Monday, January 17, 2011


'The combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient.' Teamwork as defined in the Oxford Dictionary

A team can be defined as a group of people:
• with different skills
• often with different tasks
• who work together towards a common project
• with a meshing of functions
• and with mutual support.

1. Purpose
Members support the purpose and take direction from it for their work.
Lack of clear purpose is one of the most frequent difficulties groups encounter.
Members are often surprised that the group’s purpose isn’t as clear to others as it is to themselves.

2. Communication
Open & direct enough to be able to honestly discuss any problem it faces.
Including its own performance and problems related to performance.

3. Leadership
Sufficient leadership within the group. Including designated leader/managers for relevant tasks.

4. Review
Group regularly reviews how it’s going in several vital areas:
• Relevance of work to what is required.
• Quality of work as compared to client expectations.
• Progress of work as compared to required timelines.

5. Structure
Group has appropriate organizational structure.

6. Resources
Adequate resources exist for group to perform its functions well:
• Member skills
• Tools
• Systems
• Facilities
• Budgets

7. Synergy
Quality which makes a group greater than the sum of its parts. It rests on the tangible
support given by one team member to another.                                                                  
  • Esprit de corps
  • Enhanced creativity
  • Collective wisdom
  • Deeper commitment
  • Greater resourcefulness
  • Tougher resilience

What does good team work look like?
• Seeking out other’s opinions and involvement in matters that concern them before making decisions or plans final.
• Trusting the team to develop a consensus on an issue, even if it takes a little more time.
• Voluntarily offering your own relevant experiences, ideas and findings to colleagues who could use them.
• Acknowledging a colleague’s contribution
• Sharing the credit.
• Being non defensive and receptive to the suggestions, ideas opinions and needs of colleagues.
• Making the effort to understand before criticising.
• Considering impact of your plans on others.
• Being unwilling to criticise a third party who isn’t present, not gossiping.
• Coming prepared to present or participate when you have a role in meetings.
• Expressing appreciation for teamwork extended to you that was helpful.
• Identifying and helping pick up loose ends even though they may not be your responsibility.
• Keeping people advised of changes, developments and new information on a task
or project.
• Being supportive of the team’s objectives once they are set.

Team work - starting point
-Get people together and just start talking.
-Ask yourselves ‘what do we stand for?’ what is it we’re trying to do?’
-Lets name ourselves.
-Create a statement that outlines your company’s mission, its values, and its guiding principles.

Team work – listening skills
Be present
-Our ‘little voice’ is one of the biggest barriers to active listening. Choose to be present.
-Focus on the speaker and the message.

Learn to want to listen
-We must be willing to focus on others when they are speaking.
-Learn to develop an interest in either the person and/or the topic.
-Practice concentrating on the speaker –words and feelings.
-Practice shutting distractions out, not allowing them to interfere with your effective listening.

Become a "whole body" listener
-To be active listeners, we must involve our whole body. Not only are our ears tuned in, but so are our eyes, our intellect, our bodies.
-Good listeners give nonverbal and verbal signs that they are listening.
-They sit in an attentive posture; nod in acknowledgement; make good eye contact; convey a positive, encouraging attitude, give feedback.

Control your emotional “hot buttons”
-Words, issues, situations, personalities can be emotional triggers for us.
-When these issues trigger our "hot buttons", we tend to distort, positively or negatively, the message we are hearing. We may tune out or pre-judge the message and/or the speaker.

Critical Success Factors for Self-Managing Teams
1. Clear direction
Can team members articulate a clear direction, shared by all members, of the basic purpose that the team exists to achieve?

2. A real team task
 Is the team assigned collective responsibility for all the team’s customers and major outputs?
Is the team required to make collective decisions about work strategies (rather than leaving it to individuals)?
Are members cross-trained, able to help each other?
Does the team get team-level data and feedback about its performance?
Is the team required to meet frequently and does it do so?

3. Team rewards
Counting all reward dollars available, are more than 80 percent available to teams only and not to individuals?

4. Basic material resources
Does the team have its own meeting space?
Can the team easily get basic materials needed for work?

5. Authority to manage the work
Does the team have the authority to decide the following (without first receiving special authority):
-How to meet client demands
-Which actions to take and when
-Whether to change their work strategies when they deem necessary

6. Team goals
Can the team articulate specific goals?
Do these goals stretch their performance?
Have they specified a time by which they intend to accomplish these goals?

7. Strategy norms
Do team members encourage each other to detect problems without the leader’s intervention?
Do members openly discuss differences in what members have to contribute to the team?
Do members encourage experimentation with new ways of operating?
Does the team actively seek to learn from other teams?

Esprit de corps
Esprit de corps, a French phrase much used by English writers to denote the common spirit pervading the members of a body or association of persons. It implies sympathy, enthusiasm, devotion, and jealous regard for the honor of the body as a whole.

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