There is no such thing as team building…

teambuildingManagers often talk about a phenomenon called team building. This insinuates that you can actually “build” a team and simply put a number of individual people together and expect them to work together as an optimal performing team.

Well let’s just burst that bubble, there is no such thing as team building, a team can only be created by growing it and nurturing it step by step through the forming phases of a team until it reaches the level needed to unleash the full potential.

As a team manager you need to work the system to create the best possible environment for the team, invest in and coach the team members to help them to develop themselves and the team. In this aspect you can compare a manager with a gardener who tries to create the best environment to let the plants and flowers grow to get that award winning garden.

To get the most out of a team, a team should be an entity within an organization that has its own identity including a name, goals, values, metrics etc. In essence it is an organizational unit on its own.

This also means that you cannot just create a team for projects that you encounter and tear the team up again when the project is over. Organizations use short lived teams like this a lot because they assume that people in an organization are just a big pool of resources that you can use to populate project teams with.

But let´s be realistic, will a short lived team ever be reaching their full potential? Most likely they won’t. A team needs to get used to each other, needs to grow, needs to develop an identity and then needs to learn from each iteration to improve as a team. A team that is going to be ripped apart after just a few months is never going to be motivated to develop the team, most development efforts will be individual, because in organizations like this it is the individual that counts and not the team, teams are just temporary groups of individuals.

If you want to reap the full benefits of being agile you will need to find a way to create and develop teams as multi disciplinary self organized units within your organization that can handle your projects instead of just looking for the individuals with the skill sets that match the requirements of your project.

Tags: ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment