Why Work Teams Fail

Most of us have worked on teams that, for whatever reason, never really achieved the results expected.  With all of the focus on the importance of teamwork, why do teams fail so often?  Research by The Ken Blanchard Companies has identified the top 10 reasons for a team failing to reach its potential. 

  1. Lack of a sufficient charter
  2. Unsure of what requires team effort
  3. Lack of mutual accountability
  4. Lack of resources
  5. Lack of effective and/or shared leadership
  6. Lack of planning
  7. Lack of management support
  8. Inability to deal with conflict
  9. Lack of focus on creativity and excellence
  10. Lack of training

How do you avoid these pitfalls? Here’s a checklist of seven key elements (represented by the acronym PERFORM) that can help you remember the components of a high performing team: 

  • Purpose and values. A high performing team needs both a clear sense of what the desired  goal is, combined with a common set of values that will serve as the ground rules for how the group will work together.
  • Empowerment. The team needs to have the authority to act and make decisions and choices with clear boundaries. Groups that are limited in their ability to carry out recommendations suffer.
  • Relationships and communication. A high performing team is committed to open communication. People need to feel that they can take risks and share their thoughts, opinions, and feelings without fear.
  • Flexibility. Successful teams prepare for shifting conditions by making sure that everyone has responsibility for team performance, development, and leadership.
  • Optimal productivity. This includes a commitment to high standards and quality. Team members hold each other accountable and strive for continual improvement.
  • Recognition and appreciation. High performing teams take the time to provide feedback and recognition. Recognition reinforces behavior, builds esteem, and enhances a feeling of value and accomplishment.
  • Morale. Finally, high performing teams monitor morale to make sure that team members are enthusiastic about their work, proud of their results, and feel pride in belonging to the team. 

How’s your team doing when it comes to these seven elements?  To learn more about the ways you can improve your current—or planned team projects—be sure to check out the teams resources available in the Outcomes section of the Blanchard website.



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