Many papers have been written about team management, and the production is going on. In almost each issue of Harvard Business Review, you can find a paper on this topic. But when you read them, you discover that most of them will teach you
how to manage an existing team
how to deal with conflicts in the team
how to rate each person of the team
how to plan meetings
and so on.
And almost nothing is written on the life cycle of a team, as if a team is built to be eternal.
The first step of the life of a team is building the team that is select
ing the persons who will work in the team.
The second step is consolidating the team, that is, giving them the spirit to work as a team.
If you miss these first steps, you can be as clever as you can in
meeting organization and conflict-solving: your team will never be as successful as they could have been if you had taken care of team building and team motivation.
The third step is managing the team with the sole motivation of keeping the team focused on their target. Along with this third step, the fourth step is protecting the team against external events, which may be considered by team members as aggressions and may turn them amok.
The fifth step is ending the team. As soon as the team achieves its goal, it no longer has any justification to keep going on. This step is largely ignored in the published papers, maybe because it is not the easiest.
We have a lot to learn from Aime Jacquet who was the coach of the French soccer team from 1994 to 1998.
His team played the European Soccer Championship in England in 1996 and did not win.
As France was the receiving country, the team was automatically qualified to play the World Championship, and they won.
From the very beginning, Aime Jacquet started building a team following what he thought the right way to have a successful team. And immediately, he was criticized on two points:
Mr. Jacquet is building a team without selecting the best players.
Mr. Jacquet is not able to explain and justify how he works.
During all the four years as a coach, he was blamed for all his deci
sions and blamed more when he postponed difficult decisions, called stupid, idiot, and other kind names.
A French newspaper campaigned for his resignation or his firing after each game of the French team. Aime Jacquet was responsible of the losses, and the team won despite the stupidity of the coach. But Aime succeeded in keeping the team focused, and finally won the World Cup. And the newspaper half-apologized, recognizing that Aime did a good job but had the help of a very great team.
To Be Continued
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