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Characteristics Of Effective Teams

by Jonathan Jones

A team of five people working together can, if they’re well-organized, accomplish as much as eight or more people working individually. But what makes a team effective?

In their book, “The Wisdom of Teams,” Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith define a team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”  To measure your own team/s against their ideal team’s characteristics, let’s examine each component of what we might think of as the ideal modus operandi for “high-performing” teams.

They are composed of a small number of people. Teams that are too big are often hard to align with each other within the organization. Over ten people is usually too many.

They enjoy the complementary skills of their members. Team members do what they are good at and build trusting partnerships with other team members who are good at what they are not.

They are committed to a common purpose. All members understand why they are working together.  

They are committed to common goals. This is how the team knows it is successful.  Performance goals can include measurable objectives such as sales targets or deadlines.  

They are committed to a common working approach. Adherence to common working practices enhances communication and trust.

They hold each other mutually accountable. All team members accept responsibility for their own as well as the team’s combined efforts.

Take a deeper look at each of these characteristics. Review them with each team in your organization.

If, in using this rubric, you find one of your teams lacking, take steps to address the area that needs improvement. Your success may well depend on the team’s.n

Jonathan Jones (jonathan@jonathanjonesconsulting.com or 314-608-0783) owns Jonathan Jones Consulting.
Submitted 9 years 5 days ago
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