Chapter 3. Composition: Getting the Right People on the Bus

If the organizational context is supportive of teamwork, the next task is to determine the appropriate size of the team, who should be on it, and how they should be managed depending on their skill set and motivation. In this chapter we discuss the importance of getting the right people on a team as well as what might be the optimal team size. To illustrate the importance of both team composition and context, we also will present the case of Bain & Company, which has had much success in putting teams together in a supportive context to achieve superior results. An assessment instrument for evaluating team composition and context is included as well.

Team Composition and Performance

For a team to succeed, team members must have the skills and experience to accomplish the task, and they must have the motivation to succeed. In putting the team together, team leadership is critical. Some of the characteristics of effective team leaders include the following:[1]

  • Clear vision of the team’s role in accomplishing organizational goals

  • Clear vision of the metrics that will accurately measure team performance

  • Project management and work-planning skills

  • Conflict management and problem-solving skills

  • Understanding of team processes and interdependencies

  • Skills to manage change and build team competencies

  • Ability to gain support and resources for the team from key executives and other constituencies

In addition to effective leaders, successful ...

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