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High Performance Teams Essay

2276 words - 9 pages

IntroductionThe terms groups and teams are oftentimes used interchangeable, however, there are some differences. According to Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn (2005), a group is a collection of two or more people who work with one another regularly to achieve common goals. On the other hand, team is defined as a small group of people with complementary skills who work actively together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable (Schermerhorn et al, 2005). So, where does the difference come in? Accountability is the real difference. Throughout this paper, the writer will discuss ways in which groups can become high-performance teams. In addition, the writer will examine the impact of demographic characteristics and cultural diversity on group behavior and how such diversity can contribute or detract from high-performance teams.Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (2007) defines groups as a number of individuals assembled or having some unifying relationship. Groups can form coalitions and signs of an organization can be seen. When a group is too large, communication is not effective between the members. Standards will be developed within a group. Roles will evolve from those standards. These roles often influence the interactions of the group. Groups usually have a common objective that they labor individually to accomplish.A common purpose allows a team to build an identity that extends beyond the sum of the individuals involved and to give itself a direction. Having a common purpose also ensures stability through change, enables a team to sort out who will do a particular job, how schedules will be set and adhered to, what skills need to be developed, how the group will make decisions and when and how to modify the approach to ensure successful completion of the team's objectives. Mutual accountability and interdependence mean that every team member is equally engaged in and responsible for accomplishing tasks and achieving goals.Creating an Effective TeamThe next important step is to know how to distinguish a team from an effective team. At some point everyone has experienced putting a team together. The ultimate goal is to select the best available team. In a team atmosphere, distributing tasks among members is a relatively simple chore. If all this information about teams is all so obvious, why then do some teams succeed where others fail?A team comes together in an endeavor to produce a level of performance greater than that which can be produced by individuals working alone. The whole should be greater than the sum of its parts. Yet in some cases the team members just seem unable to work well together and produce less than a talented individual working alone.The first condition is that the team must be a real team with a goal. A team needs a reason to exist and a purpose for the team to work together. If these parameters do not exist the product is a self-perpetuating body which exists to hold meetings, or...

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