Who cares if you’re an individual superstar if you can’t work on a team?

Individual Superstars vs. Teams

Found this article on Forbes via Digital Tonto. It’s about individuals vs. teams in terms of development, etc. Here’s the final paragraph, which kind of summarizes everything (as final paragraphs tend to do):

All of this points to a major change in how we need to recruit, train and manage people.  Many long-held practices, such as individual performance assessments and compensation will have to be reassessed. The best performers are no longer the hard driving executives that can impose their force of will, but those who can engender trust and encourage others to contribute.

I agree. Let me run this down real quick:

Now go back to the Forbes article and check this out:

To understand how to create more effective teams, scientists at MIT and Carnegie Mellon have identified a collective intelligence factor that predicts group performance.  Rather than hard driving “A personalities,” it turns out that high performing teams are made up with people who have high social sensitivity, take turns when speaking and, surprisingly the number of women in the group.

The women thing doesn’t surprise me.

It’s all about this at the end of the day: nothing at work happens in a vacuum. You can be incredibly smart and have a ridiculous talent toolkit, and you know what? You still probably need permission to do X-thing from Y-Person, cost center codes from Z-Person, and to collaborate with R-person on E-new idea. Relationships are everything. At a certain point, it’s all about that and hitting marks; the quality of the work doesn’t even always matter.

And if you want to know why that is, again back to Forbes:

Yet in truth, very few people are stars or dolts, most sit somewhere in between and cognitive ability isn’t as consequential as it used to be. Consider the fact that an ordinary teenager with a smartphone has more access to information than even a genius working in a high-powered organization a generation ago and it becomes clear that talent is overrated.

Individual talent is dead. It shouldn’t even matter except as a baseline. You need curious, empathetic people if you want to chase real goals in the “ever-shifting, always-on-the-go” business environment we all believe we inhabit today.




Ted Bauer