Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Guy Kawasaki is wrong about teams

This post now lives here.


  1. Great post! There is such a interdependency between results and relationships that I'm not sure you can fully separate them. I boil it down this way: if relationships aren't moving forward, there is no relationship growth. And by moving forward I mean collaboration and working on a common goal (in a purely personal relationship this might be pursuing a passion. At work it means succeeding at something together).

    Cheers -


  2. Some of the conflict here between you & guy might be regarding maturity/situation of a company/org. If a company is not yet viable, then execution to achieve viability is _the_ critical thing (I think Guy mostly pitches to start-ups & you mostly work with mature companies).

    Execution (to viability) might mean relationships e.g. sales to a client or partnership between tech & business.

    You'd want your team building exercise '99 to be in the service of clear goals & execution therein.

  3. Rachel - Thanks, I agree that separating them detracts more than it helps.

    Ted - Hmmm. You know my misgivings about working with subtle disagreements in the medium of text but I will say I've heard of plenty of start-ups whose execution failures were a downstream product of bad relationships.

    Love the "Business Time" reference btw.

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  5. Absolutely agree re teams working on their actual problems in self reflective way, rather than doing one-offs in the name of team building that provide no transferable benefits to work.

    Guy may also be confusing cause and effect - that is, he says successful companies have happy teams. But it could just as well be that the ability to work well together as teams and groups was the determining factor in a company's success.

  6. Well done! A.J. makes a great distinction between 2 kinds of relationship-building: one just feels good, the other produces results (and may or may not feel good!) In my experience, many teams fall into a comfort zone of collusive mediocrity. As change agents, our job is to disrupt complacency, to stir the pot and get the energy moving again.

    A great way to do this is to ask, "What result do you want to see that is not happening yet...and that you are willing to invest in making happen?" Then consider, "What conversation is missing which, if supplied competently, would make a huge difference?" This might be the essence of the team meeting that A.J. proposes.