The Truth about Teams

There’s this erroneous notion that we’re team players, meaning we’ll work even harder for the team than we would for ourselves. But in real life we belong to five or six different teams, none of which provide this deep sense of belonging. You’re on the marketing team and I’m on the product team and we’re also on the quality team. We’re not soley devoted to a single team. Plus, coordinating teamwork—organizing meetings and such—causes about a 40 percent loss in productivity. And there’s another problem. There’s this concept that teams need to have good relationships between members in order to be high-performing. But a team that’s all chummy, with no discord, is often like a couple that’s burying something and not talking about it. Teams are going to be challenged, and they have to perform—and that sometimes requires yelling at teammates or doing something that pisses people off. Discord can be more associated with performance than harmony is.

Po Bronson
quoted in Wired magazine