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When Teams Sail Along Smoothly. Is it Enough?

A team needs to do more than sail along smoothly

If you look for the definition of the word TEAM in your browser, chances you will come across something like this:




a group of players forming one side in a competitive game or sport.


come together as a team to achieve a common goal.


The question of the aim of a team has been on my mind lately. I have managed large teams and small teams. I have managed global teams and local teams. I have been on a "team of one", where all the roles and responsibilities were split between me, myself and I. (Yes, I know that is technically not a team, but it certainly feels like one). And now I am in a "co-team" set up, where "co" means that my partner and I both have equal responsibility to lead and we are both accountable for the results.

There is no question in my mind that the core team of any venture is the cornerstone of success. Do you want to achieve the common goal of the team? This is only possible if the players are aligned on what that goal is, and what the roadmap is to get there.

Having said that, alignment and team cohesion are not enough. I contend that a certain amount of friction is required to offset success. If no one challenges the roadmap, if no one questions the objectives, advancement is set to auto-pilot. Now auto-pilot is fine when there is no unexpected diversity, but it simply isn't enough when unknown obstacles are thrust in one's path.

So, I would argue that a team needs more than compliance and agreement. They need to do more than simply "come together" towards a common goal. They need to challenge, brainstorm and sail on choppy waters, in order to ensure that when the unknown is thrust upon them, they have the stamina, skill and ability to charter the course.

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