Mark French

Why is real teamwork so rare?

posted by
Mark French

Chief Financial Officer
Blueprint Education

“Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare” (Patrick Lencioni).

I believe teamwork is rare because our organizations are built in opposition to working as a team. The key to maximizing community impact is making sure everyone in the organization is pulling in the same direction. This requires clarity, commitment, and focus.

Management philosophy is stuck in the past
Every manager knows the value of teamwork. The problem is the organizational structure in most nonprofits prevents it. Most organizations are hierarchical. This structure is derived from the industrial age when mass production transformed the workplace. It has been the foundation of organizational structure for the last 100 years. Each individual is given a small piece of the work to be completed. The worker only sees his/her part with the emphasis placed on speed of production. Assembly line concepts are so ingrained in our society that they find their way into management theory as well. We assign roles, divide the work and get started. The problem is that with the quickly changing landscape of today’s challenges the assembly line concept is not agile enough to adapt to those changes.