The Biggest Killer of Teams Is…

I have been studying the performance of several teams both within and outside our organization, and over time I have seen one key predictor of success or failure for team performance: community. When community is lacking, or in more common terms, when the team members don’t have care and concern for each other, failure will soon result.

Yes, having the right skills is important, but we’ve probably all worked on highly skilled, yet highly dysfunctional, teams in the past.

Video: Building Team Community

Check out the video below for how community ties into teamwork and 5 ways to develop a stronger sense of community for a team:

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Video Notes

5 tips to build community

  1. Get away from the office.
  2. Take time in meetings to talk about personal things, even if for a few minutes.
  3. Have inside jokes. If they don’t exist, create them.
  4. Create recurring opportunities for people to air grievances and get on the same page. And DO NOT let this become a “checklist” item. It must be meaningful or it’s not worth the effort.
  5. Individual success is team success. Individual failure is team failure. If it ever gets to “well, at least it wasn’t MY project that tanked,” then you’re in trouble. Because when your focus area is in need, the rest of the team will be able to reply, “well, at least it isn’t MY job…”

Teams don’t become great by accident or just by being lucky. Consider which of the methods you could use to inject some community into your team, then make it happen.

For more info and team-related goodness, check out The Orange Revolution book review.

3 thoughts on “The Biggest Killer of Teams Is…

  1. Trevor

    Great advice here, Ben. I think you could add “Trust” to your list. Without trust, a community cannot be built inside of an organization.

    Happy holidays Ben!!

  2. Emily

    Can you give me any ideas on how to present to a new team and a new manager some of your very good ideas for Building Team Community. We have zero to very contact with other members in the team. They have documented high turn over, and I don’t want to be the next one. Thank you for your time.

  3. James Lawther

    Like the tips

    But I’d like to add a thought, community is important but purpose is key. Has the team got a common purpose and aim?

    Without that then your team just becomes a social event.


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