We hear a lot about team-building activities and what we need to do to bring teams together so that they are better able to work as a cohesive group. Sometimes these activities involve getting to know each other on a little deeper level, and understanding what everyone brings to the team, and other times it involves organizing the team to be the most effective it can be. No matter the goal of team building, there is follow-up work to do as well, and that is team maintenance. Often teams get off to a great start and then when the excitement of the new project or assignment wears off, the team begins to lose energy. It is important to continue to encourage teams to do things that keep them engaged. Jon Katzenbach wrote in The Wisdom of Teams, that high performing teams must, among other things, have a commonly-agreed upon working approach, and mutual accountability. These are things that must be agreed on before the work begins and that the team leader or someone on the team is watching to make sure they are in place and, in the case of mutual accountability, are being monitored.
Working in teams can be a very satisfying and productive method, but even the best teams need a tune-up from time to time. Make sure that your team(s) is intentional about being the best it can be. Great teams are no accident!