My four children and their two cousins are building a tree house. This is a picture of its foundation. Ethan has led this challenging task along with Trevor my godson. They have a plan in their minds about how it will turn out in the end. I am not sure that the grandeur of their dream will be realized. However, I do know that this tree house will be built, played in and filled with laughter.
They took the sturdiest boards and drove them into the ground below. They used other lumber to piece together the framework. Now they are working on the floorboards. All the children are working together. The younger ones get the tools and bring them what they need. The older ones are hammering, sawing and measuring. They are a team with a vision.
We live in a culture that supports the idea of teamwork in some places. We believe that teamwork is a good idea. However, in our workplaces as individuals we don’t always trust the team. We still want to do it by ourselves. That way we know it is done correctly (or our way). What we often forget is that without the team the job takes 5 times as long to complete and the only ideas heard are our own. Team work is great for generating new and innovative ideas, for making the stress a little less and the workplace a little friendlier.
What we need to do in our workplaces is to first build the foundation. Ask for small tasks to be brainstormed together as a team. Give the team members the opportunity to understand the other’s work style and give them time to bond and gel as a team. Then the framework can be strengthened and the floor boards and projects can be nailed down together. Throwing people together without a foundation is like trying to build a tree house with no strong beams. Consider your place in the team and contribute your talents and ideas. Together you may not reach the grandeur of your employers dream but you may just build a strong and creative team that wants to work for the common goal.