Quick Team Audit

Here is a simply framework you can use to audit your team:

You participate in many teams: work teams, sports teams, teams in the organizations you belong to, even your family might be considered a team. The blunt truth is that most of your teams are functioning at a fraction of their potential. In fact, some of them are so bad that while they may be called teams, they are in fact something less.

A healthy, effective team has three critical components. Once you know these components you can instantly audit every team you see, identify how strong or weak it is, and know exactly what needs to happen to make it better.

A good team allows us to use our specialties.

You may not realize it, but there is something you do better than most people on your team. It may be a way of problem solving, a very specific technical skill you have mastered, or an ability to relate to a wide spectrum of people. Do you know what that "something" is? This is the gift, the specialty you bring to your team. And a good team allows you to use that specialty, pooled with the abilities of others, to accomplish something significant.

A team requires trust.

A classic on team dynamics is Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Lencioni communicates through this leadership fable that whenever a team has issues, the root problem, the foundational dysfunction is an absence of trust. If a group has no trust, there is no team. Weak trust causes a weak team. The effectiveness of any team is directly proportional to its level of trust.

A team forms around a clear and compelling challenge.

The missing component on many teams that have gifted people, strong leaders and high levels of trust, is that there is no significant unifying challenge to pull them together. "Business as usual" doesn't require or build a team. There must be a clear challenge, that is, everyone knows what the team is trying to accomplish. And the challenge must be compelling, that is, its achievement will be somewhat difficult and thus both significant and satisfying.

Based on the above components here is the definition of a strong team: A team is a diverse group of people, united by trust, and by a challenge that calls for their best.

How do your key teams measure up to this definition? Where are they strong? Where do they need work? Now that you know the key components of an effective team, you can instantly audit every team you see, and take action to make it better!

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