Dilbert’s boss once asked him if he could have a project done in a week. The engineer responded, not if I have to work with other employees. Given the galactic incompetence of my coworkers, he estimated, it would probably take seven to nine months. His boss replied, okay then, I’ll give you two weeks. Can you relate to that absurdity? Most people who work at some kind of organization can understand that struggle. Because sometimes teamwork feels like we’re all just jumping on the train to nowhere. It’s deflating and infuriating.
IRON STRIKING — Doing as much as you can for as long as you can, until somebody else takes notice
Yes, leverage is often created via other people’s energy, but a skill that’s valuable with an organization discerning when to go alone, and when to go together. Both approaches to work are valuable, but if you’re trying to go far when you really only need to go fast, teamwork and collaboration will weigh down the process and frustrate the people in it. You have to strike while the iron is hot, or you will forfeit momentum and lose valuable opportunities.
I’ve worked at companies who over relied on collaboration, and they seemed to lose many of the advantages of having independently motivated people. One question people might learn to stop and ask themselves is, would teamwork be more detrimental than good? And if so, maybe trying to book the perfect time slot when all seven employees can attend the project kickoff meeting isn’t necessary. Maybe the project would benefit from a single motivated individual, doing as much as they can for as long as they can, until somebody else takes note. Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission, right? In my experience, this approach not only lends itself to great productivity in the early stages, but also lends itself to attraction rather than promotion, to invoke the famous eleventh step. That way, once the project is already up and running, with a single person as the living example of its vision, others are likely to support it.
Teamwork not unimportant, simply overrated. Let’s be careful not to use collaboration as our excuse for not executing. Would teamwork be more detrimental than good?
Get your projects of the ground sooner
Prototype in a lean, fast and agile manner
Build momentum and make your ideas sharable
Attract team support for your work at the appropriate time