With a significant increase in demand for teams of interims from organisations across the private and public sector, John Bloor reflects upon examples of collaborative team working in other walks of life and whether team orders really work.
When management speak first emerged as an irritating language of its own we wondered what on earth “walking the talk” or “talking the walk” was and if it really added to our general understanding of life. There was one particular colleague of mine who always came up with the mantra “There’s No I in Team” if he wasn’t getting his way. I think that was supposed to bring out the guilt, but there is now another trend emerging around the very idea of a team player that will surprise many.
There’s No Team In I
Recent events have provided us with some lovely examples of the reverse phrase, “There’s No Team in I.” As a piece of management speak babble, this is now unfortunately a much more accurate reflection of human nature, particularly amongst the ‘Haves’ who are really only interested in ‘Having More’. The ‘Have Nots’, on the other hand, will be much more in the “There’s no I in Team” camp, because it might be the only way they will get to join in.
Be a Good Sport, Following Team Orders
To draw on an example of this from the sporting world, F1 driver Sebastian Vetell wanted to win a recent race. He was in second place with his team mate in first and was ordered not to overtake. He ignored the order, overtook, won the race and ended up alienating both his team mate and boss. Nico Rosberg was ordered to do the same thing in the same race and he obeyed team orders even though he really didn’t want to.
There is a T in Politics
Over in Cyprus we are seeing a different, tougher, attitude towards EU member states requiring a bail out from the European Union “team”. Reasons for this individualistic approach include German politicians’ preoccupation with their own re-election and Cyprus’s poor standing and lack of choice in the overall scheme of things. According to Forbes, there are 25 private individuals in the world whose net worth is bigger than Cyprus’s annual GDP. So if a few people in a little place like Cyprus lose a little bit of money out of their bank accounts, it’s not going to have any knock on effect elsewhere is it? Of course not. Look at Lehman’s; letting them go has had no lasting impact on the world as we knew it, has it?
Not Such a Special Relationship
Across the Atlantic, the concept of fair play and Team Orders has always struck me as being one of the things that, from the Brits’ point of view, has underpinned the ‘Special Relationship’ with the USA. But not from the perspective of the USA, I suspect, who will have a ‘Special Relationship’ with which ever country or countries happens to suit their purpose at the time, usually coinciding with a presidential visit. How does the concept of Team Orders affect Nuclear Non Proliferation Policy? Not much if your name is Kim Jong-un or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – although interestingly it was the “Haves” that set the Team Orders rather than the “Have Nots”.
So team orders don’t always work, do they? It’s only ever really about self interest. Pity. Perhaps they should take a look at what is happening in the world of interim management where collaborative working and a team approach are on the increase, proving that although there may be an I in interim, there is also very much a T too.
What is your view on team working and Team Orders? Have you worked in a team of interims before? What was the outcome? Please share your experience with our community in the comments below.