Roberta Chinsky Matuson
Creating Exceptional Workplaces and Extraordinary Results
Roberta Matuson's Blog

The Real Truth About Teams

I’m from New England, where I guess you could say we know a lot about teams here. Our New England Patriot’s just brought home their sixth Super Bowl championship and our beloved Red Sox are the number one team in the nation.

If you truly have a team, then the team wins and loses together. This lesson is one that many companies still haven’t learned. Here’s an example that highlights what I mean.

Aramark, recently made the decision not to pay bonuses to thousands of low-level managers, whose jobs resided in “bands five-eight in the U.S.” These are the “team members” who are ultimately responsible for executing on the company’s strategy. Those in upper management (bands one-four) received bonuses.

The company did not respond to questions from the Philadelphia Inquirer about why it did not pay bonuses to managers in tiers five to eight who earned them instead of canceling bonuses across the board.

No doubt, Aramark will be investing millions of dollars over the next few years, in their quest to build teamwork across the organization. If asked, I’d tell them to take this money and use it to compensate everyone on the team for a solid season. And while you’re at it, fire the guy who made the decision to treat some team members better than others.

As you consider team building programs inside your organization, ask yourself the following:

Do you have a teams or committees?

Remember, if it’s a team then everyone wins or loses together. If that’s not the case, then you probably have a committee. Committees can function well or badly, but most committees in organizational life are actually competing to some degree, and co-operating to some extent. Rarely do they win and lose together, regardless of how many off-site team building sessions you engage in.


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