A team can be defined simply as a group of people cooperating toward a common goal. The advantage of teams is that they can accomplish much more than the same people working separately. In other words, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
But all teams are not equal. Some accomplish more than others. Some have less conflict. Some have more satisfied members. How do highly effective teams differ from average teams? First, we must define "effective." To be effective, a team has to meet the goals that have been set for it - for example, high sales, customer satisfaction, customer retention, or low rates of errors. Effectiveness means getting results, not just getting along with each other or liking their jobs.
A major study by the Gallup Organization of more than a million employee surveys identified 12 questions which, taken together, make up the most powerful measure of the effectiveness of a team. The researchers found that teams that gave the most positive responses to these questions had higher profits, were more productive as business units, retained more employees, and satisfied more customers. They are as follows:
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12. This past year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?
A smart manager will study these questions and seek ways to shape a team that will answer them in the affirmative.