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What Makes a Team Work? The TEAM algorithm

What makes a team work?

Let’s be frank – Not all teams work; most people are terrible at teamwork.

As J. Richard Hackman, a leading expert on teams, puts it – Most of the time, team members can’t even agree on what the team is supposed to be doing. The odds of success are always slim.

So, what makes a team work?

What make a team work?

Here’s an acronym, I just created to provide you with a framework to identify the potential cracks, and hopefully, to help you build and bond a better team. I call it the TEAM algorithm.

T – Target

Direction. A clear, challenging direction. It’s the target that drives people. Only the teams that are productive, and have done something good together –  stay together, not the other way round. As per studies by Edwin A. Locke, well defined targets help direct efforts to goal-relevant activities, and lead to more effort.

E – Equity 

Most leaders think that all team members should be treated equally, but my experience says otherwise. Take a good look at the picture below.

One size doesn’t fit all – Every team member has a different need, and it must be respected. It’s the unique experiences that make people value their position in the team.

My advice is –  Make equity your priority. Value everybody’s uniqueness; treat them uniquely; and the results would surprise you, definitely.

A- Affection

Bonds among the team-members mean everything. Great results – the one that matter – are a result of collaboration and teamwork. It is the sense of belonging that fuels effective communication, support, and sharing of work load.

Samantha McDuffee has listed six reasons for team bonding. I am in total agreement with her.

M- Morale

You may not realize it, but morale is what makes and breaks teams. If you want an effective workplace, work towards making them happy. When the staff morale is high, everyone works better. Morale is what fuels creativity and improves performance. It’s important that your staff enjoys what they are doing.

Unless you attend to the TEAM algorithm, it may seem that everyone is filled with the spirit of goodwill and cooperation, but beware the project is bound to fail.

An important step in creating good teams is to recognize the barriers that hinder the TEAM algorithm. These barriers could come from the leader, the team-members or the situation. So, how to identify these barriers?

We’ll talk about it some other time.

About Hardik Parikh

Hardik Parikh is the Co-founder of PracTutor. PracTutor is a personalized fun way to master Common Core Math and English. All kids – whether they need intervention, accelerated learning or career and college readiness – can achieve their goals within PracTutor.