Don’t conform, be an individual – especially when you are part of a team. You are of most value for your team if you perform at your own best. And this won’t happen if you conform to what others think you should do. You will be of value for your team when you use your talents, not your job description. And when you give your drive and energy to your team, not just your time.
More and more companies are becoming team-based nowadays. Health care, for instance, is one sector that is applying autonomous teams at a large scale. And which software isn’t yet being developed by scrum teams in sprints? Super7 teams have replaced the old-fashioned back-office. And now entire traditional companies are changing into Agile Organizations, complete with Squads, Tribes and Chapters.
What does this shift towards teamwork mean for the individual employees – for you, as a team member? As an individual, you are often expected to perform as assigned, just like a robots are expected to. But we are much more than just beings that can perform tasks. We have a huge untapped potential that we can bring to the equation, like creative ideas, positivity, advice, hope, support, etc. In order to be of optimal value in a team, you have to know what value you can bring to the team. This means knowing your talents and personal values. Who you are, who you can become, and what you are potentially especially good at. And knowing how you can deliver on these talents – how you can become productive. It is important to have clear goals for yourself, goals that are in line with the goals of your team. And above all, you should keep improving how you manage yourself, your own development, your own productivity, your time and energy.
When I look at what is demanded of the individual in these teams, I feel that there should be more attention for the individual in team-based organizations. Coaching will become crucial on this matter. Not only coaching at team level (e.g. agile coaches), not only on subject matter (e.g. chapter lead coaching) but even more so coaching to unleash the full potential of an individual. Without the right nurture of the individual, we’re just settling for suboptimal results. With the right coaching, dormant individual potential will empower the realization of our team-goals.
And, did you know that you can find an actual letter “i” within the word “TEAM”? You may have to use your imagination a bit, but look at the negative space within the A – do you see it?
Menno R. van Dijk, with the help of Chi Lung Yung the author of ProductiviChi