I'm tired of "taking one for the team"

Sports vernacular has so taken over corporate culture that I would not be surprised to learn that the executive suite has been re-dubbed the sky box, and that CEOs will soon answer only to “coach.”

This team talk seems to be at least as much about increasing consumer confidence as it is about boosting a company’s esprit de corps, however spurious. “Clients expect you to deploy resources on their behalf and the way you signal that is to say ‘I’ll get my team on it,’ ” says Allen Adamson, the managing director of Landor, a global branding firm, when I ask him about the team tendency. He pleads guilty to making just such a get-my-team-on-it declaration every now and then. “What’s good about the word ‘team’ is that it’s very nonspecific,” he continues. “It could be two people, it could be 10 people, it could be 100.”

The implicit message to the consumer is clear: We’ve got you covered. Let’s just say one member of our team drops the call, the ball, or the I.V. No problem. There’s another team member right there ready to swoop in to pick it up. Or so consumers are supposed to believe.