“Coming together is the beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.”
– Henry Ford
We commonly mistaken groups for teams. Not all groups are teams. We can look at it as “Team” is a subset of “Group”. In today’s fast pacing global market, organizations are moving more towards “teaming” than having “teams”.
Teaming is nothing but flexible teamwork of experts from far-flung divisions and disciplines into temporary groups in order to tackle unexpected problems and identify emerging opportunities. To “team” well, team leaders and organizations need to identify what environmental conditions help to produce successful team collaboration, anticipate challenges and potential of team members and prepare for pitfalls, all the while working towards the shared vision.
It is essential for organizations to understand that people innately want to work and like a mix of stability and challenge and respond well to a management that foster these. Therefore, there arises a need to build core competencies and foster the ability to cross cut and cover for others (where you back up your teammates while covering your position). It becomes important to tolerate constraints and eccentrics because these may be the most creative people in a team and help shift from constructive criticism to caring criticism (as explained by William J. Diehm in his book Caring Criticism: Building Bridges Instead of Walls). This may lead to practicing strong appreciation for one another and feeling non-threatened by team members.
How a team is managed depends on the given task. In some case you may get the feel of leading a Football team in others a Cricket team and yet another Cossacks. An important part of team work is managing meetings. Personal experience says productivity expected in or after a meeting is indirectly proportionate to the time spent in a meeting. (I am sure a few of you if not all are nodding at this point). The myth that meetings are necessary for people to communicate or make decisions is busted today. “Conversation” is the key to stretching one’s mind to result in productivity. That is not to say we can do away with meetings completely. The focus should be on increasing productivity and not pluming it down.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Office ClipArt.