Key Roles in Forming Teams
There are three critical roles in the development of a teamwork culture within an organization: Team Sponsor, Team Leader,
and Team Member.
The team sponsor engages the team's stakeholders, defines in a written charter the nature and scope of the new team, sets
team goals, engages the team leader, provides support to the team, and assesses the team's performance.
The team leader accepts the charter and commits to organizing and leading the team members as they develop their strategies
and action plans to accomplish the goals established for them. The team leader is responsible for developing the team's 'platform
of trust' and leading the team's efforts to achieve their goals.
The team members must embrace the team's charter and goals, participate fully in the team's processes, commit to carry
out tasks needed to reach the team' goals, and be personally accountable for completing their commitments and helping other
team members address and resolve barriers impeding their progress.
1. Define the hierarchy of teams and goals
An organization that wishes to drive sustainable results through teamwork will find that a culture of dynamic teamwork will
rest on two pillars: a hierarchy of teams and a hierarchy of goals. A clear definition of these two hierarchies is an essential
first step in creating the culture of dynamic teamwork. The infrastructure of teams can usually be found in the entity's
organizational charts. The infrastructure of goals usually comes from annual and quarterly strategic planning sessions.
2. Develop the team charter
When a team is formed, those who assemble the team will generally have a reason for creating the team. Documenting this purpose,
the expectations of the team's stakeholders, the resources provided to the team (including team members), the financial costs/revenues
of the team, and what team members can expect for their participation in the team allows the team leader and the team members
to come together with a common focus. Failure to document and communicate this information may lead to considerable dysfunctions
within the team. It is usually the responsibility of the team's sponsor to create the team charter.
3. Set the team's goals
The team sponsor should also create a set of team goals that are extensions of the organization's goals and the goals of the
functional team the new team is a part of. Goals clarify expectations, create a sense of urgency, and provide a measure of
4. Engage the team's leader
The team's leader should be chosen with great care for it is the ability of the leader that will maximize the talents of the
team's member in achieving the team's goals and meeting the expectations of the team's stakeholders.
The team's sponsor should engage in conversations with the prospective team leader to determine that they have the talents,
skills, and motivation to lead the team. The sponsor should ascertain the leadership candidate has a full understanding of
what the commitment to lead the team will require.
The acceptance of the leader's role should be documented and formalized to bring emphasis to the seriousness of the commitment
that has been made.
5. Establish a culture of best practices for dynamic teamwork
The team leader is responsible for guiding the team through the processes of teamwork. Four major areas of focus include:
Effective teams know what they must do and have a shared focus on results. The team leader is responsible for creating
this shared focus while at the same time clarifying with the team members what is in it for each of them as the result of
their participation on the team.
Building a Platform of Mutual Trust
Teams without trust fail to achieve the openness necessary for the collaboration needed to achieve most team goals. It
is the team leader's responsibility to create and maintain the platform of trust that a dynamic team needs to achieve powerful
Collaborating for Results
The true power of teams rests in their ability to collaborate to develop plans and address challenges. This collaboration
should lead to the development of the strategies and action plans necessary for the team to execute to achieve the team's
goals. Most importantly, the collaboration should lead to gaining individual commitments from the team members to carry out
the actions defined in the action plans.
Driving Individual Execution
After commitments have been obtained, the team leader is responsible for implementing the processes necessary to stay
informed about the status of all open commitments and the resolution of issues and barriers that might imped completion of
6. Assess team performance
The team sponsor is responsible for assessing the performance of the team and the team's leader. This process should include
discussions with team's stakeholders to determine how well their expectations of the team have been met.
Recognizing team and individual accomplishments should be carried out in a celebratory fashion, meeting the expectations
set forth in the team's charter and in communications with the team leader and team members.
Where the team's purpose is continuing, the charter should be renewed and new team goals established.