Whether teaming on the fly or for the long-haul, working together as a group can be incredibly challenging. When it goes well, miracles happen. When it doesn’t, disasters loom large. The inconvenient truth about most teamwork is that, most of the time, team members end up giving up on their original aspirations and settling for a barely acceptable status quo just to get things done. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Teams have so much more to offer.
Since the 1970s, countless models have surfaced to engineer effective teams. Following in the footsteps of researchers Rubin, Plovnick, and Fry, most of these models emphasize the same priorities of goals, roles, processes, and interpersonal relationships. Consciously sorting though these details are indisputably important to how teams organize themselves. However, the extent to which they succeed in their common purpose is controlled by how they understand themselves — as a team. Do they function as a whole system? Or a collection of independent contributors/competitors?