Effective teams can make or break an organization. When they work out, amazing things happen and their contributions can help organizations make tremendous leaps. The flip side of this is the dysfunctional team that gets bogged down, fails to deliver and costs the organization in terms of lost productivity, missed goals and sagging morale.
So, what makes the difference between the two scenarios? In his seminal book, Tools for Team Excellence, Professor Gregory Huszczo outlined seven key components for successful team development.
Those seven key components are:
Clear sense of direction. Team members should have a shared purpose. They should understand the expected outcomes of the team, what their role is how their team’s output will contribute to corporate goals.
Talented members. When putting the team together, it’s essential to have someone with the vision of what is to be accomplished identify the competencies required to get the job done.
Clear & enticing responsibilities. Everyone should understand what their role is and team members should be aware of whom to go to when they need help; however, role definition shouldn’t be so narrowly defined that it eliminates the opportunity to benefit from the multiple talents of a member.
Reasonable & efficient operating procedures. Systems need to be in place to plan, conduct meetings, identify and solve problems, make decisions, give and receive information, evaluate progress and perform tasks. Without these procedures in place dysfunction sets in.
Constructive interpersonal relationships. You also need to have systems to celebrate diversity, handle conflict, provide support and challenge individuals.
Active reinforcement systems. Just as in the larger organization, a team needs to have systems in place to hold members accountable and to reward positive outcomes and behaviors.
Constructive external relationships. No team is an island. Your team will have to work with others in the organization and will be reliant upon organizational resources to accomplish their goals. As a result, good diplomatic relations are required.
When a team becomes high-functioning, its whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Paying attention to these seven key components when establishing a team and throughout the team development life cycle will help ensure its success.
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