Work happens on teams – the groups that come together for a project, a purpose, or a client. Some of those teams are static and visible on an org chart, but many of them are dynamic and pulled together through different departments, and sometimes different companies.
The problem with HR is that our data structure has rendered us blind to teams. Instead, there are team leaders – sometimes without a manager title – who are pulling people together to get the work done, who are the real source of knowledge for what is working and what isn’t.
But if our org charts and data structure mean we can’t see where the work is actually happening, then almost everything we say about diversity, millennials, engagement, performance, learning, you name it – is all irrelevant. All of those things happen in the context of a small community of people who come together to get work done – a team – and you can’t learn anything about a team if you can’t see it.
HR can’t see these teams, which means we can’t see how the work happens. If we can’t see how the work happens, that means we can’t affect the work – and that’s a problem.