Most of us can recall a time when we’ve been a part of a ‘high-performing’ team or group. These are the times when everyone pulls together to achieve a particular goal or outcome. This occurs most frequently in times of crisis, emergency or extreme urgency.
During such times, it is almost unnecessary to clarify the goal or to talk about individual roles because these are self-evident ….. everyone just pitches in to do what needs to be done … people take initiative to find necessary resources. Of course, part of the motivation and intrigue associated with these occasions is that everyone knows that its duration is finite.
I am always surprised at the number of teams and groups (not in crisis) that give little to no deliberate thought to how they intend to function and operate. This can apply to in-tact work teams, project teams or task forces.
Some manager/leaders think “if we get the right people together they’ll work well as a team” ….. conversely, if a team is not working well it’s because they’re not the right people for this task. To some extent this may be true, but, generally neither is totally true.
The assumption that, left to their own devices, teams just learn to work together, or not, can lead to wasted time and money.
Teams and groups can be jump-started …. And this can happen at any time in their life as a team …. Of course, ideally, this happens in the beginning. This is not about having social time together, often referred to as “team building”. True team building engages the entire team in a deliberate and intentional discussion of:
Having said this, this task is not as easy as it seems. It is important that this work be effectively facilitated and that it be an engaged, working discussion …. It is not the boss answering these questions and telling the team.