01 02 03 "CorporateTheatre": The Wisdom of Teams - 15: The Importance of Team Composition 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The Wisdom of Teams - 15: The Importance of Team Composition

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(In this series of posts offering excerpts from the book, 'The Wisdom of Teams' by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith (Harvard Business School Press), the excerpts are in bold.)


Only through the mutual discovery and understanding of how to apply all its human resources to a common purpose can a group really develop and agree on the best team approach to achieve its goal. At the heart of such long and, at times, difficult interactions lies a commitment-building process in which the whole team candidly explores who is best suited to each task as well as how all the individual roles will come together. In effect, it establishes a social contract among members that relates to their purpose, and guides and obligates how they must work together.

. . . . . . .

When composing teams in a "CorporateTheatre" workshop, the facilitator takes special care to ensure that the number of people in each team is such that everyone will get a task or role that is essential to the success of the production or task.  When this is not ensured, and there are even one or two people in a team who have no specific assignment that demands their full attention and commitment, the team's effectiveness can be diluted. 

Any person in a team who does not have clarity or commitment to the task at hand can end up distracting a lot of other people who have the clarity and commitment.  And if the person who does not have this clarity and commitment is a high profile person, it is all the more dangerous, as such a person will end up mis-aligning or distracting a lot of other people who would otherwise be significant contributors to the team's performance.

As has been stated in more detail elsewhere in this blog, when the team comes across such an obstacle (given the right team environment, this is fortunately very rare), there are 3 options - the 3 'R'sRe-align, Redeploy, and if these two options do not work in spite of all efforts, the final 'R' - Remove the obstacle. 

A 'natural' team is not a soft team.  It is however a caring team, and would rather be caring to the 99 people who are aligned than to the 1 person who is not alignable, whose perspective of personal success is in no way alignable to the team's success.

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