Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Monday, October 03, 2005

Individuality Rules!

by AJ

That's an image copied from a great Creating Passionate Users post.

And here's a quote from the same post:

And we can all have our own interpretation of the word "team"--at what point does a reasonably small, synergistic group building and adding to one another's strengths turn into an idea-crushing, groupthink team? That depends... very few good novels are written by more than one person. Perhaps for novels, two is the maximum, and even that's pretty rare. And we all recognize that indie films today tend to be of much higher storytelling quality than the watered-down major studio films where there's often a huge gap between "the director's cut" and the final release edit.

I agree. Teamwork is tricky. And the trick is creating a team that draws on the creativity and intelligence of the members... without demanding that everyone think and do the same. Good teams are full of crazy... and sometimes disagreeable.. individuals. Bad teams are full of people who are all the same.. in which everyone agrees on everything.. and everyone is forced to do the same thing.

And some pursuits, such as writing, simply work best when done individually. I think teaching is one of those.... I would never want to teach with another teacher in the classroom. And I HATE to have ideas imposed on me from "the department" team, or the "university" team. Those are bad teams.

However, there are other ways to do this... to take advantage of the good aspects of teamwork in teaching. My "team", for example, includes my best friend Kristin, and a handful of teacher-bloggers scattered around the world. I draw on their intelligence. They sometimes draw on mine. We comment on each other's ideas and make suggestions. But nobody imposes anything (indeed, no one could even if they wanted to). Our "team" is a connected network with absolutely no authority or control. It is, essentially, a big brain we can all plug into whenever we like. And just as importantly, we can unplug from it whenever we like.

My department at "work" is the opposite. They impose rules, syllabi, exams, and other bullshit... and there is little to no exchange of ideas. Its completely based on authority and control (though luckily the control is quite loose). If I joined that team... shared my ideas with it.. I would not benefit. Rather, I would be crushed. My enthusiasm would be drained. My creativity would be killed. I would be forced to "morph" into the groupthink... in other words, forced to teach like everyone else.

Mediocrity would be the result. Boredom would be the result.

It is paramount to avoid those sorts of teams....

The best teams are those that are self-created &/or self-chosen... and which have no authority control mechanisms.

Big bureaucracies-- No! Big brains-- Yes!