Work in teams to drive performance


essential previous learningNone

Working in Teams

Increase effectiveness and productivity

Key Learning Outcomes

  • Recognise that a team should have common purpose.
  • Differentiate between a “working group” and a “team”.
  • Understand the characteristics of an effective team.
  • Recognise the benefits of a high-performing and effective team for your business.


In their Harvard Business Review article, “The discipline of teams”, experts Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith define what makes a team different from a group of people that simply work together. They define a team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable”. They state that to be considered a team, a group has to have this common purpose, and that the best teams translate this into specific performance goals, have an agreed set of standards and communicate regularly.

In small- to medium-sized businesses, knowing how to create and work in teams becomes critical when there are limited people and financial resources. For a business employing 5, 10 or 20 people, the consequences of the group not performing are much greater than for a much larger organisation employing 5,000 people. In this article we focus on learning the difference between a working group and a team, and look at some of the characteristics that are commonly found in highly effective teams.

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