Today’s Corporate World is not about individuals, it is about teams. Individual growth does matter, but the bottom line is highly dependent on how a team performs as a whole. Management studies reveal that the success of an organization is actually a manifestation of how different teams in the organization have performed. One man alone cannot run the show. With this statement it would be apt to explain at this stage the meaning of a Team.
A team is basically a bunch of people who are interdependent with in terms of sharing of information, resources, and skills and who seek to combine their efforts to achieve a common goal. There are five key characteristics for a group to qualify as a ‘Team’ as described by Alderfer & Hackman.
- Teams exist to achieve a shared goal.
- Team members are interdependent regarding some common goal.
- Teams are bounded and stable over time.
- Team members have the authority to manage their own work and internal processes.
- Teams operate in a social system context.
Well, with so many teams in an organization, there is bound to be a certain amount of competition among teams. Lets take a very easy to relate example of IT industry. Easy to relate because, it is a big industry and quite a majority of people working today are associated with the IT field.
Now, within IT firms we do have a software development team, quality team, a technical support team etc. Likewise, there are various projects. So, does competition exists between these various teams? Of course, it does. So how does a Manager manage this situation? Too many questions, lets pick it up one by one.
The various teams that we discussed like the developers, programmers, quality and tech-support sure have a competition. Since, these are specific skills and inter-dependent of each other, the competition may not always be healthy. So, the best way would be to divide these teams, not on the basis of skills. It would be a good idea to have teams, where in people of different skill sets are put together as one team. As we mentioned, IT companies also have Projects. Supposedly, there is a project in banking then there is one in travel and the third in education sector. Successful implementation and completion of projects requires people from all these skill set groups.
So, depending on the interest area developers can be put in different projects and like wise the quality people and programmers. There can be a common tech support team, who provide support to all the project teams. See, how different the dynamics of a team have become in no time. The competition is still there, but this for sure is a healthy competition and the most beneficial for the management. In this scenario people of different skill set are a team. All projects would try to do their best and fair well at the end of the year. People with different expertise now have a common goal to achieve targets for the project. This is what a healthy competition is. The management benefits with this type of a team formation as all projects, would try to do their best and since, everyone is putting an effort the results in all areas will be good at the end. Well, individual managers still have to play judiciously to keep individuals in their teams happy. As a manager, they certainly need to understand an individual goal and should make the effort to align the same with team goals. Competition at all times has to be healthy a negative competition can have a boomerang kind of effect on the entire team and the organization. Negativity is not good in any given scenario. This example has been fairly simple to understand the dynamics of team work.
We said many things like team goals and aligning of individual goals with team and so on and so forth. But, lets face it at the end of the day, everyone out there is for individual growth. Having a team based incentive system can be a potent tool for aligning team and individual goals. Target setting, for individuals have to be designed and set in a manner that the targets set for individuals are in alignment with team targets. In the past decade, incentive plans and variable salary have been the favorite area of study for Compensation & Benefits Guru’s. The study of incentives these days is all about team incentives.
Studies have proved that if managed well, inter-team competitions generate higher amount of incentives. Thus, working in teams and inter-team competition certainly is important for the health and growth of an organization. No wonder the, that in the modern economy more and more corporate are adopting to team style of working.