There’s no “I” in “TEAM”

Two men and a woman sitting around a table with papers in front of them
Working together as a team is an important part of Norwegian work culture. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward/HiOA All rights reserved.

Norway is one of the countries that place emphasis on team success rather than personal excellence. Norwegians have learned to work together and achieve goals as a team. It is important to understand that this mentality is present in all aspects of life and not only in the confines of a work-related environment, where there is always a certain goal to be achieved – be it a sales number, a deadline, a conference to be held etc. In many industries though, the capitalistic view is as common in Norway as in other countries, but the old joke remains of the  so-called Law of Jante (Norwegian: Janteloven), a set of rules created by Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in an attempt to describe the negative disposition of Nordic countries towards individualism.

The ten rules (or commandments) of the Law of Jante

  1. You are not to think you are anything special.
  2. You are not to think you are as good as we are.
  3. You are not to think you are smarter than we are.
  4. You are not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.
  5. You are not to think you know more than we do.
  6. You are not to think you are more important than we are.
  7. You are not to think you are good at anything.
  8. You are not to laugh at us.
  9. You are not to think anyone cares about you.
  10. You are not to think you can teach us anything.

Now, if you are not familiar with the North-European culture, these rules may sound inexplicably harsh. Keep in mind, though, that they are only a way to express just one simple concept: we live, work and evolve as a team.