What is a Team?
A team is a collection of individuals directing their energies towards a defined goal, which is achieved through their joint, complementary efforts. The combined efforts of the team members can achieve what single individuals cannot.
If the team is working well, there is energy and enthusiasm. People are there because of what they can contribute, not because some organisation chart says so. If the team wins, each individual wins. If the team loses, each member shares the loss. They are bound together by their interdependence and driven by a shared sense of purpose.
But teams don’t ‘jell’ overnight. A group of people doesn’t become a high performance team just because they are brought together for some reason and told to get on with it. They struggle through various stages of growth, and if they emerge triumphant at the end, it will be because they have worked at it.
Goals, Priorities, and Strategies.
- Successful teamwork starts with the question: ‘What are we trying to achieve?’ Unless members of the team are agreed on this fundamental point they will be pulling in different directions and wasting their energies.
- The question is not always easily answered. Within the team, there may be conflicting visions, priorities and personal goals to be reconciled. Beyond the team, there are pressures and opportunities that need to be considered. Teams need time to explore the issues.
- The question cannot be answered once and for all. It will need to be reconsidered regularly as circumstances change.
- The process of establishing goals may be a painful one, as past experiences, assumptions and ways of working have to be challenged and perhaps replaced by more appropriate attitudes and methods.
- The team must be flexible in its working methods, and be prepared to review its strategies in response to new situations.