When I use this term, it is based on a simple theory that Teamwork Is an Individual Skill. In this book by Christopher Avery he describes a team as a group of individuals responding successfully to the opportunity presented by shared responsibility.
Paraphrased from the book:
Your ability to create high quality, productive relationships is fast becoming the most important factor in getting your work done. It once was management’s job to hand out individual jobs and then integrate them. Now, organizations are giving the work to teams in larger chinks and expecting teams to divide the work in an effective and efficient manner.
In Lean Engagement Teams the individual must come first and the reason there must be an I at the beginning of team, hence the iTeam.
Avery goes on to state:
- Every individual at work can be far more productive if they will take complete responsibility for the quality and productivity of each team or relationship of which they are part of. It means that..
- You may have individual accountabilities, but accomplishing these will almost always depend on successful relationships with others and their work.
- You can better attend to you own accountabilities when you assume responsibility for a larger, share task or deliverable.
- You success depends on teams. Teamwork is an individual – not –group – skill and should be treated as such.
- Individuals make a huge difference in teams, for better or worse. You can easily earn what kind of difference you make and how to build and rebuild a team.
The team concept in Lean thinking is very much individual driven. The individuals that form the team are the reason for the failures and the successes. Dr, Michael Balle and I discussed Individual Kaizen in this video:
As we start engaging our customers in the spirit of collaboration, co-producing and co-creation we must remember that are internal actions will mimic our external actions. The importance of the iTeam will become intensified and transparent in all of our external engagements. We must be willing to accept that as individuals and organizations as we move forward.
Are you willing to take that challenge?
A similar blog that was published after I had written this one: There IS an “I” in Team