What if they’re on your team next time (part 3)

While we’re on the topic of team projects, an important thing to keep in mind is this: good friends aren’t always good teammates.

Have you encountered this? I hope it didn’t cost you a friendship.

A few years back, early in the semester, four grad students came into my office. They were all taking my MBA marketing class that term and they made it loud and clear to me that they should be on the same project team. They already knew each other. They had harmonious class and work schedules. Everything would be so easy if they were all on the same team.

I was about to tell them “Not likely…” because I generally use a random number generator to handle my team-construction and social engineering. It usually works. But not always, as I’ve been writing about this week.

But before I could break their hearts, they thanked me and left.

Seconds later, I heard one of them in the hallway say “go on without me, I’ll catch up.”

She poked her head back in my office.

“Do you have a minute?” she asked.

Of course. Come on in.

“Please don’t put me on a team with them.”

I tilted my head. “Really?”

She rolled her eyes.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I’m here to get my MBA. I need new ideas. We all have the same backgrounds. I can be friends with them outside of class.”

I nodded. “I will keep that in mind.”

Actually, for all the reasons they wanted to be put together, I wouldn’t have put them together anyway.

Friends don’t always make good project teammates. The situation is so different, the stakes so different, than what you experience in your friendship.

That’s not to say it could never work.

But it is definitely to say that it might not.

And the cost could be high.

I’d love to hear your examples.

See you tomorrow.