Entrepreneurship a.k.a. Team Work


“Individuals Don’t Make Great Companies, Teams Do”

Mark Suster General Partner, GRP Partners


                        All of us have heard the story of a farmer and his five sons who always used to fight among themselves over silly issues and never achieved any given task at its best. Then, one fine day they were told about the concept of team work by their father, who gave a stick to each of them and asked them to break it. Within a fraction of a second they accomplished the given task. Next, they were given a bundle of sticks to break. Each one of them tried their best, both logically and physically, but none of them could do it. When they gave up, their wise father told them a lesson, which fits perfectly in the budding entrepreneurship era. He said, “If you work as an individual for your own identity to achieve something great, you might achieve it, but for sure you will be vulnerable to various physical and mental forces around you and as a result you will break-down morally, BUT if you work as a team, in collaboration to achieve the same goal, not only you will taste success but also no power in this world can deny your strength.” The lesson often comes to us as “United we stand and divided we fall.”


In today’s world where three out of ten people want to be an entrepreneur, it is very essential to learn the concept, designing and working of a team. Due to lack of jobs, employability and many other factors, entrepreneurship has emerged as a new trend. From a small scale business such as, a woman selling sarees or a man running photography shop to a large scale industry which aids production or service, all are entrepreneurs. And it is essential for an entrepreneur to know the alphabets of team formation. As said by Mark Suster General Partner, GRP Partners, “Individuals don’t make great companies, teams do” which possibly means that a company is a collaboration of many identities OR the reputation of company is directly proportional to the efficiency of team work. But either way the whole story revolves around teamwork. Also, a national representative survey conducted a decade ago, in 2003 by University of Connecticut and Level Playing Field Institute known as, “How Opportunities in Workplaces and Fairness Affect Intergroup Relationships (HOW-FAIR)”, revealed that Americans consider ‘being a team player’ as the most important factor in getting ahead in the workplace, among several other factors such as leadership skills, merit and performance, long hours, making money for the organizations, etc.


All through our school and graduation level, we learn team work, but never realise it. Be it about the submission of a specific assignment, revolting against a corrupt policy, collecting donation for a cause, organising an event or be it about mass bunking. Knowingly or unknowingly we clear the first stage of team building i.e., Formation. A group undergoes the following Tuckman’s Stages of group development:


  • Forming: The first lesson of entrepreneurship, where people from different cultures, backgrounds, ethics, mind set are brought together to accomplish the given task. They tend to behave quite independently, but then they meet and learn about the opportunities and challenges, and then agree on goals.


  • Storming: This is the most critical phase where ideas are thrown in for consideration. Various issues and problems are addressed in this area and glitches because of various mentalities are formed. Here, team members learn to open to each other. If the members are efficient the stage is crossed in no time, but sometimes team never leaves this stage, which indirectly affects the performance. The phase is necessary for the growth of the team. But at the same time it is destructive, as it is contentious, unpleasant and even painful for members of the team who are indisposed to conflict. One has to deal carefully with this chapter.


  • Norming: A more matured stage where a team comes to a conclusion with one and only goal along with the mutual plan. A few give up their plans and ideas for the productive ends and rarely an ego clash is seen. Also, this episode brings in the concept of group thinking, but it is nullified in front ambition to work for the success of the team’s goal.


  • Performing: The real litmus test begins here when the members function as a unit and they learn to, take up the responsibility, turn criticism into positive, motivating factors, and no further external supervision is required as the team becomes capable of taking decisions. But many a times, a slight storm is seen in case of any changes such as a change in leadership.


  • Adjourning: It involves the process of “dissolution” of the group, dismiss of the group structure and moving on to a new project. Many a times a few members are taken from the existing team and are absorbed into a new one, which results in stressful situations.


An individual, working over an idea will definitely be away from such stages, but he or she will end up in frustration as doing any project involves only that individual’s mind and efforts which can easily go futile in early or later stages of entrepreneurship.


                       Homo Sapiens Sapiens alias modern man has evolved and come a long way. He has learnt from watching and observing animals and implemented the same in his life and work culture. A lion, the king of the jungle, never attacks a herd or pack of animals, because often the pack is guarded by some other group of animals. Similarly in the corporate an authority will think number of times before pointing out a mistake in a team work, as he is aware of the confidence and hard work people has put in. It is easy to point a person, but hard to point a team. Moreover, the organizations are becoming highly dynamic and unstable, which has led to greater reliance on more skilled, and reliable team work which without any qualm demands advance listening, questioning, persuading, respecting, helping, sharing, participating and communication, then possessed by an individual alone. All these factors contribute towards the end goal i.e., a proficient and a proactive company profile i.e. a great company. It is always the work of a team as an entity rather than an entity alone behind the exponential growth curve of a business.


Many people fail to understand the importance of teamwork or get entangled in the process of team formation and hence lose the concept and end in jeopardy in the initial stages. Hence, one can conclude that the shadow of a great company is cast by a coördinator, shaper, resource investigator, implementer, completer, specialist and finisher which all are a part of the TEAM. Various case studies and experiments have proven the strength and power behind teams and today corporate use this magic wand to increase their production and shares. Hence, every single entrepreneur out there in competitive world should be aware that teamwork is now one of the basic needs apart from roti, kapda aur makan (food, clothing and shelter).


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