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Team building must be: Team building must NOT be:
  • a way of life
  • the responsibility of every Team Member
  • a continuous process
  • about developing a clear and unique identity
  • focused on a clear and consistent set of goals
  • concerned with the needs and ambitions of each team member recognizing the unique contribution that each individual can make
  • an awareness of the potential of the team as a unit
  • results oriented
  • enjoyable
  • a short term, flavor of the month
  • imposed without regard to peoplesí feelings
  • spasmodic
  • reserved for only some members of the team
  • an excuse for not meeting personal responsibilities
  • a process where actions clearly contradict intentions
  • seen as a chore


Groups Teams
  • little communication
  • no support
  • lack of vision
  • exclusive cliques
  • the whole is less than the sum of its parts
  • seeks to hide its identity
  • leaves new members to find their own way but insists on conformity
  • leader manipulates team to own ends
  • Plenty of opportunity for discussion
  • plenty of support
  • process of discovery supported by openness and honesty
  • tactical and work groups combine easily into a single team
  • the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
  • seeks to discover its identity
  • welcomes new members by showing them existing norms and openness to change leader seeks team decisions by serving the team as a focus for two way communication


Characteristic Staffs Teams
Goals and decisions Made by the boss Made jointly by team and boss
Assignments Made by the boss Made jointly by the boss and subordinates
Communications In a meeting are primarily between the boss and a subordinate Are open among all team members
Role of subordinate Primarily to carry out assignments Team members initiate action, make suggestions, and help in planning
Primary virtues Loyalty and being a "good soldier" Trust, helping, and creativity
Sharing of data Data shared on the basis of what people feel the boss wants All relevant data shared
Critical feedback Rare and anxiety provoking Regarded as important to improvement
Differences and conflicts Avoided or smoothed over Regarded as enriching, worked through
Work Each staff person responsible for own work Team members feel responsible for one another
Goal Bossís primary goal is to get the job done Team leader works to get results and develop team members


Some of the factors that lead to poor communication among cross-functional team members include the following:

  • Lack of appreciation of the contributions of other functions. For example, in telecommunications projects, some engineers do not value the input provided by human factors psychologists.
  • Plain old-fashioned turf battles. Some departments play out their competitive games on the field provided by the cross-functional team.
  • Different jargon. For example, line department users often do not understand the terminology and technology employed by computer programmers.
  • Different work orientations. For example, researchers tend to take a long-term view and have an informal work climate; operation people are more short term and formal; salespeople are usually informal and have a short-term focus. While one may argue with these generalizations, it is clear that each department or function develops it own work style, which may clash with other styles from other functions.
  • Different degrees of interest in the teamís outcome. Some cross-functional team members are simply more interested in the teamís purpose and may have more to gain from a successful outcome. In one government agency, team embers from one bureau have more interest in the outcome of the team because it affects their client group more than it does the other bureaus represented on the team.
  • Mistaken goals. Some team members mistakenly see harmony as the goal of cross-functional teamwork. As a result, they are afraid to express a contrary point of view for fear that it will destroy the positive feelings among team members. The new result is a false consensus and a less than satisfactory outcome.
While these factors explain lack of trust and communication on cross-functional teams, they do not excuse it. Members of cross-functional teams are there because they have something to contribute. They must be allowed and even encouraged to share their ideas, information, and opinions without restrictions. Open communication is an absolute requirement for successful cross-functional teamwork. The concept of the cross-functional team is that the outcome -- the product, the system, the service -- will be better because it has been created by the combined expertise of people from a variety of functions. Viewing a problem or an issue from many vantage point is the strength of the cross-functional team. However, the value of divergent views can only be realized when there is a free flow of information.


A leader is a person you will follow to a place you wouldnít go by yourself.

You manage within a paradigm (Paradigm enhancement). Give a good manager the system (the rules, the guiding principles, the system, the standards, the protocols.) and he/she will optimize it. We spend 90% of our lives doing just this -- evolution.

You lead between paradigms (Paradigm shift). Leaders, with their intuitive judgment, assess the seeming risk, determine that shifting paradigms is the correct thing to do, and instill the courage in others to follow them. This kind of change occurs during less than 10% of our lives.

Paradigm shifting without the follow-on skills of paradigm enhancing leaves you vulnerable to the paradigm pioneers who practice Total Quality. Paradigm enhancement without the skills of paradigm shifting will lead you to continually improve obsolete products and services. Nobody will buy obsolete excellence.

The manager administers The leader innovates
The manager has a short-range view The leader has a long-range perspective
The manager asks how and when The leader asks what and why
The manager has his eye on the bottom line The leader has his eye on the horizon
The manager accepts the status quo The leader challenges it

Warren Bennis, Training magazine, May 1990