Do you believe there is some magic formula for building a winning team?
My answer is a “BIG No”. Teams are organic – they grow and change. If you invest time and energy in exploring how teams work, this will give you a reward far beyond your expectations.
If you were an avid observer of nature, you would know that animals and plants assemble together in groups and work mutually in order to help each other (and ultimately themselves). Together, they reach goals that would have been out of reach for a single individual. In this sense, humans are no different. We are social creatures and many of our goals and motivations require us to work closely together with other people.
Magic formula for Building a Winning Team
Team building is tied to the personal development of its members. Team development requires individual team members to grow together. When individual’s personal growth unfolds, so does his capacity to participate and thrive in team situations.
The closer the correlation between team goals and the individual goals, the greater the sum of individual motivations for succeeding together.
What is a Team?
In my interactions with scores of teams, I often ask my audience this simple question, “What is a team?”
The answers usually surprise me. People come up with a variety of views and perspectives. My team supports me in recording ideas too. I am outlining below some of their notions of what constitutes a team:
- Team is a group of people organized to work together.
- Team is more than a group of people.
- Collection of individuals who all contribute to the achievement of a common purpose.
- Small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose.
- Team is made up of individual stories.
- Team is about not having a ‘boss’.
- Team is the best way to continue your learning.
- Team is built with blood, sweat and tears.
- Like a car, it consists of multiple parts joined together to accomplish a particular task.
- A relatively small number of people working collaboratively.
- A series of people with a combination of skills and knowledge that are complementary to each other with the aim to reach the defined goals.
- A cooperative unit sharing a common goal and the responsibility for achieving it.
What is Team Building?
After listening to so many diverse ideas, I ask the participants another question, “Since we are all here for team building, what do you think team building is all about?”
The participants are on fire. Their minds’ search engine is revving up. The answers start pouring out:
- Team building is about synergy.
- A process of enabling a group of people to reach their goal.
- An ongoing process that helps a work group evolve into a cohesive unit.
- An intervention to help a group of people quickly become an effective team and remain effective.
- Designed to improve productivity and the joy that accompanies work.
- An art that overcomes the differences in style.
- A process in which a work group examines how it is currently operating.
- An excellent way to boost corporate staff morale and improve group dynamics.
- Getting people together in a stimulating learning environment.
All of the above answers are quite right, and they encompass at least some aspects of an effective team-development intervention. Furthermore, if you ask me, I believe team building is not just a crisis activity but a healthy development tool for good teams. It is an active process by which a group of individuals with a common purpose remain focused and aligned to achieve a specific task or set of outcomes.
Peter B. Grazier, a well known team expert, says, “Much of the problem of making teams successful in the workplace stems from our past perceptions of what teams are, and a complete ignorance of the powerful principles that underlay them.”
Teams are really a formal way to actualize collaboration. Collaboration is at the heart of successful decision making, but somehow this fact eludes us.
Teaming is not something we do because it creates harmonious work groups, or is a neat thing to do. It is a way to reinforce the power of collaboration among persons. It is a way to mixture the talents, skills and inborn creativity of diverse people. It is a way to use this collaboration so that the group leverages its skills, time, and resources for their own benefit and that of the organization’s.
Team building indeed is a process of awareness building. The purpose is to help people understand that they are greater collectively than individually. It is a thoughtful that all of our decisions will be improved when some degree of collaboration is practical applied.
Team building is bringing people to a place where there is an honest appreciation of each other’s essence; where they come from, and where they have been. Because in this, appreciation and gratefulness are the drivers for collaboration.