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Team is a 4-Letter Word

From Aararat's Employee Engagement Consulting Series

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By Dr. Kevin Orieux

In a previous offering of “Think About It…” I described how words can come to mean something different, and often the opposite, to what they may mean to others in the same region, from the same culture, speaking the same mother tongue.

While words can often become reinvented from “good” to “bad” by sociological influences such as music and pop stars like Michael Jackson, some words don’t change their meaning over time, rather in time they just become meaningless.

Words like “team”.

I’m not sure when the word team (or its close cousin “team player”) first became a buzzword in the business world, but of all the buzzwords that have come and gone over the years the word “team” is as much an immovable icon as Mount Rushmore. It has become impregnated into the psyche of the past two generations of young adults entering the workforce and even infiltrated the resumes of older Baby Boomers when they find themselves out job hunting after receiving their golden handshake. One of the culprits for this young adult mental conditioning is any high school curriculum which offers “Career Preparation” courses. In these courses, impressionable young adults are taught to include “team player” in their arsenal of personal descriptors, assured that the more awesome the arsenal, the more apt the applicant is to acquire an amazing job with accompanying six figure income immediately upon graduation.

Except business managers today (yours truly included) are likely to dismiss any resume that boasts how great a “team player” the applicant is simply because we’ve been on the receiving end of silence all too often when we ask an applicant:

“So tell me, what does being a ‘team player’ mean to you?”

Aararat Consulting is committed to equipping and fortifying our young adult population, not to simply get a job, but to set them out on a course of personal achievement and work satisfaction, to prepare them for the day when they will carry the burden that every generation must inherit: to one day rule the nations. In order to become those kind of leaders, our youth are going to need to learn how to participate with others, learn from others, and be inspired by others who have walked where they have not yet walked, and who have faced challenges that they have not yet faced. Learning from each other across generational, ethnic and political lines cannot be embraced with a hackneyed phrase like team, therefore young adults, and all adults, are going to need to consider “team” as a 4-letter word and replace it with a word that has much more meaning, and much more personal responsibility.

Synergy.

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