the pose’ of me in the middle of the zero and refer to the booklet as Dad’s pamphlet!  Kids can be a tough audience!

I sold and used a fair number of these at the time, but like a lot of hard copy booklets, the format became problematic, even though the topic was still relevant.

It was that last point that prompted the resurfacing of 10 Good Reasons.  While there are lots of writings on teams, most of them make the topic far more complex than it needs to be in my opinion.  In addition, most of those writings espouse the wonderful nature of teams as if we should all yearn to be on one, or more!  Closer to reality is that teams are simply a fact of organizational life and we are just as likely to yearn to be off one as on one.

10 Good Reasons to Hate Work Teams takes a little different approach.  First, it’s pretty simple.  The 10 reasons are not deep dark issues, but they are problems that surface all the time with teams.  Second, the suggested actions to move these problems along are pretty simple too.  Most teams can do great work by keeping things simple and that is the focus.  Third, it’s light and hopefully a little humorous.  Sometimes humor is a very good way to surface problems that can be difficult to talk about.

One thing right up front is what I mean by a team for this work.  It’s a group of people that have 2 characteristics:

  1. They meet (face to face, virtually or by some other means).
  2. They have some common focus and output that they are responsible for.

And if you ask me to go into a more complex definition of what a team is; well then we have 11 reasons to hate work teams!

For this version of 10 Good Reasons to Hate Work Teams the text has been updated and expanded a little (but not much) and when it’s done I will no longer have my picture in the middle of a zero on the cover!

I hope you will engage with me, and the topic as this emerges; it will make this project better.  Well at least if we don’t run into any of the 10 Good Reasons to Hate Work Teams!  If we do however, we can use the suggested actions and see if this stuff actually helps!

I’ll be posting twice a week, usually on Tuesday and Friday mornings (Eastern time of Canada).

Let’s begin!

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9 Responses

  1. Now I want to see the picture that was on the booklet! Looking forward to the discussion.

  2. Andrea, I actually have a copy of Tom inside the zero…thinking we could perhaps start a bidding war 🙂

  3. Oh crap! There still is a copy out there! And that 90’s mustache is soooo bad!

  4. Andrea, it’s worth bidding for 🙂

  5. How tempting – who’s putting in the first bid?? Tom! With a 90’s mustache! Inside a zero!!!

    Tom, somebody could get quite rich with this!!
    …..And I’m seriously looking forward to this experience with you all and enjoying some of Tom’s wit with it.

  6. Hmmm… I smell a challenge. I will find this picture 🙂

  7. This blog is a great idea! I’m sure we will all have experienced lots of these issues…..I do wonder if there are more dysfunctional teams than functional ones? I look forward to your creative journey….

  8. Are we all going to be a “Work Team” while doing this? Hmm what kind of team will we become?

    • Tammy. I don’t think we meet the criteria being used to define a team… 1. meeting and 2. a common purpose! We will have to call ourselves something different…. You have illustrated something really important here and it happens all the time. People begin to interact about something and then all of a sudden they think they are, or should be a team and then all kinds of weird stuff starts happening. If they just left things as people interacting all the burden and expectations of being a team wouldn’t get in the way of just interacting….

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