The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are Carl Jung


Most groups of people who work together and call themselves ‘team’ are actually work groups, not teams in the true sense of the word. ‘Team’ explained as an acronym (tongue in cheek) means Together Each Achieves More (because the term team is so fully established in the organisation country, we also use TEAM here for a team in the correct sense of the word and ‘team’ for what is actually a workgroup). Which says so much that in collaboration everyone also achieves their own higher goals.

A working group consists of people, each with their own responsibility over which the others have no (responsible) influence; unless in commentary or by press. Each member pays his attention to his ‘direct reports’ and is accountable for the results in the presence of the other members (peers).

The attention is therefore directed downwards and ensures the manager of the smallest possible risk of errors there, which could end up on his / her plate. The relationship between the working group members is also often influenced by mutual competition or comparison. This means that as little information as possible is shared within the working group and that the exciting cards are kept to the chest.

With which, together, the conditions have been created for a reward-punishment system, a settlement culture, thus a fear-driven organisation. There is a great taboo on these qualifications; no organisation wants to be seen as a fearful place, no leader as an ogre. A lot is therefore being done to get rid of the edges and the visible places, in other words a lot is being done about sweeteners such as consultation, training, and thinking along with employees in problems. The underlying driving force to punish people for underperformance (to reward ergo for performance beyond expectations), however, remains a condition of existence for most organisations.

In organisational chart form, such an organisation looks like this: The top manager is the pivot for the team, in the direction of higher echelons and adjacent organisational columns. This also means being the entrance to the team of strategy and quality ratios. The viewing and thinking direction is mainly directed downwards / control, with sideways glances at the third parties who are conditional on their own quality (peers and higher levels).

The leadership provided is used by the team members to streamline and justify their own leadership in the direction of their own ‘direct reports’.

This was also the situation in the Sales Management Team (SMT) of company X. A group of friendly and apparently very involved people in their 40s and 50s, each with their own territory, with their own targets and with their own teams of salespeople and support staff. The mutual competition was described as stimulating and challenging, the ‘overflow’ of a customer from one to another was seen as ‘collateral damage’ and ‘all in the game’, the preceding customer approach actions by the ‘winning’ Sales Manager as ‘inappropriate-but-forgivable’.

While there was a lot of laughter and teasing in the team meetings, the openness to real emotions and feelings was very limited. The manager who had just lost a customer to one of his colleagues did not share his anger and frustration with his colleagues, but only with his own underlying team. The extra bonus earned by the ‘winning’ manager and his team at the end of the year was applauded in the SMT team, denounced in the (other) underlying teams.

The Interventions

The first interventions were aimed at getting acquainted within the SMT. However, getting more and deeper acquainted then before. The opening used for this was the correlation measurement of the Organic ScoreCard (OSC and OSC-c).

The OSC is a measuring instrument that maps awareness at an individual level and thus provides insight into the HOW, WHY and HOW different of behaviour. Based on the WHY look at HOW else. The OSC can also look at team awareness; the build-up of the behaviour that the members of the team display when they are together. In practice it appears that team consciousness can be seen as a separate and often unrecognised entity / energy, with a strong determining influence on the effectiveness and course of action of the team. The OSC-c of this SMT showed a ‘personality’ that was looking for itself (right to exist), was afraid of not being seen and was keen to win. In the team, that led to the behaviour from ‘everyone-for-themselves’ ‘but not too openly’.

Strengthening trust between people with a somewhat fearful suspicion of each other starts with getting the qualities, but also the questions and doubts of the individuals on the table, little by little. With the lure of the possibilities and progress of a TEAM and the careful building of a safe environment, the members of the team were gradually able to show more of themselves and dare to open up more. We looked at what the members thought themselves ‘good’ at and what they felt themselves ‘weak’ at, and then made the best possible match between the qualities of one person and the demand of the other. At the individual level, the OSC provided additional information about the most suitable combinations of team members. In the process of getting to know each other and supporting each other at the beginning, we gradually saw curiosity about the solutions that could lie in the team for the questions that each area manager encountered in his own area.

The next phase consisted in that each district manager was assigned a task that concerned either all district managers or all sales employees. With this, each member of the SMT was given partial responsibility for the whole of the sales organisation. Because these responsibilities were all next to the functional responsibilities, so that the functional hierarchical line was burdened as little as possible, the new tasks created more mutual cohesion and fun and with it more and more ‘casual’ interaction and collaboration. Not just between the SMT members, but throughout the sales organisation. As the number of contact moments increased at the various levels and between the various districts, there was gradually a greater need for flexible and minimally necessary meetings. Based on personal responsibility for work and time, more and more attention was paid to which meetings were still useful to be present in whole or in part. This critical look at one’s own time was not only appointed by the SMT members, but by all employees from the sales organisation.

Due to the increased knowledge and influence over the entire sales environment, more and more attention was paid to and thought about the strategy of the own sales organisation and the overall organisation. More and more people felt involved with all stakeholders and were busy forming an opinion about what was happening and what should be done. The effect of this was that it was sooner identified when something in the environment changed and that it was possible to react more quickly and even anticipate it. The SMT and the underlying organisation had grown from a fear-driven island structure to an integrated and interacting unit.