5 years ago, my wife and I picked up and moved cross-country with a 6 week-old baby. We did so without a job secured on my end, but a stipend and graduate program for her. I left an organizational setting in which I was the senior staff member for the organization, based upon function and time. After bouncing around for a few months with little to nothing showing for myself, I found a home in an amazing organization.
While I had a lot of head knowledge of in regard to teamwork and had been on my share of sports teams over the year, it was this setting that taught me the true value of teamwork and collaboration in an organization.
Without going into great detail, it was on this team that I recognized the true functional blessing of the team. Following are the three primary lessons I learned.
First, a team works when people share a vision, that they are able to have a “say” in. When people feel like they have a part in the vision they will work hard and try to be valuable to the team (and organization) – its just that easy!
Second, a team works when people share core values that serve to move the team. Contrary to a potential for group-think, when people share a core set of values that undergird the team (and the organization) they are able to work together with a shared foundation.
Third, a team works when the team members bring various talents and strengths to the table. When people bring differing experiences, insights, and functions to a team, it frees people up to live in their strengths rather than try to be all things.
So, what if you find yourself in a team where these three pieces are missing? Start out by asking questions. Find out if the team is willing to take a step back and redefine the purpose, values, and function. If not – RUN!