This week@work we review articles on the effectiveness of teams, the risk of not setting boundaries @work, why getting fired isn’t always a bad thing, and a sign of spring.
Organizations are employing cross functional teams to solve a variety of business problems. The Economist explored new research on the effectiveness of teams.
“Leigh Thompson of Kellogg School of Management in Illinois warns that, “Teams are not always the answer—teams may provide insight, creativity and knowledge in a way that a person working independently cannot; but teamwork may also lead to confusion, delay and poor decision-making.”
Profound changes in the workforce are making teams trickier to manage. Teams work best if their members have a strong common culture.
…the most successful teams have leaders who set an overall direction and clamp down on dithering and waffle. They need to keep teams small and focused: giving in to pressure to be more “inclusive” is a guarantee of dysfunction. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s boss, says that “If I see more than two pizzas for lunch, the team is too big.”
…organisations need to learn something bigger than how to manage teams better: they need to be in the habit of asking themselves whether teams are the best tools for the job…Even in the age of open-plan offices and social networks some work is best left to the individual.”
Travis Bradberry lists ‘6 Things You Don’t Owe Your Boss’. Research at Northern Illinois University found that ‘telepressure’, the stress resulting from constant connection to work, negatively impacts health and cognitive performance.
“We need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don’t, our work, our health, and our personal lives suffer.
You need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to your employer and what belongs to you and you only. The items that follow are yours (health, family, sanity, identity, contacts & integrity). If you don’t set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you’re giving away something with immeasurable value.”
What if we replaced ‘getting fired’ with ‘moving on’ to describe separating from work? That’s just one of the strategies surveyed by Vivian Giang in ‘Why We Need To Stop Thinking Of Getting Fired As A Bad Thing’.
“…if we want to change the way we think about someone leaving a company, we need to change the way we think about work. In the book, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, along with coauthors Chris Yeh and Ben Casnocha, say relationships between employers and employees should be viewed as an alliance where employers are upfront and honest with new hires about their “tour of duty,” and how long each mission will take. That way, it takes away the unrealistic expectation that either, or both, parties can have about the relationship being lifelong, where nothing ever changes.
…the alliance says there are two independent parties that are coming together around certain mutual goals,” says Yeh. “They are going to be very specific about how they work together, really spelling this out and managing expectations, so they’re able to be more honest with each other and build a greater sense of trust.”
That way, employers and employees have a clear sense of what they’re trying to get out of the other party from the beginning. Employees know their mission, and how it will benefit the company and their own career. Employers are able to admit—and be okay with—the knowledge that their employees won’t be there forever.”
The world of work is changing. We talk about the ‘gig economy’ as something new, when the idea of contract employment has been the norm in many industries. Consider a theater or film project. Each professional brings a specific expertise to create magic. Each individual an entrepreneur, each worker an owner; managing the totality of their career, with a mosaic of assignments.
It’s the first day of spring. If you are traveling to Washington D.C. this week, you will arrive in time for the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms.
“Each year, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo to the city of Washington, DC. The gift and annual celebration honor the lasting friendship between the United States and Japan and the continued close relationship between the two countries.”