boys at football practice
24 February 2020

Teamwork is Overrated

boys at football practice

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. It’s not that I believe teamwork isn’t necessary in business — it is — but the way many companies champion the idea of it misses the mark. Teamwork isn’t something you can force. It’s a natural byproduct of hiring great employees, of each person taking ownership of their roles and doing their best at their job.

If you’re hiring for aptitude and attitude — what I call “potential” — and putting these people in the right places, teamwork naturally follows.

In the 35 years of running my company, I’ve found over and over again that all your “A-players” need is the opportunity to own their job. Then they instinctively become team players to accomplish theirs’ and the company’s goals. You just have to get out of the way and let them have at it.

So before you start planning your company’s next retreat or signing up for trust falls, maybe take a step back and reassess what’s not working. Chances are you’ll find a lack of teamwork isn’t the actual problem — it may just be a case of having the right person in the wrong place…or just having the wrong person. It always comes down to the people you hire.


— Fred Ode