These days in the world of “corporate speak,” there are truly some buzz words that are seriously more annoying than others. True, they have helped those who have became “empowered” by “leveraging” their position in the conference room with their new found verbiage to articulate the company’s “corporate values.” However, there is one word in particular that I would like to bring to a “hard stop.” And that word would be the word with no letter “i” in it. Of course that word could only be…“team.” “Team goals,” “team trust,” and of course “team building,” are just a few uses of the dreaded “t” word. Yes, it is indeed important to work well along side your co-workers and to share common goals within the “corporate structure,” however I don’t believe that every company with more than one employee needs to call themselves “team.” In order to “drill down” for the reasons for my rant here, you would have to first “pivot” the discussion to a recent e-mail I received from one of the banks I do business with. My bank “reached out” via e-mail regarding a safe deposit box that I never really used, or even thought about for that matter. I think years ago, at the time when I opened the account, the deposit box was free for new account holders. And since I own nothing of real value that needs to be kept in a deposit box, well, I agree with the bank in thinking, it’s probably time to close it down. So as I “circle back” to the reason why the e-mail bothered me, I think it’s safe to say that my bank, or any other bank for that matter, really doesn’t need to end their e-mail with the words…”Thank you, Safe Deposit Box Team.” Really, my bank has a safe deposit box team? I guess that in the business world these days it has become increasingly necessary for companies to present a; “Star Trek-Borg-like,” united, we all get together and roast weenies on the weekends together, kind of front, all in the name of showing unity…or something to that effect. And I’m also pretty sure “focus groups” and corporate consultants alike all feel that from an image standpoint, calling everyone who works in any one particular group a “team” is, well, good for morale and that oh so “warm and fuzzy” feeling you get when you no longer feel alone within the “corporate construct.” However, for me, I find the term to be just a little overused. A Safe Deposit Box “Team” at my bank? Fine, if you have to call them that, O.K., whatever. After all, it is a big chain bank with lots of safe deposit boxes that need to be managed to one degree or another I suppose. And I am sure that managing all those boxes properly is all a part of the company’s “best practice” policies. However, when I think of a “team,” my mind goes to the images of uniformed people playing sporting games for the glory of winning, and having fun. And if you play well enough to make it professionally, well then, one of those aforementioned safe deposit boxes would probably come in handy. But I digress.
You now find team members everywhere you look these days…car sales and
marketing team members, research and development team members, and (for better
or for worse) IRS team members. Heck,
even McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Wendy’s have ”team members” these days. And believe me; I am in no way disparaging anyone
working in fast food. Think about it, when you add up everyone employed in the
fast food industry, it s somewhere in the neighborhood of over 5 MILLION people
in the U.S. alone (yes, I looked it up)!
That is indeed quite the workforce, but a team? It’s all a little too much for my overloaded brain
to handle. I guess in the professional
world, one can say, “I don’t have the bandwidth”
to deal with it. Sure, I know that my little blog post here will probably do little
to “move the needle” on how people
feel about the overworked use of “team,” and too, I realize that I am also probably trying to “boil the ocean,” here in an effort to
get people to stop using it as much. So,
in the end, I am pretty sure that this whole tirade here is probably all for not, and
just a long waste of tangled words, but I had to try. And
no matter how hard I do try, I suppose I just need to resign myself in knowing
that everyone working today is just going to be known as being on a team in one form
or another. After all, as everyone is so fond of saying these days…”it is what it is.” Oh well.
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the groves with my “team”…um, scratch that, I mean, with my guys!