I have just read a very disturbing, yet unsurprising article reporting that 12% of workers admit to having become more insular during the recession.
At the very time when companies need greater interaction and greater interdependency (teamwork), individuals are seeking to protect their own workloads and projects and around some 27% admit to working longer hours.
The report quotes Mike Bourne, professor of business performance at Cranfield University School of Management as saying,
“Team collaboration and knowledge sharing is essential to help businesses chart a way through the current climate. However, while some employees are understandably worried about job security, firms with business processes to automate teamwork are able to reconcile both workforce productivity and personal performance.”
I’m not sure whether it is part of British DNA or culture, but we seem to really struggle with the concept of working together to achieve a common goal. Perhaps we’ve had experiences where we’ve been betrayed by those whom we have trusted, or had others leapfrog over us as they take our ideas and use them for personal gain and promotion.
Unfortunately, these sad characters will always be with us.
But teamwork is exactly the forum that will help to expose these individuals and it provides the team with a level of security impossible to achieve on an individual level. Who in their right mind (if they are that way inclined) will take on a group of people, a group which is likely to include members of the management team?
But teamwork isn’t really about sinking these rogue battleships; it’s about achieving an objective more quickly, efficiently and completely than is possible when we work alone.
The proof is in the marketplace. Look at the most successful companies and see how many of these use teams and creative approaches to problem solving and company direction. A recent survey suggested that in business cultures which engender trust and co-operation, productivity is around 269% greater than where it is absent.
I guess it’s up to us whether we choose to believe the statistics and give it a go … or continue as we are. Only time, and possibly company solvency will tell.