When Teams Won’t Work


June 1, 2001

HR Magazine, June 2001A ​Team Effort

If an ounce of prevention is really worth a pound of cure, then employers need to know when not to try self-managed work teams in the first place. Darcy Hitchcock, president of Axis Performance Advisors in Portland, Ore., says these five no-gos can doom self-managed teams to near-certain failure:

  1. The organizational leader or champion of the team concept cannot guarantee a personal commitment for at least two years, perhaps due to pending transfer or retirement, organizational acquisition or merger.

  2. Employees do not have highly developed technical competencies.

  3. Employees work independently much more than interdependently.

  4. The work doesnt allow employees time to think, meet and discuss ideas.

  5. The company is not willing to commit the time and resources (including problem-solving resources) necessary for the teams to succeed.


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