Is there such a thing as a 'Dream Team'?

Some comments we have all heard or indeed said, “Teams are great; a group of people get more done; it's better to work in a team than on your own”.

What is so special about a group of people that makes them into a team and is it always achievable?

Teams CAN make a difference. They make a difference because they only come about when the task at hand is too large (scale) or difficult (complexity) for one person to complete alone.  By involving more than one person in a task you are creating a work team responsible for the delivery of a common goal or objective. It makes sense that, since each individual will bring their own unique attitude, set of skills and set of behaviours to the team, an environment that allows a sharing of diverse views, ideas and skills that ultimately results in an output that is stronger, better and more coherent than any one individual could have produced will be created.

Teambuilding is a way to accelerate the performance of a team. By spending time together, having common experiences, and clearly understanding the strengths and weaknesses that individuals bring, you can take the team to a higher level of performance. Spending time on teambuilding is all about improving performance and it makes sense that the more you know about each other, the better you’ll be able to maximise on the strengths you collectively have.

Most of us can recount a time when we have worked within a team that just seemed to ‘fit’ together and achieved remarkable things against all odds. Many of us can also recount a time when the team just didn’t seem to gel, for whatever reason, even when it seemed as though it couldn’t possibly fail. 

Organisations ideally need teams to achieve high performance in a short timescale and to be self-managed, motivated and adaptive but this can be difficult to achieve when teams are changing so fast and have such demanding agendas, and also if individuals have to adapt to being members of different teams at the same time, each team working to achieve different objectives and priorities. All the more reason to understand how to help team members get to know each other and become an effective unit as quickly as possible. 

Take a minute and reflect on what, from your perspective, changes a group into a team and consider.
•    At work, would you rather be part of a team, or part of a group?
•    What does being in a team mean to you?
•    If you like being part of a team, how can you help your team be an even better team to belong to?
•    How do you know you are building a good team? 

After all, from what you see, everyone attends regularly, on time, and participates in your meetings and team events. Each of the team members seems to get on OK and you are achieving your tasks. So you must be building a good team – right?  So is there a problem and if so what is it?

Teams can be scary!
For members of a new team, or new members who are joining an existing team, a number of questions may be on their mind in addition to the task at hand and as a team member or leader, it’s important to consider the questions people are likely to be considering, both at a conscious and subconscious level. In an organisational environment, there is a high likelihood that they won’t be asked out loud – but that doesn’t mean they’re not being pondered:
•    Will I be accepted or rejected? 
•    Will they like me or will I fit in?
•    How will this group be different from others I have worked with? 
•    What exactly will be expected of me?
•    What risks am I willing to take here? 
•    How am I like other people here or how am I different? 
•    Will I feel pressured and pushed to perform in some way? 
•    What can be achieved here?
•    What if the group rejects or attacks me? 
•    I’m afraid I’ll be withdrawn and passive. 
•    Will I embarrass myself or look stupid? 
•    What if I’m asked to do something I don’t want to do? 

Not an exhaustive list but the questions above are driven by concerns or fears that you or your staff might have. When we enter new and uncertain situations, our natural human tendency is to seek reassurance and certainty wherever we can find it, so being aware that people can become anxious in new situations can help you to provide as much certainty as you can. 

Let’s look at what should exist in a good team environment and think about the characteristics of your team.
•    Is there a high level of inter-dependence among team members
•    Have team members have developed mutual trust
•    Are they clear about goals and targets
•    Are team member roles are defined
•    Is each team member is willing to contribute
•    Can team members can examine failure without slipping into personal attacks
•    Do the team members have a capacity to create new idea


More questions than answers but do you now believe you can create a “Dream Team”?