It would be a fascinating survey: What percentage of employees on a given team experience…teamwork? (How would members of your team respond?)
Webster defines a team as: “A number of persons associated together in work or activity.” (Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/team.) Given this definition, organizations everywhere can celebrate successful teamwork. (“Hey, we’re associated on this project together. We’re a team!”)
However, why is it that some groups of people kick butt on their objectives – while other such associations struggle? For the sake of greater productivity (and sanity), here’s our evolution of Webster’s definition of team:
1) A team is not a work group assembled in the same room. A team has an identity that generates both a bond and a will – necessary to overcome the obstacles standing between the team and success.
2) The mere fact that we all report to the same boss does not mean we are a team. A team works for the same cause (not a person).
3) A collection of individuals representing functional responsibilities is not a team. We become a team when our priority is the success of the enterprise.
4) When the incentives to compete against each other are greater than the incentives to fight for each other, we are not a team.
5) When getting ourselves in the spotlight requires diminishing the contributions of others, we are not a team. We become a greater team when we celebrate the contributions of others.
The illusion of team creates faux partnerships and leaves organizations susceptible to the mildest ailments and afflictions of normal business. This week help your team get real. Ask them: How do we define “team”?
Are there additional points you’d add to the five above? Make sure you share them with us.
Great post. Very insightful and provocative. I think there is another point which is:
If there is no conflict among us, we are a team. A team has to have some room for productive conflict, otherwise things don’t move forward and we fail to break the paradigms that limit the project. It is unreal and naive that all people can agree on the same things, but when productive conflict is part of the team dynamic, the solutions that arise from the discussion are usually better.
But again, great post. I love number 2. =)