There Are Teams, and There Are Teams

I recently woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “there are teams, and there are teams.”

First, some terminology. A group is thought of as two or more people working toward a goal who interact and are interdependent, primarily to perform better independently. A team is a group that interacts to perform joint work greater than the sum of the individuals’ contributions.

That last phrase stands out…”greater than the sum of the individuals’ contributions.” Hence my middle of the night thought.

There are amazing teams out there. Combinations of personalities, skillsets, and past successes that make competitors cower in fear. These can be leadership teams, founders of a new company, athletic teams, amateur teams, and so on. And they fail to accomplish anything close to what their skills and experience indicate they could and should.

The reason is because they operate more like a group. Interdependent, but only so they can each get what they need to shine. This is why teams of stars rarely reach their full potential.

At the other end, we have the real team. The group that subjugates egos and individual goals and accomplishments to work on something bigger, greater, and more important. The outcome drives everything they do, with little to no individual concern about I, me, and mine. They often shine, excel, and become stars, as a team, because they exceed expectations.

The difference seems to boil down to this. One recruits the stars, the talent, the resumés, the skills. The other recruits the mindset, the cultural fit, the attitude, and the grit.

Yes, there are teams, and there are teams; and a few stars around the table may not be what it seems.


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Craig A. Escamilla
Craig A. Escamilla
Craig Escamilla helps you find solutions before problems exist. With fifteen years of consulting, teaching, and senior management experience, Craig brings a wealth of practical expertise to helping others work on rather than in their businesses.

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