One Man & His Blog

Escaping the tyranny of the team

Escaping the tyranny of the team

Team work can be creative and fulfilling. But some tasks are better done alone. Can we design offices to allow that?

There’s no doubt that the thing I miss most about corporate life is the team camaraderie. I haven’t really had a team for three and a half years now. I work largely by myself, and that can be rewarding – but sometimes lonely. (The fact that I spend a lot of time training or lecturing goes a long way to balance that, though.)

However, Stowe Boyd makes a very interesting point: sometimes solo working can be more productive for some endeavours – like writing and analysing:

The case I am making is not that of the solitary genius laboring in a garret, per se. But actually the opposite: the strictures and costs of the modern-day model of teamwork provide a scant return on the investments those on the team have to make, individually. Yes, I am aware that all important and useful things can’t be accomplished by soloists, true. But we seem to have swung so far to the teamwork side of the equation that opportunities for individual work are routinely overlooked, or swept into the team to-do list, like everything else.

And, as we reshape our workspaces to encourage collaboration – do we lose something?

The open office combined with an obsession with teamwork make today’s office more of a minefield than a “mindfield”: It’s not a place to think deep thoughts for long periods of time.

Fascinating thoughts. Can we create workplaces that allow solo endeavour as well as group collaboration?


Written by

Adam Tinworth   Adam Tinworth

Adam has been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 25. He currently works as a consultant and trainer, helping people do better, more engaged online journalism.


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