In the best of all possible worlds, teams are formed deliberately and carefully to meet work needs that an individual or a group of individuals cannot meet as effectively. Although many groups are called “teams”, not every work group is a team. In a work group, performance is a function of what its members do as individuals. The focus in a work group is individual goals and accountabilities. A team’s performance is measured primarily by the products produced collectively by the team.
Teams share certain characteristics, including a clearly defined purpose (mission) and goals. Teamwork is defined by a shared commitment both to the team’s process (how the team works together) and to its product (what work the team accomplishes). This commitment to team process is demonstrated through the development and use of team norms and groundrules, a willingness to pay attention to group process, and a sense of mutual accountability both to the members of the team as individuals and the team as a whole.