Good question. If you’re asking, you’ve come to the right place.
Teams are the Future of Work.
There, we said it. You can probably stop reading if you want. (We hope you don’t). Actually, that’s more like the base assumption necessary to understand everything else we write. Teams (with a capital ‘T’) are the future of work.
You might be thinking, “I work on a ‘team’, but I most certainly don’t feel like I’m part of the Future of Work.” And your thoughts are valid. But while you “work” on a “team” (lower case ‘t’) you hold an individual title, get evaluated as an individual by another individual (usually called a “manager”), get promoted and receive bonuses as an individual, yet probably feel that, as an individual, you have very little control of your day-to-day responsibilities.
Hell, we’d even venture that you feel you need to compete with members of your “team” for recognition, promotion, compensation, etc. etc. So, you clearly aren’t on a Team in the Future of Work sense. Teams work together to accomplish goals. If you secretly (or not secretly) recognize you are in competition with your “teammates,” we’re pretty sure you and your organization aren’t aware of the definition of a Team.
Think about it: Do players on sports teams have any incentive but to work together? Every sports team wants to win the championship. Championships aren’t zero-sum for members of that sports team. There is no runner-up award for the World Cup. All players work together for a common purpose. Yeah, sure, some players might not pass the ball, but do you know what we call those people? Bad Team players!
So, odds are you don’t actually work on a Team. You most likely have co-workers who you sometimes collaborate with (and sit next to in meetings). And we’re not saying those collaborations don’t bear fruit. We’re just saying Teams are the Future of Work, and you probably don’t work on a Team. If anything, you are bundled with a bunch of other people on an org-chart and your company refers to this as a team.
Now that we’ve started our journey with our base assumption, Teams are the Future of Work, we can further expand on the Future of Work with five phrases (we go in-depth into each in the next sections):
- Teams and roles instead of hierarchy and titles.
- Value given to value creators. (As opposed to people with titles, tenure, extroversion, or deft political skills).
- Work on what you and your team believe is valuable (and from where you want, when you want, if your job allows for it)
- Sense and Respond instead of trying (and failing) to predict the future
- Be yourself and Be Pragmatic.
And, just to avoid confusion, these are some things we don’t define as the Future of Work:
- Free lunch
- Jeans on Friday
- Pool table in the office
- Using Slack
- Commuting on an electric scooter (although we enjoy riding electric scooters)
- Dreams of an IPO
You might be thinking: So, are you all talking about Holocracy, Sociocracy, Technocracy, Teal etc. etc.?
Not necessarily. Philosophically, we don’t believe there is one “best” way to do something. Even with diet and exercise, research suggests, there is not one way to be healthy. Different genetics and microbiomes change the way individuals react to different foods and workouts. Similarly, there is not one right way to do the Future of Work.
However, there are broad ideas that are applicable to most people. Most humans benefit from some sort of exercise, just as most humans suffer from eating trans fats. Similarly, broad ideas exist to support Future of Work ideals such as “Teams are the future of work.”
Put another way: Just as cells and microbes make humans unique, cultures and industries make organizations unique. A one size fits all approach doesn’t make sense. That’s why we built the Sobol platform to provide extreme flexibility and customization. We fit to your way of working, not the other way around.
Note: We find many of the aforementioned Future of Work methodologies useful. We’ve also met many of the founders of the movements. They are thoughtful, well-to-do people who add tremendous value to the world. As stated, we just don’t believe in a “one approach to rule them all” for anything. We could never tell you a “right” way to do something. We can only tell you what’s worked for us (after much trial and error) and dependent on where we were in our company lifecycle. We believe randomness plays an out-sized role in a companies success or lack thereof. We believe in calling a fraud a fraud, and we’d be frauds if we thought we could tell you how to win at randomness.