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Source: E-mail dt. 22.12.2011

 

Essentials for an effective team

 

Ms Priti Mahant

CEO – DSRCBM, Butibori, Nagpur

 

The word team is used loosely by organizations. “we’re all part of the team”, a boss will tell employees. Team implies unity of purpose, collaboration and to some people a measure of equality. If situational analysis confirms that a team is the best way to approach your goal, you’ll probably be eager to select team members and get them into gear. Resist that impulse for just a bit. Instead, take some time to consider what your team will need to be most effective. Management scholars and consultants have studied teams and team based performance in a fair intense manner for the past twenty years. As a result, there is a large body of literature on the subject and substantial consensus on the characteristics of effective teams.

 

Competence :

 

To succeed, the team should have all the talent, knowledge, organizational clout, experience, and technical know how needed to get the job done. An effective team is composed of people who would collectively bring out all competencies to the forefront. Any weak or missing competencies jeopardize the team goal. In these cases, teams must strengthen weaknesses or recruit for the missing competencies- something that successful teams learn to do as they move forward.

 

A clear, common goal – with performance metrics:

 

Have you ever been part of a team or project group that didn’t have a clear idea or its purpose? If you have, you probably understand why groups like this are rarely successful. It is nearly impossible to succeed when team members cannot articulate a clear and common goal. A teams goal is generally handed to it by higher management, who envisage a problem or opportunity and want the team to deal with it. Ideally, management identifies the end but leaves the means to the team. Still, team members must share an understanding of the goal. Otherwise, they will head in different directions, dissipating both energy and resources. Conflicts and misunderstandings are guaranteed.

 

Once they reach a common understanding of the goal, team members in cohesion with the management, should specify it in terms of performance metrics.

 

Commitment to a common goal:

 

A shared understanding of the goal is extremely important, but really effective teams go a step further. Their members are committed to the goal. There is a big difference between understanding and commitment. Understanding assures that people know the direction in which they should work; commitment is a visceral quality that motivates them to do the work and to keep working when the going gets tough. People must see their team’s goal as being very important and worthy of effort.

Commitment is also enhanced through rewards. If people understand that promotions, bonuses, or rise in pay are associated with their success in achieving the team goal, their commitment will increase. If they understand that the boss will get the credit or all the bulk of the monetary, their commitment will evaporate.

 

Alignment:

 

Alignment is the last item on our list of essentials for team effectiveness. Alignments refer to the coordination of plans, efforts, and rewards with an organization’s highest goals. In an aligned organization, everyone understands both goals of the enterprise and the goals of his or her operating unit. In an aligned organization people work in the right direction – and the rewards system encourages them to do so. Alignment gets everyone moving in the same direction – the right direction.