WHY TEAMS DON’T WORK
By Diane Coutu
Teams consistently underperform, despite the extra resources they have, because of problems with coordination, motivation, and competition. Team expert Professor J. Richard Hackman argues that while even the best leaders cannot guarantee that their teams will deliver results, they can increase the likelihood of their success by setting the following conditions:
*The team is “real.” Leaders must be ruthlessly clear about who is on the team and who is not. Sometimes this requires forcing ill-suited members off the team.
*The team has a compelling direction. Leaders must articulate a clear direction to ensure members do not pursue different agendas. Members must know and agree on the work they are collaborating on.
*The team has expert coaching. When it comes to group processes, teams need guidance from expert coaches who can:
*Run launch meetings to orient team members with the tasks at hand.
*Regularly reflect on finished work to identify successes and shortcomings and how members can make the best use of their experiences the next time around.
*The team has a designated deviant. To avoid complacency, leaders must assign “deviants,” or naysayers who challenge their teams’ desire for homogeneity.