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Chetan Pinto

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We don’t need to be friends in order to work together. Do you first of all, agree or disagree? Has it worked for you?

We don’t need to be friends in order to work together. Do you first of all, agree or disagree? What do you think? Has it worked for you? Do it take care of ‘ego issues’?

I think this is a great way of getting things done collaboratively by focussing on doing something bigger. The idea takes centerstage, not egos.

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    Jan 24 2013: It depends on your definition of 'friends' in this context. By my own experience I can say, that the overall 'efficiency' of a team and its work is highly related to the quality of the relationships of its members. A good and friendly 'spirit' is 'priceless', no given necessity and definitely within the responsibility of the leading management. In my opinion to little focus is set on this 'soft' factor and to many people still believe in a vague hope for this so called 'professionalism', which only 'works' to a certain yet insufficient level if you are aiming for 'the best possible'.

    I have seen many projects failing, many products delayed, worsened or finally canceled due to a lack in team or company 'spirit'. One of the worst influencing factors I came across are 'personal objectives', which are based on bonus payments related to the level of achievement of very narrow, local and short term target values. And because in most cases those 'personal objectives' are not synchronized throughout the whole company and across all departments, you will find internal 'battles' and 'self-blockades' all over tha place, because everyone is chasing only its own goals, instead of working all together.

    The 'chemistry' in between people within a company and towards customers is definitely underestimated and greatly neglected, yet one of the most powerful keys for extraordinary work and achievements. This does not call for a 'big happy family', as this was naive to do so, yet vital communication links and information streams within a company and towards the 'outside', as well as team-oriented work units, should definitely be based on this.
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      Jan 28 2013: Can we have a buddy system and also be professional?
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        Jan 28 2013: What is this general understanding of professionalism in this given context? A measure of ones ability to endure 'idiots', 'choleric-' or 'unsympathetic people' without finally reacting on them consequently? And is this something we expect from others in return, so that we do not need to watch our own behavior all the time? We may be humans after all, yet this is no 'Carte blanche' for lacking decency!

        I really have troubles to get to understand this 'blurry' term of 'professionalism' as an interpersonal skill.

        Personally I understand 'professionalism' as the way how 'technical' problems are getting solved, based on ones knowledge, experience and long list of previous failures, so that the chances of solving them 'appropriate' and quick become significantly higher over time.

        Yet what is this 'professionalism' to you for interpersonal relationships?

        Is this the stewardess, or steward who's facial expression just froze to a smile up in the clouds while dealing with loopy passengers? Or receptionists doing the same down on earth? Whenever I witness such bizarre situations I feel pity for this poor employees who probably have this absurd clause in their working contracts, that 'the customer is always right'. And because I am on no-ones payroll, I usually interfere in those situations to let those 'customers' know what I think of them and their behavior, just like I do in all of my 'interpersonal' encounters when people are starting to overdo something.

        Is this this sort of 'professionalism' you refer to, to be hindered in personal 'self defense' against others by contractual law, or, even worse, by those 'unwritten' laws? What is your understanding of it?

        A 'buddy system' is actually not what I meant in my first comment, as it can easily turn into nepotism, which poisons not only whole companies. By good 'chemistry' I meant a work climate based on mutual respect, which, if it forms, can lead to friendship, yet is no necessity for a team in its 'deeper' meaning.
  • Jan 24 2013: isn't this a measure of professionalism?
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    Jan 23 2013: Are you asking how well it works for people to work together who really don't like each other? Or are you asking whether a personal, friendly connection is a requirement for working effectively together.
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      Jan 28 2013: It's more on the lines of working together with a sense of higher purpose.
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    Feb 4 2013: That's really deep and interesting. You've pointed out the grey areas. Is there a non-cynical way of defining relationships that work? Can friendships based on similar interests work?
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    Jan 28 2013: Thanks
  • Jan 25 2013: We need to be in agreement as far as our duty, responsibilities and goals are concerned. We dont neccessarily need to be friends but a team of hardworking, talented and focus friends would perform miracles.
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      Jan 28 2013: The question is how to get the mix right?
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    Jan 24 2013: Tony Shwartz of The Energy Project blogged about this for Harvard Business Review today. He shared that his small organization (size may be important in this) can be highly productive because they waste no energy on internal politics.

    Many of us, I am certain, have worked places in which staff become so depleted by internal politics and conflicts that they move into what Shwartz calls survival mode.

    And many of us also know how productive and exhilerating it can be to feel like a team of people who respect and care about each other without being social buddies.
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      Jan 28 2013: Does it have to do something with a sense of higher purpose?
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    Jan 24 2013: What do you think about say a Winning / losing Cricket / Football team ?
    Are they all friends or foes or Egoist individuals?
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      Jan 28 2013: That's a good one. How do we get it to work? Is there a systematic way?
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        Jan 28 2013: Thats the job of the leadership, which is inspiring team to achieve goal of common interest and creating an environment so everyone contributes her/his best to achieve that common goal.