The first thing that came to my mind when I thought of the word “team”, was the word “group” but according to this week’s readings and lectures these two words are totally different. Jon R Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith define team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable” (1992)……….and here I thought team was just a group of people working together, how naïve.
My whole life, I thought consisted of being in “teams” due to actively taking part in sports such as netball and being involved in club activities which required team activities. As Peter listed the many factors to take into consideration when putting a team together rather than just a group, I began to wonder whether or not the many groups I was a part of, were teams (transformed into a team) or remained as just that, a “group”.
From the readings and from Peters lecture, having the same goal or “commitment to a common purpose and performance goal” (Jon.R.K, Smith D.K, 1992) is very important in creating a successful and effective team. This is evident in my netball life as my team all started with a common purpose of winning A grade (which we successfully achieved) and also winning Premier grade. However, over time I found that even with this purpose, many of my netball team mates had external factors affecting their level of commitment to this goal e.g. family problems, school/university, church commitments etc. This meant that only half of our goal was achieved and the other half (winning Premier grade) was no longer being attempted. So does the change of goals for each individual mean my team is no longer a “team” but rather has transformed back into just a “group”? As I ask this myself this question, I wonder if there was anything I could’ve done to have prevented the declining commitment to our goal or whether or not I had no control over these factors. I guess that’s where the whole “mutually accountable” part comes in.
I don’t know whether or not knowing the difference between team and group will dramatically change my life (probably not) but I do know I am more aware of what a successful team is supposed to be like and hopefully I’ll be able to be a part of such a group in my future endeavors.
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27