Sunday, August 06, 2006

Spelling “Team” With an “I”

The other day we were sitting around having a conversation about others' view of the Open Source Economic Development process. Some reported hearing that it seem like chaos theory. Someone reported of hearing about herding cats. From my perspective it is neither.

However, I do admit, from a certain perspective those comments are understandable. Previous economic practices demanded certain perspectives for understanding. I am sure that those living in the Bronze Age had behaviors which seemed strange to those still operating under the Iron Age thought process. We are now moving in the Second Curve economy which also may be called the Collaborative Innovation Economy. First Curve economic thinking has problems with some of the concepts. First Curve is about closed innovation: knowledge control; Second Curve is about open innovation: knowledge sharing. First Curve does not understand how a business can be successful if it is telling competitors and the world about its processes. First Curve views Second Curve behavior as chaos and Second Curve sees purposeful behavior with collaborative leadership.

So it goes with teamwork and the view of working as a team. When First Curve talks about working as a team, it is often about sublimating your own agenda for the team. There is a coach, a captain, and a manager, all who guide the team in its winning a game. Second Curve team (in first curve parlance) does not have a coach, a captain, or a manager. This team works with individuals who are aligned in a common goal which isn’t to beat someone else. The individual is very important for the strengths that it brings as well as the individual’s goals. Its goal is to provide a successful, sustainable end that meets the needs of all of the team as well as providing good for the community. The individual is in the team but not at the expense of others participating on the team. There is an alignment of all the “I”s on the team to forward moving behavior.

In First Curve there is also the thought that when there are two teams working to a seemingly common goal, the smaller team should merge with the larger team so as to strengthen the whole. What then happens is the larger team gains control and mass but loses nothing. The smaller team loses any individuality and differences that it may have had which quite possibly were its strengths.

I have often heard coaches tell their teams that “team” is not spelled with an “I”. In my Second Curve economy “team” is spelled with an “I” and is stronger, faster, and more sustainable for it.

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