Embrace collaboration over individual performance to scale your impact

The world still thinks it’s all about individual performance. Yet it is the triumph of groups of people that actually move the world forward.

It’s understandable that the individual point of view is prevalent.

  • We’re educated as individuals
  • We’re graded and evaluated as individuals
  • We’re compensated and heralded as individual success stories

Imagine if sports teams played like office workers.

One team would be on their side of the field. Quarterback calls a huddle and presents his viewpoint for 45 minutes. One player (it’s always that one player) takes copious notes for distribution afterwards. Tasks are assigned and everyone heads back to the locker room.

On the other side, the defensive captain is talking with one player. He’s halfway through giving annual feedback to each of his team mates. It’ll be another couple weeks to get to everyone — schedules, ya know.

That’s not how it works! Sports teams practice together, play the game together, watch reels together.

Imagine office workers played more like sports teams

Why don’t we work more like a team? Why can’t we work more like a team? What could it look like?

  • Sharing of work every day with each other
  • There’s only practice and engaging other teams — no meetings
  • Creating content together in real time – not by sending a sole authored presentation for “feedback”
  • Specific roles that take advantage of different talents and skills
  • Different talent and skills working on the same thing

I’m struck as I write this how the combination of individualism and division of labor for efficiency seems to be at the core of our dysfunctional way of working.

As much as companies talk about high performance teams and being a team player, very few professionals have the opportunity to work as a team.

How could you work more as a team with your colleagues? What would you do differently?

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