Teams and Teamwork Cartoon
When a team is working well it has high levels of “synergy.” Synergy means the interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual contributions – that is, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Even if this were not the case, the semi-coordinated efforts of a team would still be more successful than the efforts of a lone individual. How much more effective, therefore, would be a team showing high degrees of coordination and interaction, with all team members focused on the same goal, with all team members pulling together in the same broad direction? This is not to say that individuality is not important – it is; but it is to say that an individual may be able to achieve more by combining her or his talents with the talents of others.
When any individual joins a team, he or she will typically have a few basic questions about where to best focus his or her attention and it is getting good answers to these that will ultimately lead to higher overall team synergy. These include questions such as:
- What do you want me to achieve?
- What is my role?
- Why are the team’s targets or goals?
- What will constitute individual or team success?
- How will I know how I am doing?
All of the above essentially boils down to one thing – as we work together as a team, every individual needs to have regular feedback on what the team is trying to do, in what way and about how each person, and the group as a whole, is doing from an overall performance perspective.