Are You Really A Team…Or Just A Workgroup

Alan Creedy Business/Finance Contributors Funeral Industry News June 24, 2014
Alan Creedy

In addition to the weekly Creedy Commentary, I frequently contribute to industry trade journals and speak at trade conventions. Among my affiliations outside the DeathCare industry are The Center For Creative Leadership, The Performance Institute and Human Synergistics. I believe in giving back and so was recently honored to serve as Chairman of the Funeral Service Foundation.

Are You Really A Team…Or Just A Workgroup

Article By: Alan Creedy,

Most people speak of those they work with as a team. But, in my experience, people rarely understand what a team really is.

In funeral service what typically represents a team is really a group of people who are very nice but work towards their own ends independently. If the firm has clear standards and systems then things tend to work smoothly. If not, then hidden beneath the surface is a collection of resentments, hurts and misunderstandings that simply fester. This is called “Artificial Harmony.”

Artificial Harmony is evident in most of the firms I have worked with over my career. In fact, the louder the claims of “we’re like family” and “we function as a team” the more confident I become that I will find that Artificial Harmony is really what is going on.

In reality most business teams, whether in funeral service or some other career area, are really work groups. Few function as true teams. Study after study reveals that true team work environments are more productive, create higher customer satisfaction and generate greater profits.

The difference between a team and a workgroup is simple. A golf team is a workgroup. A group of individuals working independently whose scores are toted up to determine where they stand. The metaphor for a team is a basketball team. Each member is INTERDEPENDENT on the others. No single person can win games as effectively or consistently. It’s not about whether or not they like each other (although I am sure many of them do). It is about a shared vision of reality, common goals and leveraging each others strengths and (most of all) have trust and confidence in your teammates.

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