We Vs. I

I recently got married and I’m adjusting to my new life as a married man.

One of the biggest things I have struggled with is changing statements from “I” to “we.” In conversations, I will catch myself saying, “I did something,” or “I bought something.” In reality it was we, my wife and I, who did those things. We had the discussions and we made the decisions together.

This “I” versus “we” situation in my marriage parallels what happens with projects. Sometimes, team members can forget that the project is built on “we” and instead are focused on the “I.” More time is spent focusing on who did what rather than how to work collectively to reach project goals.

This is very easy to do because we all want to stand out in our jobs and show how important we are as individuals. Unfortunately, this comes at a cost to the project because trying to make yourself look good usually ends up in trying to make your colleagues look bad. Statements like, “That’s not my job”, “I’m waiting for…” or “Who is responsible for that error?” lead toward dysfunction in the project team.

Projects are regularly made up of individual tasks to reach an overall goal. When the focus is on the individual tasks more than the overall goal, team members can forget that they are in fact a team working together.

Driving the mentality of “We are in this together” means helping when tasks are lagging rather than placing blame or re-assigning tasks that are more suited to a team member’s strengths. Over the course of time, it is shown that the person focused on the “we” rather than the “I” really stands out.

It’s an old adage, but it certainly rings true, there is no “I” in team.

Until next time…we are Advoco, make every minute count.

About James: James McDaniel is a Solutions Consultant at Advoco and graduate of Virginia Tech where he studied Industrial and Systems Engineering. When James isn’t helping Advoco customers solve complex EAM problems, you can find him watching a baseball game, most likely the Braves! Questions? Send James an email!


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