Thursday, April 2, 2009

Groups vs Teams and the RAS Board

Often I run into people who say that their department, volunteer organization, company, family, etc is a team. At these times, I typically just shake my head. The reason for my disbelief is that to be a team, the group of people need to be actively working together to:


This means they need to be clearly defined in a relatively SMART manner. This is why functioning Teams are so difficult to attain and so powerful once they get going.

Last night, I was reminded that the RAS school board is a group, and not a team. When asked by the Supt candidate how the board would know when RAS had reached their goal of being a "Premiere School"? There was some silence, some general answers, some we are already there, and many other answers. The point is each individual still has a different vision of what is success?

Now being a group is not a bad thing and it may be appropriate for a board. Yet without a clear common measureable definition of success it will be real hard to attain it, prioritize expenditures, measure gaps, know when it has been reached, etc...

Speed Supt
T vs G Foster
T vs G Berkely
T vs G 1000
T vs G Transbay
T vs G MM


Sue said...

I agree, they aren't a team, good observation. How do they become one? Do they need to spend more time together/meet more often? I'm sure Robert's Rules of Order has strict rules about how/when they can discuss work-related issues. Is it more difficult for a "team" to develop when the meetings are so formal and so closely watched by the public?

John said...

Since team development has a lot to do with building trust and consensus, I would think it would be very difficult to do this in the public form. The upside is there are often very few to no observers at these work sessions.

The biggest trick is finding a skilled team facilitator / trainer to walk the team through the process. Otherwise it is like fishing without a guide. You may catch a fish by getting lucky, however it is unlikely you will catch your limit.(ie especially with the diverse personalities and perspectives)

Keep checking in, I am slowly moving through the team development process as part of the training aspect of my blog. (ie I am somewhere between forming and storming) Thanks for the comment !!!