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Rigid Patterns – Four Reasons Why Teams Fail

Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork. New potential employees are usually already assessed in job interviews and assessment centers either directly or covertly as to their ability to work in a team and how he or she could contribute individual skills to the existing team in a beneficial way. Teamwork is undisputedly the key to long-term success for many organizations. But what if precisely this success does not materialize? Was it due to the strengths and weaknesses of the individual person, the general circumstances, the motivation? The reasons are often much simpler than you think.


It’s all in the mix

Companies are often mistaken in selecting the relevant criteria for the team’s composition. Why? Because the same type is sought for several vacant positions. This seems only logical, because certain characters are best suited for known requirements. Without a certain team balance, however, it will be difficult to meet the variable challenges of everyday professional life in an appropriate manner. Or do you think that a five-person team of five self-centered, confident personalities hungry for success will reach a consensus quickly and smoothly? Exactly. Neither will five reserved, introverted and cautious types come to a decision quickly.


Caught up in the target

No doubt, goals and their attainability are indispensable for success. Unfortunately, these requirements usually come from the outside, i.e. from the team leader or often even from one or two hierarchy levels above. Since team members are not involved in the decision, a latent pressure arises from the beginning and the pending question about the target’s achievability. If the team were to be involved in the decision, it may even happen that the team target, based on the joint evaluation of the collective performance, would be higher than the team leader’s original intent. Grave difference: the team believes more in the jointly worked out goal than in one that is given externally.


Everything within bounds?

In order to promote out-of-the-box thinking and room for creativity, it is recommended to create a comfortable environment in which creative minds can develop individually and as a team. It would be desirable for team members to have access to each other at all times, but to also be able to withdraw when necessary. Since both appear to be impossible simultaneously, companies use different communication, tasking and file-sharing software to connect their teams. Real, creative and fruitful collaboration, however, often falls by the wayside in this manner as team members are not in the same place together. This influences the results and the team's success considerably, as for example feedback in real time and the joint achievement of intermediate goals improve not only the outcome but also the sense of togetherness. New types of virtual work spaces represent an alternative, in which the team can exchange ideas and work together without time delays and without actually being in the same room.



Too much planning

Good preparation during planning is essential for a successful project. However, some teams take planning so seriously that there is no room for creativity. Countless meetings are held in advance, only to define 50 ways to get from A to B, and then choose the seemingly best one. Instead, it would be so easy to get started together and overcome any possible obstacles and creative inhibitions as a team. After all, the exciting thing about a project is still its implementation, and not its planning. All it takes are the team members, the necessary tools and data as well as the respective tasks.

There are endless ways to be successful and have fun in a team. Perhaps a small general tip: plan less and act together right from the start - Get things done!