Business Management & Leadership Resources

When to Create Teams

By Timothy I. Thomas
We throw around the word “team” a lot in business. But it is important to understand exactly what a team is so that we can create truly productive and dynamic teams that can transform our organizations.

Tim Thomas

Timothy I. Thomas is the President and CEO of Makarios Consulting, LLC, a leadership development and business consulting firm. Makarios Consulting specializes in interactive training and one-on-one coaching in progressive organizations in order to equip and empower their leaders to maximize their own leadership skills and inspire others to accomplish extraordinary business results. Timothy Thomas is the author of Creating All-Star Performers: The Power of Effective Feedback, now available for immediate download.

Having defined what a team truly is, it is important to understand that teams are not always the right answer in the business environment.

They can be a powerful solution, but they can also hamper an organization’s effectiveness if they are put in place ill-advisedly.

  • A team has a common purpose and shared goals.
  • A team involves multiple people cooperating to get the job done.
  • A team involves interdependency: each member has a stake in the task outcomes of the others.
  • A team is accountable as a functioning unit within a larger organizational context.
To determine if a team approach is appropriate in a given business situation, ask yourself the following questions.

The more you find yourself answering “yes,” the more likely it is that a team approach will work well in your particular circumstances:

  • Is the scope of the project so broad that ideas and solutions will require more than one viewpoint or approach?
  • Are you willing to accept a temporary drop in performance in return for long-term improvements?
  • Is “buy-in” critical to the outcome of the initiative?
  • Are you willing to give the team decision-making power within negotiated boundaries?
  • Is the organization willing and able to provide the team with necessary training, resources, and ongoing support?
Here are a few situations where you should definitely NOT form a team:
  • When a decision, recommendation and/or solution needs to be determined quickly and you can identify experts to make/find the answer(s).
  • When a team approach is not well thought out, but is instead the popular or trendy thing to do.
  • When a team is merely “window dressing” and has no real power to make decisions or implement a course of action.

© 2008 Timothy I. Thomas
Article Source: Makarios Consulting, LLC