Five Secrets of Team Building

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In Why Teams Don’t Work, J. Richard Hackman of Harvard laid bare the five critical conditions that mark the difference between success and failure. Given that these trying times are requiring your team to do more with less and that the ultimate secret of supply chain success often boils down to cross-functional teams managing needs from product inception to final product disposal, successful teams are more important than ever. Here are Hackman’s five basic conditions of effective teams and ultimate success:

  1. Teams Must Be Real
    People need to know who’s on the team, who’s not, and who has what responsibilities. A virtual team or vague team concept won’t get the job done.
  2. Teams Need a Compelling Direction
    Members need to know what they’re supposed to be doing together. Without a clear direction, there is a real risk that different members will pursue different agendas.
  3. Teams Need Enabling Structures
    Teams with poorly designed tasks, the wrong mix of members, and un-enforced norms gravitate towards trouble.
  4. Teams Need a Supportive Organization
    The organizational context must facilitate teamwork in a manner that is conducive to the team and its members.
  5. Teams Need Expert Coaching
    A focus on individual performance does not necessarily improve the team. Teams need to be coached as a group in team processes.