A great team is better than a team of greats, an oft quoted maxim, I suspect coming originally from Vince Lombardi, the legendary Green Bay packers coach and cliché source. We pretty much accept this, but what happens when there is an exceptional person, is his performance enhanced by putting him/her in a team with mediocre but competent people? Is the team performance enhanced, or is it averaged out?

I can see Gary Kasparov alone beating a team of pretty good chess players easily,  and putting Kasparov into a team of chess players, subjecting his brilliance to the consensus processes of a team being terminal to him making a brilliant contribution, averaging performance.  By contrast, Benji Marshall makes the Wests team, without him, they are pretty average.

I think it just comes down to the activity, some things are best done by an individual, and only an individual can be brilliant, I don’t recall Hemmingway collaborating on any of his books.

So next time you are putting a team together to tackle a complex task, ask yourself if it would be better to assign a gifted individual, rather than a team, and if there is to be a team, ensure the roles are very clear to avoid the brilliant  individual having his contribution averaged.