Sunday, January 18, 2009

Definitions or the ability to move in the same direction

As a child I had a great friend, we loved to play with Lego, Computers and discuss various subjects such as new gadgets on the market and new scientific discoveries. Sometimes though we had arguments that could last for a couple of hours, usually these arguments were easily resolved. Often the resolution, much to our surprise, was such that we realized we actually had meant the same thing from the beginning but used different words for what we meant. Thus the words we used had different meanings for us but once these meanings were revealed we could see that we actually agreed on the subject.

Many a times I've been involved in discussions about teams, about how they ought to be organized, should there be a team leader that gives assignments to the team members or should the team members them self assign tasks. Where the team should sit, together or spread out, in small separate offices or close together in a landscape?

A minor investigation of the word Team makes a major difference to these questions. If the definition is simply a group of people making similar kinds of work or work related to the same product there is no reason to organize so the team members sits in the same spot and who should do what is often obvious. A team leader that assigns tasks and coordinates the work might be a proper way to master such a team.

If what you want is rather a group of people working together to reach a common goal the answers to the questions above would probably be quite different. It would probably be appropriate to let the team sit together and decide who should do what together.

Simply put you need to get each other's definitions clear before its time to argue about what is the right way or the wrong way to go!

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