Is there a star that drives your team to success? Is there one cowboy that saves the company anytime that you face a problem, what about the perfect leader that can lead a group to victory? All of those are just a few examples that reflect the prevailing mental model that an individual will make a change. This mental model is heavily rooted in our mind and can be seen in almost any movie (fiction of reality). Many companies even make this mental model stronger by using performance measurement and compensation model to enforce this mental model.
Although we all jump into a car and drive anytime that we want to anywhere we desire (since we are independent), in reality as we are fulfilling the independent dream we become incredibly dependent on other individuals that share the roads with us. Every system imposes each element in the system to be dependent on other parts. Once we depended one on each other, the dependencies are a bi-direction loop between two entities, not one directional line.
Society, state, company and even our family are systems that impose dependencies that conflicted with our independent mental model. There isn’t any lone star who drive a team to success, there isn’t a lone cowboy that saves the day, and by definition, there can’t be a leader that drive alone a group to success. In all the cases above there might be one individual that initiate, communicate and motivate; but he is interacting with others to reach the goal. Eventually, it is a team effort. Once a given group of people learned how to communicate and operate as one, they will achieve a lot as the group will have capabilities that the individuals by themselves won’t have. Take one person from that group, and a negative impact will be part of the transition period back to one group.
Groups are essential for organizations to succeed and they become much more critical in today’s complex business world. The ability and need to create groups and group of groups is so essential as this is the only way to develop capabilities greater than individual skills to deal with the increased complexity companies need to master. Groups generate unique abilities that are a must to deal with a complex environment and business world.
Changing incentives, compensation model and structure to support groups and people understanding that they should work together and not as independent lonely riders, is crucial for any company success in the future. Invest this time and effort in groups and always verify that the group’s emergent capabilities are the outcome of this effort.