The difference between a group of people and a team

Marlies Pellikaan

Henry Ford once said: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” But is simply moving forward together still enough in 2019? The way teams collaborate, nowadays, has become ever so complex. And yet, we need successful teams to excel. It’s their dynamics that determine whether or not they are moving forward. Which raises the question: how do you create, facilitate and foster great team dynamics?

The difference between a group of people and a team

Together Each Achieves More. If the word ‘team’ were an acronym, this would be its definition. A team is where individuals are strengthened by the collective. Classic examples of this are seen in the army, in elite troops like the Commanders or the Navy Seals. These teams have one clear goal, which can only be achieved together. The team members are trained and their actions perfectly aligned to achieve this goal. Team members talk to each other and actively share information with other members. 

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More complex

Within organizations, teams aren’t always organized in the most efficient way. Information is often shared with a large crowd and employees are part of multiple (overlapping) project teams. In addition, modern technology is changing the way we communicate, by allowing us easily share information with people all around the world. Teams no longer have to be in the same room. This increases the complexity of team collaboration, yet collaboration is more important than ever.

Teams are agile

An increasing number of responsibilities is being assigned to teams, nowadays. They are expected to be both entrepreneurs and trouble-shooters. This is especially true for self-managing teams. Larger organizations hope to remain agile through operation in teams, since large and complex structure tend to decrease agility. Therefore, having strong and successful teams will enable you to be more flexible, and  consequently  to adapt to new customer needs and trends more easily.

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Competitive advantage

An increasing number of organizations are realizing the positive impact successful teams can have. They can help your organization make a leap forward and can even create a real competitive advantage. As Patrick Lencioni, HR guru, wrote in ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’: “Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare.” So, how can you gain more insight into team dynamics, discover what your team members need today and use that knowledge to allow successful teams to have a positive impact on your organization?

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