Are teams always the answer?
We can sometimes get carried away by the idea that the solution to all of our problems is team work, we draw ever more people onto our conference calls, send our emails to bigger circulation lists and try an enlist a diverse group of people on every project to increase innovation. Stop a minute does this always make sense, sometimes we just need to get the job done!
Taking a lesson from sport, there are “track and field teams” and their are “basketball teams”. Sometimes we should think more like track and field. There is a great article on this over on Ezine which is worth checking out, but here are some of the examples that I recall when I needed to step back and ask myself what sort of team I wanted:
- The really complex problem; to solve this I needed to put two people together in a room, and provide them all the support they needed, but otherwise just keep everyone out of their way. For this problem focus was key
- Get a fairly simple project delivered to time and budget; get a team together who had done it before, who new each other well and manage them lightly. For this problem innovation was not a priority, so it was better to have a small team, who new their stuff and worked easily together. There was no productive friction to create innovation, but also no friction to slow them down
- Get a very complex project concept clear; to solve this I needed one person to get their head around the concept, and describe it, to help them they needed plenty of opportunity for discussion and review, but it was their concept in the end and so it had integrity