A Cog in the Wheel or One of the Cogs in a Machine?


cog in the wheelBy: Comfort Otuene

In our various families, communities and organizations we cannot work alone; we need to work together with others to accomplish tasks efficiently and successfully. The importance of working together in teams is highlighted in this wise quote by Henry Ford:

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”

The importance of a team and teamwork cannot be over-emphasized; it is necessary in all walks of life.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines a team as: a number of persons associated together in work or activity. It went further to define teamwork as: work done by several associates with each doing a part, but all subordinating personal prominence to the efficiency of the whole.

Research shows that teams are more successful in comparison to individuals. As the extended form of the word TEAM shows:

T – Together
E – Everyone
A – Achieves
M – More

This concept of Together Everyone Achieves More conveys the importance of teamwork. Working together in teams instead of individually creates synergy, generates more productivity, and raises overall quality of output and goals attained. Teamwork distributes workload amongst team members, which makes work easier, faster and more efficient. Teamwork also builds mutual associations and cooperation, enhances communication, and encourages brainstorming, which generates novel ideas, increases inputs, provides learning opportunities, increases creativity, and promotes healthy competition amongst team members. Moreover, teamwork improves enthusiasm, motivation, and performance, which makes the work enjoyable and increases job satisfaction.

The importance of teams and teamwork is indisputable, however, creating a team is easy but creating teamwork is a challenge. If team members do not work together, then achieving set goals will be difficult. Teamwork is the glue which keeps members of a team together, and the bond which promotes and maximizes strength, reliability and support in achieving common goals. It is also the oil that makes the teamwork.

Just like each cog in a machine has to work together to make the machine function properly, so each team member is required to fit and work together to make the team work efficiently and effectively in achieving its set goals. Like a piece of puzzle, each team member should fit comfortably and productively. We are to maximize and compliment our strengths by contributing our expertise, knowledge and very best in achieving common goals. This enables smoother movement and prolonged momentum towards goal achievement, as everyone keeps pace together rather than drag others down.

The big question then is: are we top notch team performers? Are we contributing to the task being done, or being a hindrance or hurdle that must be overcome to complete the task efficiently and effectively? In essence are you a cog in the wheel or one of the cogs in a machine that has to fit and work with the other cogs to make the machine function?

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