What is a Team?
A group of people do not make a team. A team is a group of people with a high degree of
interdependence focused on the achievement of some goal or task. The group agrees on
the goal and the process for achievement.
The purpose of this collection of activities is to help the team leaders, team building
specialists, classroom trainers, and anyone interested in creating collaborative work
teams, bring a group of people into harmony and effectiveness.
There are many skills required to be truly effective as a team leader and team
developer. This manual provides a collection of activities that can be used with intact
work teams or with training groups who will go back to their work environment and build
The philosophy that underlies all of the activities in this manual revolves around
three key ideas. They are:
1. Each team has a common purpose, mission, or goal.
2. The members are interdependent (they need each other to achieve their purpose).
3. They agree they must work together effectively to reach their goal.
Types of Teams
There are many teams that meet this definition. The basic work team is a manager and his
or her direct reports. Teams can also be ad hoc groups such as task forces or committees
that come together for a specific purpose and a limited time period. A recent phenomenon
is the cross-functional team that brings together experts from a variety of disciplines and
departments to develop new products, systems, or other results.
We may distinguish teams by three dimensions:
1. Purpose—product development, quality, marketing, systems, etc.
2. Duration—permanent or ad hoc.
3. Membership—functional or cross-functional.
The most challenging teams are the cross-functional, ad hoc teams. The challenge
increases when the purpose is unclear. Although the payoff is potentially great, the
difficulty of forging an effective team is complicated by the different styles that the
people from the various disciplines bring to the table. And the temporary nature of the
relationship often decreases the motivation to work hard on building an effective team.