A Fraternity of Team Players

A Fraternity of Team Players It’s easy to get caught up in what others think. (I fall into that trap myself.) And it’s often unclear when it happens. But what is clear: it’s not good for anyone.

It’s hard to be authentic, especially with the Fraternity of Team Players running the show, because, as you know, to become a member their bylaws demand you take their secret oath:

I [state your name] do solemnly swear to agree with everyone, even if I think differently. And in the name of groupthink, I will bury my original ideas so we can all get along. And when stupid decisions are made, I will do my best to overlook fundamentals and go along for the ride. And if I cannot hold my tongue, I pledge to l leave the meeting lest I utter something that makes sense. And above all, in order to preserve our founding fathers’ externally-validated sense of self, I will feign ignorance and salute consensus.

It’s not okay that the fraternity requires you check your self at the door. We need to redefine what it means to be a team player. We need to rewrite the bylaws.

I want to propose a new oath:

I [state your name] do solemnly swear to think for myself at all costs. And I swear to respect the thoughts and feelings of others, and learn through disagreement. I pledge to explain myself clearly, and back up my thoughts with data. I pledge to stand up to the loudest voice and quiet it with rational, thoughtful discussion. I vow to bring my whole self to all that I do, and to give my unique perspective so we can better see things as they are. And above all, I vow to be true to myself.

Before you’re true to your company, be true to yourself. It’s best for you, and them.

Separation of church and state, yes; separation of team player and self, no.

image credit: usa.com

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Mike ShipulskiDr. Mike Shipulski brings together the best of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, Axiomatic Design, TRIZ, and lean to develop innovative products and technologies. His blog can be found at Shipulski On Design.

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