By: Brian Good, green belt
I define “team” as “a group of people assembled to achieve a certain task.” The work those people perform and how they go about doing it is team work. Teams can be volunteer (e.g. a charitable organization) or paid (e.g. work). They can be fun and related to athletics. They can be challenging and the work itself dull. The success of a team really depends on ensuring that the right members with the necessary skills are on the team and that an effort is made during the team’s formulative stage to foster a spirit of comradery, respect, and mutual expectations. Assignments and responsibilities must be clearly outlined. If shared outcomes cannot be agreed upon, if people do not respect the talents each person has to offer, or if the team’s work cannot be made fun in some way (however small), the team has little chance of success and will definitely not perform at its optimum level.
In theory the word team, as defined, implies that the objective cannot be performed effectively without the talents of many individuals. Therefore, everyone is important and must perform their assigned task(s) to the best of their abilities in order for everyone to succeed. That said there are certainly short periods of time during which one person might be more important than others. For example, during a field-goal attempt in football, the holder, place-kicker, and blockers are more important than the defense, which is not even on the field. Alternatively, a violin soloist might be more important during a solo than others in the orchestra who are not playing at that point. However, it takes everyone, being important in their critical moments, to successfully achieve the overall objective of the team.
People can achieve more when the individual talents of each team member are used in such a way that greater accomplishment is possible than if people worked alone. Take for example a basketball team. Some people are really tall and can block shots, while others are excellent three-point shooters. Other people are good at coaching and motivating players while others are good at free throws. Any one of these people does not have enough talent to win games by themselves – it takes a combined effort to succeed. Again, the key to a successful team is to identify the talent needs and elect team members who can help fill these gaps and help them work in a coordinated and synergistic manner to accomplish the objective. The personalities and compatibility dynamic of team members cannot be overlooked – the group must get along well enough with one other to operate effectively.