I like to think of a team as a collection of individual stories; it's more than a group of people who have willingly set aside their egos; it's not about being in charge. A team is a collective of individuals each of whom contributes to the working of the whole. A team is in fact, a living entity.
Ah yes, teamwork… the stuff that has launched businesses, books and reputations. It seems that everyone is looking to be part of a team, seeking leaders who can develop teams and hunting for employees who aspire to be team players. Seems like teamwork is a no-brainer.
Teamwork is such a warm, fuzzy concept; how could we not like the idea? After all, everything is better when we work together and promote togetherness, right? Well, yes and then again, not always. Though teamwork is a profoundly valuable concept, when and how to use it does not abide by the one size fits all approach (I seem to say that a lot). It requires some decision making on our part.
Teamwork is most likely to serve well when: the task is complex; a variety of input and action is essential; time does not preclude the effort needed to assemble and deploy a team; team members understand their roles and are willing participants; leadership understands and supports the team. And perhaps most important of all, when goals are clear and resources are consistent with the achievement of goals. On the other hand when: time is of the essence and outcomes and decisions hold serious consequences; the task is too simple; the non-teamwork approach is working just fine; leadership dictates the outcome, teamwork may just not be the best option.
All businesses will benefit from teamwork, but it is not the answer for all situations. Whether or not to employ teamwork in a particular situation requires an assessment of the task, the team and the environment. In order to thrive, the living entity known as a team is dependent upon voluntary participation, leadership support, clear goals and the resources necessary to see the goals to fruition.