Friday, January 23, 2009

The Strengths of Operating as a Team

Wikipedia defines a team as a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize his or her strengths and minimize his or her weaknesses. These can be independent or interdependent, self managed, project related, sports, or even virtual in today’s electronic age.

In business, teams have various roles to accomplish that include:
  • Problem solving
  • Looking for improvements
  • Providing leadership
  • Giving focus to specific issues or functions
  • Leading in change management

Effective teams are ones that are carefully organized, have clear rules of conduct, utilize practices for having effective meetings, and properly utilize team operating processes such as problem solving, situation assessment, and decision making. Teams also need to avoid the various dysfunctions that build on each other which include:

  • Absence of trust
  • Fear of conflict
  • Lack of commitment
  • Avoidance of accountability
  • Inattention to results

Although teams have some pitfalls as part of their nature, such as taking longer to make decisions, the benefits of an effective team outweigh the risks:

  • Teams provide a broader look at solutions
  • Teams will tend to balance out the risks
  • Teams usually provide better collective judgment
  • Group participation leads to better understanding of the problem and decision
  • Involved people will better accept the change required and lead others to the new way

Are you Best-in-Class?