There IS an “I” in Team. A lot of them.

Work can be a great source of fulfillment and contribution.  Or it can be a source of continual irritation, frustration, and the bane of your existence.  And if we could attribute causation for which it will be, only a tiny sliver is your manager/the organization itself/your peers.

75% of you at work, in life, is how you see the world.

Teams are made up of individuals, each individual with a different belief system.  The most effective individuals, and therefore teams, recognize that the results we get (relationships and outcomes) are driven by what we do (our behaviors).  What we do depends on how we see the world (beliefs).  Everyone usually wants a positive result, they just don’t check in with their mind, their thoughts.

I want fulfillment and contribution out of my work; I want to feel valued on the team; I want to make a difference.  However, let’s assume for a minute that I believe my boss is an egomaniac, the other people on my team are naïve idiots, and this is a hard place to work and it takes a hard person to be successful.  How am I going to behave?  With what Stephen Covey calls the six cancers that spread throughout my body, mind, heard, and spirit: criticizing, complaining, comparing, competing, contending, and cynicism.

Will I get my desired result?  Heck no.  And then I’ll use the fact that I don’t feel valued and fulfilled to justify my belief system.  It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What I’m suggesting is that the next time you think about building an effective team, think about how to influence individual effectiveness before you dive into common purpose and management processes and expectations and accountability.  Start with yourself:

  •  What are you believing about the people around you?
  •  About what you can achieve?
  • About how things get done in addition to what gets done?

And then ask your teammates–what is important to them about work?  What drives their fulfillment?  And finally, how does that link to what it is important for the team to achieve?

2 Responses to There IS an “I” in Team. A lot of them.

  1. David Hoey says:

    Hi Jennifer, really great post! And I agree totally, we have made some changes to our Exec team with some internal promotions and are seeing some challenges that are diretly linked to each persons beliefs and the way they see the business – alignment is difficult at the moment!!!
    Ther’s some great material and ideas I’ve been tapping into over the last 6 months from Doug Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soups, that is helping me work through these issues. Worth a look at

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