Are you a part of a Team? Or, simply a member in a Group?

For many of you perhaps, Team or Group does not make much difference.
Or, you may not be clear what is Team and what is Group.

A Group or a Team? – Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO Rakuten Inc.
Every Monday at Rakuten, every single person cleans his or her workspace.
This has been the practice at my company even back when we had ten employees.
It doesn’t matter if you are fresh out of college or a senior executive – we all get on our knees and make sure even the legs of our chairs are polished. Even I do this.

Why is this important?
It’s part of what elevates us from group to team.
A group is a gathering of people, each with their own established roles.

Many people used the words team and group interchangeably, but there are actually a number of differences between them in real world applications. A team’s strength depends on the commonality of purpose and interconnectivity between individual members, whereas a group’s strength may come from sheer volume or willingness to carry out a single leader’s commands.

It is often much easier to form a group than a team. If you had a room filled with professional accountants, for example, they could be grouped according to gender, experience, fields of expertise, age, or other common factors.

Forming a group based on a certain commonality is not particularly difficult, although the effectiveness of the groups may be variable. A group’s interpersonal dynamics can range from complete compatibility to complete intolerance, which could make consensus building very difficult for a leader.

A team, on the other hand, can be much more difficult to form. Members may be selected for their complementary skills, not a single commonality. A business team may consist of an accountant, a salesman, a company executive and a secretary, for example. Each member has a purpose and a function, so the overall success depends on a functional interpersonal dynamic. There is usually not as much room for conflict when working together in this way.

As companies grow large, practicality dictates that responsibilities must be divided up. But this is the point at which many employees begin to think that their job is just fulfilling their own individual roles.

Some even go so far as to think that stepping outside their established roles is wrong.

This is not a team. This is group. Indeed, this is a herd of sheep. It will never be successful.

To be a team, each individual in the organization must act beyond their own responsibility and in the furtherance of others.

For each individual on a team, every job is a kind of war, every job is a competition. Unless you win, nothing has meaning. To be successful, each member of the organization must cultivate the mindset that they alone hold the fate of the organization in their own hands.

Only a group of people sharing that mindset can be a team.

A team comprises a group of people linked in a common purpose. Human teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

A group does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.

Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond his or her limitations. Teams can be broken down into from a huge team or one big group of people, even if these smaller secondary teams are temporary. [1]

A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.

Thus teams of game players can form (and re-form) to practice their craft/sport.

Theorists in business in the late 20th century popularized the concept of constructing teams. Differing opinions exist on the efficacy of this new management fad.
Some see “team” as a four-letter word: overused and under-useful.
Others see it as a panacea that finally realizes the human-relations movement’s desire to integrate what that movement perceives as best for workers and as best for managers. Still others believe in the effectiveness of teams, but also see them as dangerous because of the potential for exploiting workers — in that team effectiveness can rely on peer pressure and peer surveillance. However, Hackman argued that team effectiveness should not be viewed only in terms of performance. While performance is an important outcome, a truly effective team will contribute to the personal well-being and adaptive growth of its members.

Compare the more structured/skilled concept of a crew, the advantages of formal and informal partnerships, or the well-defined – but time-limited – existence of task forces.

Independent and interdependent

Categories by subject

  • Executive team
  • Command team
  • Project teams
  • Advisory teams
  • Work teams
  • Action teams
  • Sports teams
  • Virtual teams

It’s time to act towards the larger goal

[Above write is inspired by Shibani Ajgaonkar]


Suresh Shah, M.D., Pathfinders Enterprise

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