#33: When Teamwork Means Specializing in Nonsense

Some time ago Adam Smith explained why the division of labor leads to greater productivity. It enables people to specialize and thus become very good at what they do.

Today we take it for granted that specialization, created by the division of labor within teams, will result in productivity gains. But should we take this for granted?

Too often, at least for my liking, I encounter teams that allow people to specialize in nonsense, and to become very good at it too. There are two main reasons this happens:

  1. Team members forget why the team exists in the first place.
  2. And they prize team cohesion above speaking out against nonsense.

When why the team exists begins to matter less than that the team exists, you have a team which has become very good at . . . . But I’m sure you can figure that out for yourself.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.