A Foreward Look at Teams

In education, we are fairly late to the power of teams and lag our corporate, engineering, and design peers.  About a decade ago, the use of teams in those fields was exploding.  Years later, there was a corresponding bust as leaders began to realize that their teams weren’t highly effective.  To combat this problem, they developed a myriad of processes and controls to make their team more effective.  Now, in a reassessment and realignment, the new move is to smaller teams.  Michael Schrage at the Harvard Business Review points out that there is a counter trend in the works.  Concrete processes are less important when teams are smaller.  Freed of some of the shackles that come with these processes, these organizations are finding that slimmed down teams are highly effective.

As educators rely more and more on teams, this serves a healthy reminder to balance the size and effectiveness of teams.  While there is an inclination to include more people to either make sure that everyone is has a voice and can play a role in communication, too many people can cause reduced effectiveness.  In the end, our job is to be effective.

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