As a business management consultant, I am often called in to help build or fix teams. All too often organizations learn of the power of teams, form them, and then not provide the guidance necessary for them to function well. Teams are very powerful in accomplishing organizational goals, but they are complex, sophisticated entities. They require that someone know and apply the technology of teaming. Does your team have these key ingredients?
First and foremost, teams require competent leadership. The leader helps the group establish a trusting environment, based on acceptance, fairness, and common values. The team process is defined and refined as members negotiate their working relationship.
Teams require that the organization provides adequate resources for their work endeavor. They need to have the tools, both of technological and interpersonal skills, to accomplish their tasks. Those tasks then are focused on producing clearly defined work outcomes.
To function in a consistent and productive manner, teams need structure: roles defined, team processes understood, and expectations for performance. Working as a team is not just about working well together, but about being accountable to the goals of the organization.
Teams need a diversity of ideas and members. When members contribute with a range of ideas there is greater opportunity for success. Those diverse ideas also come best from a diverse group of members; of age, race, gender, and experience.
Finally, teams need to coalesce, and bring their ideas toward common solutions. Members must be able to resolve their differences into a common strategy and produce the expected outcome.
Team technology is rocket science. Building a rocket is as much about teams working together as the materials and equations that make it fly. Learn teaming technology for your organization and your teams will make your company blast off.
Tom DeMaio, PhD