Teams – Hell is other people

I eventually start Coaching teams and entire organizational areas with one sentence: “Hell is other people.” This sentence comes from Jean Paul Sartre’s stage play ‘Huis clos’, no exit. Why this sentence? Because my observations have taught me that successes and failures of teams thrive on the same ground. People tend to defend their own actions and thereby polarize ‘the other people’s hell.’ That is, people look for weaknesses in others in order to protect their viewpoints and roles.  For business companies, this means stagnation, paralysis. For example: the head-office accuses the sales department, the sales department accuses the field staff and the field staff accuses ‘the ones up there who don’t even know how business works at all.’ My approach with teams and organizational units is to acknowledge this reality and then to move on in a way that allows people to work together cooperatively without fear of competition from within.