We just wrapped up our fall sales meeting. Over three days, our sales team members, executive team and a few others, including myself, gathered at our Motivation Excellence headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois. We do the same thing in the spring. It’s a wonderful time for collaboration on certain projects, like revamping our proposals and talking through marketing strategies. We have a limited time together, which spurs a consistent workflow. After it’s done though, we each go our own way and focus on our individual task lists again.
For most businesses, having a balance of teamwork and solo work is the norm. On any given day we have teams working on client proposals, special projects, and developing campaigns to solve our clients’ needs. But each person on the team usually has work they have to do on their own to contribute to the overall plan. For instance, if we are building a performance improvement website, I write the copy, our graphic arts director designs the look, the performance manager decides what metrics are best to measure based on the client’s needs, and our IT team does all the code magic to create an easy user experience. We meet as a team at the outset, plan our vision and then disperse to complete our individual parts. It’s a great way to take advantage of the benefits of both collaborative and individual work time.
Alone but Not Lonely
We definitely have people who prefer to work alone, and others who thrive on working alongside colleagues. There are times when both are important. Let’s look at times when flying solo is better. According to a FastCompany.com article, working alone is especially vital for initial creative thinking, building a sticky relationship with a customer and writing (reports, articles, etc.). Indeed.com says being a lone wolf is also great for focus and efficiency. Responsibility rests on only one set of shoulders though.
Meet the Team
Teamwork is touted for many benefits, including building connections with colleagues, brainstorming, creating inclusivity and sharing skills. In an assembly line scenario, having several people working together definitely beats one person working alone. Productivity and profits can rise with the right teamwork in play. Teams also tend to be motivating with everyone working toward one goal and one deadline. Teammates can offer support and share in the responsibility of the task too, allowing accountability to spread across many shoulders.
One or Some?
How do you decide which way to go? Ask yourself these questions:
- Is a diversity of opinions important to the outcome?
- Do I have the skills needed to finish the project alone?
- Do I want to share the success/failure?
- Do I have a blind spot that I might not be aware of?
- Will a team be more or less efficient/profitable for this task?
As you answer each question, you’ll be forced to decide if bringing a team together or standing on your own makes the most sense. In the end, even if you’ve done all the work yourself, asking others to proofread, give feedback or build on what you started creates some teamwork vibes.
No matter how you prefer to work, you’ll likely be asked to be part of a team some of the time. It’s important to show appreciation for others’ efforts and be a positive contributor to group discussions. Nothing halts creativity and ingenuity like the person who insists on dissing everyone’s input! And remember, when you’re part of a successful team, the celebration is much more fun than a party of one. 😊