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Teams are people, not resources

Frank Blecha
Frank Blecha
1 min read
Teams are people, not resources
Photo by Saksham Gangwar / Unsplash

Table of Contents

I work with people.

It’s not uncommon to run across folks that still use the language of “resources” when talking about people or teams. I think this language emphasizes the wrong philosophy. Resources is a “nice” term when you don’t have to care about feelings, people, life, problems, or other things inherent in working with people. Optimistically this is just an engrained speech pattern in people that have been working for a long time, but I think it can change (like most habits) if a focused effort is put into it.

You don’t have to care about the following:

  • their mom has a broken leg and needs help for a couple of weeks, and they don’t have enough PTO
  • their partner having a medical issue post-delivery and having to look after a new baby and their spouse
  • their child being hospitalized for three weeks and not having a medical solution
  • child care when they’re a single parent, and their kid is sick
  • their 13-year-old dog suddenly having a cancer diagnosis and being told they don’t have more than a day or two

Those things have happened to people I have worked with over the years.

Those things happen to people, not resources. At the heart of it, nearly everyone I’ve worked with has been a decent human being, deserves to be trusted, and offers something unique to the team.

None of those situations describe resources.

I think it’s as much a habitual pattern that reflects on culture more than anyone choosing to dehumanize people. Human Resources lays people off; Human Resources discusses policies that can get you fired. People Operations focuses on effective teams, how you recruit and retain, and how people work together.

It's a choice - I choose to work with people.