This is what I think the groups are formed for:
Groups - Individuals who work together for a common goal
Corporations, when recruiting an employee, are preoccupied with qualifications, experiences, and achievements of individuals. They spend resources in selection, development, training, motivation, and promotion of individuals. Yet do not understand the fact that an ideal employee for a given job can never exist.
Since an ideal employee cannot be found, a team of individuals are certainly required to do a particular job. Further more a whole team is unlikely to step under the bus simultaneously. This is why it is not the individual but the team that is the instrument of sustained and enduring success.
What does it take to make a team?
Individuals, who are not equal in talent, experience or education, but equal in commitment, make a team.
Teams are more flexible than large organisation groups because they can be more quickly assembled, deployed, refocused, and disbanded.
Groups which have no clear performance objectives are often less productive than teams.
What is a Work Team?
"A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." - from Katzenbach and Smith: The Wisdom of Teams.
To further explain the above definition:
Small Number - The 'small number' is anywhere from 2 to 25 members. Size of the team depends on the following parameters:
Specific performance goals
Complementary skills and
These five aspects are absolute necessities for a team. A larger number of people can theoretically become a team, but such teams are more likely to break into sub-teams rather than function as a single team.
# Complementary Skills - The real benefit of synergy is realised when a group is diverse, and has various ideas and multiple skills.
Common Purpose - This is the driving force for teams. The team starts with the organisation's mission statement, develops it's own purpose. This purpose must be meaningful and must have ownership by everyone, both as an individual and a group. A team will constantly revisit the purpose by refining and making it more relevant as the team develops. This is the process of being 'Self Directed.'
# Performance Goals - The team needs to have a common goal or a set of goals. These goals must be achievable, sensible, and should be shared by the team. A group that talks like a team and looks like a team may not be a team. Teams, are a means to achieve an end – which is performance and not an end in themselves. The team is an acting, moving, and energising force. Specific performance goals are established, tracked, met and evaluated in an ongoing process. This progression of successful outcomes establishes trust and credibility among team members, and fuels the team to handle larger challenges. The focus is on performance and not on teamwork.
# Common Approach - Team members must agree on how they will work together. Many teams have developed their own charter or a set of rules that outline the expected behaviour of members. Members often assume roles of a Questioner, Historian, Timekeeper and Facilitator, to keep the team’s process moving. All the players in the team must have a part to play. Individual performance must be measured and rewarded. At team meetings, however, the emphasis should be on collective accomplishments and failures,and reviewing the teams procedures and processes.
# Mutually Accountable - This aspect of teamwork is usually the last to develop. It is also the most difficult to quantify.
People who readily agree to teams being more productive than groups, however, are reluctant to rely on teams. This resistance may arise due to many reasons but it is powerful as it is grounded deeply in the views of individualism. Real teams always find ways for each individual to contribute and thereby gain distinction.
Thus we can say that teams - real teams and not groups that management calls "teams"-should be the basic unit of performance for most organisations. A team whose members are aligned with its purpose, feel a challenge in their task, have a strong sense of camaraderie, feel responsible for the outcome, and experience growth as a team, will tend to sustain motivation in the long run.
12th October 2006 From India, Delhi