Leadership

Flying Solo or Teamwork? 3 Reasons Why Teamwork Is Important At The Work Place

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up?” 

(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, KJV)

Do you prefer flying solo to working as a team? Well, sometimes that depends on the nature of the work involved. In some workplaces, certain tasks involve co-operating with co-workers to get a certain tasks done. That sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not always easy especially when team interaction becomes extremely hard for some employees. But i know there has got to be something that can be to make team work less uncomfortable.

Understanding the importance of teamwork is essential to effectively work together. Drawing from my personal experience, i know that a non-cooperative workplace can be a huge barrier to achieving set goals which in turn may lead lack of motivation for the employees to failure in any organization. This brings us to taking a look at the importance of teamwork in the work environment. I put down three reasons why teamwork can never be overemphasized and why it is important at the workplace-

  1. Offers diversity of thoughts

 A work environment highly organized where teamwork is in place is likely to favor differing approaches and suggestions to a task, which will more often expedite evaluation of the best solution in achieving a particular objective, saving time and maximizing resources. Often times i see employees taking up the challenge to come up with brilliant ideas for solving problems, facilitating healthy competition and increasing productivity. In other cases, i also witnessed the advantages that come with teamwork in the work place where shared activity reduces the pressure on a particular co-worker, allowing for a more effective way to carry out tasks while increasing maximum concentration in the process.

 

  1. Fosters unity

 I am a true believer of teamwork because i know from experience that it fosters unity and cooperation in the work environment. Whenever employees are in constant touch and communication with each other, chances are that they’re always aware of how their actions and decisions can reflect in the success of the organization. Furthermore, studies show that the unity, brought about by team work, also propels employees to work harder, beating their standards and setting new ones, while being supportive of each other. Thus employees share the same core values and work ethics as they are all bent on achieving a common goal.

 

  1. Teamwork breeds morale.

An observation i’ve made so far is that, where there is a good and healthy teamwork spirit, most employees are motivated to do better or improve, knowing that their input is highly valued. However, a ‘team’ and ‘teamwork’ should not be confused at all. It’s easy to build team. But it’s more important to create a team that works together in unity, achieves together and knows that they either win or lose together. Nothing inspires and challenges employees to put in their best than this. Thus teamwork can only be an advantage and should be harnessed optimally for any chance of success in the work environment.

See? Teamwork is one of the greatest motivators i know of!

Further reading:

The New Science of Building Great Teams ( Harvard Business Review)

Successful teamwork: A case study

 

Why Creativity in Business Matters

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”

– Albert Einstein

 

Building a modern business requires grit and a great deal of creativity. Marketing a new product, or creating items or services consumers want, beckons the entrepreneur to expand and abandon traditional business models. Giant companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Tesla etc, prove a creative and ever evolving business model conquers competition, drives sales, and increases consumer loyalty.

So what’s the big deal about Creativity in Business and Why does It Matter?

The simple answer – Your Success in business counts on creative thinking

Fact is, we are living in times where companies are facing major disruptions in their markets and managers are forced to respond strategically in order to remain competitive.  According to a study conducted by IBM CEOs  “believe that — more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”

Another study conducted by Forrester Consulting and Adobe also found direct correlation between a entrepreneur’s ability to create new ways to engage the market, and the success of their companies. Over half of the companies surveyed in the study showed revenue growth due to enhanced creative practices—such as hiring interesting and unorthodox employees who foster innovation, increase brand recognition, and inspire methods of production and delivery never tried before.

“Creativity is thinking up new things. Innovation is doing new things.”

— Theodore Levitt

Good Leadership Fosters Creativity –

When it comes to problem solving, creativity and leadership can have a huge effect on the  performance of a company in various. Modern company leaders who allow freedom and creativity within their workforce see incredible dividends down the road. The most successful example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, created Amazon in 1994 with the mantra and philosophy: “Its easier to invent the future than to predict it.” That one line says it all. Creativity in the modern era makes or breaks companies. Small business owner’s ability to diversify ideas, products, and marketing techniques determines their success rate and bottom line. But, as Amazon proves, even well established companies use evolutionary creative business models to continue to maintain and increase their market placement.

Where do we go from here?

The simple lesson:  While ancient marketing, production, and branding methods still generate revenue,  business creativity flourishes success and helps avoid stagnation which leads to the dreaded going out of business.

Further reading on importance of creativity in business

How Senior Executives Find Time to Be Creative- (Harvard Business Review)

-Your Team Is Brainstorming All Wrong- (Harvard Business Review)

-Leading others to think innovatively together: Creative leadership (The Leadership Quarterly-ScienceDirect)

 

“Creativity takes courage. ”  ― Henri Matisse

How ‘evolving’ technology leads to fewer choices and creates mountains of waste

Sharad Sinha, Nanyang Technological University

Let me ask you a question. Are you periodically forced to buy a new laptop because the technology – hardware or software – in your current laptop is no longer supported even though it’s fully functional? The Conversation

The Microsoft Windows operating system is estimated to power about 90% of world’s personal computers today. Newer versions of Windows appear every couple of years or so. Once that happens, many applications, such as your favourite web browser, rush to support the new version. Over a few years, these applications move away from supporting older versions to the same extent as the new one.

Google Chrome is a case in point. When it’s running on Windows Vista (a much older Windows operating system) on my laptop, it no longer receives updates from Google — that support has been removed. Microsoft has itself stopped support for Windows Vista.

Another example: I have found it very difficult to find an external hard drive – the device you use to back up your data, photographs of family and friends and songs – that works with my fully functional eight-year-old Windows Vista-based laptop.

Almost all easily available external hard disks now support some of the more recent versions of Windows. So, how can consumers like me get the required hard disk? The answer is that they probably can’t.

Product lifespan

Companies design products with an expected lifespan, and they plan technical support and product warranty accordingly. A good rule of thumb to estimate a product’s lifetime is to look at its warranty period, as it can help you guess how often its manufacturer would be launching new products.

Apple provides a one-year limited warranty and launches a new iPhone almost every year. After the initial warranty period, you need to purchase an additional warranty for extended coverage.

The warranty period is clearly not the actual expected lifetime of a product. But it does mean that if you don’t care for your device, you will be paying extra money for additional coverage in the best case scenario, or buying a new and more expensive device in the worst.

After a few years, even your caring attitude will inevitably reach a point of diminishing returns because no matter how functional the hardware is, the software technology driving it evolves much faster.

Reduced choice

New products are seen as new choices but, unless you have the financial means, you actually have fewer choices.

Using your older device constrains you because of the limited support for its hardware and software. And what happens when your old device runs into issues, even if they are minor ones? Since there’s no more support available for the hardware or the software, your options are to upgrade, or look for people with the skills to repair it.

An upgrade can be expensive and the people with the necessary skills may simply not exist. Technical repair skills have sadly been on the decline.

This is not just the case in the consumer electronics industry, where the US Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a decline of 2% from 2014 to 2024 for electrical and electronics engineering technician jobs, but also in the automobile and other industries. This is a trend seen across in advanced economies.

Developing countries tend to have secondhand markets and thriving repair bazaars, such as Nehru Place and Gaffar Market in New Delhi, Harco Glodok in Jakarta and 25 de Marco in Sao Paolo. You may have access to these markets, but the quality of their services is seldom guaranteed – and not all services are legal.

Effect on purchasing power

It’s one thing to have purchasing power limited by financial means and another entirely to have it curtailed because of reduced choices.

While companies may claim that user expectations change market dynamics, it’s also true that many companies make tireless efforts through advertisements and promotions to influence user expectations. Some actually try to set user expectations.

The latter is typified in the idea that “customers don’t know what they want”, which is eschewed by many because of Steve Jobs. The goal of this idea is essentially to manoeuvre customers to satisfy a company’s goals.

When a large customer base moves towards a particular set of products, a company need not continue offering support for pre-existing products. Many people may not need the new product, but they sell in the name of technological ‘evolution’ even when this evolution is nothing more than feature enhancement.

Contribution to e-waste

In countries where a service provider also sells consumer devices on contract, reduced choices may not be apparent. Take for example, smart phones such as Apple’s iPhone, which are sold by mobile carriers. With the launch of every a new iPhone, customers may have the option to upgrade to the latest device at a cost. Many see this as an opportunity to get a new device every few years.

Some of the devices discarded as a result may find their way through vendor buyback programs, others may be recycled or refurbished versions in certain markets – but mostly without any warranty. Many others still, though, find their way to a landfill and thus contribute to electronic waste.

Even if we give consumers the choice to not contribute to e-waste or delay it as much as possible, will they be likely to exercise it? Probably not, given the rate of technological evolution. Devices discarded because of a lack of technical support (like my laptop) are likely to find their way to landfills.

A lot of the technological evolution in consumer electronics market today is not trying to solve a pressing need. Rather, it’s trying to fulfil desires, not all of which are innately human. And, in the process, it is reducing the choices we have.

Sharad Sinha, Research Scientist in Computer Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.