It’s a great question and not one I’ve given enough thought to answering. So here it is.
A Vital Team…
…is clear on the unique value that it brings to its organization and to the organization’s customers.
…creates clarity about each member’s role and is explicit about how those roles can and should be in tension with one another.
…spends its time together on the issues that can only be solved together and doesn’t impose on individual members’ accountabilities.
…advises, challenges, debates, envisions, but does not decide. Teams are not suited to decision making.
…has high levels of trust in the capability, reliability, and integrity of members that make candid communication possible.
…seeks out diverse, discomforting perspectives to improve the richness of discussions and the quality of decisions.
…approaches uncomfortable issues and embraces productive conflict through open, positive, and constructive discussions.
…creates cohesiveness internally without becoming insular from other teams.
I’m sure I’m missing a few, but these are the ones that really differentiate a good team from a vital team in my experience. Vital teams are not as harmonious, not as smooth, not as easy as you might imagine. They are fiery, bumpy, and uncomfortable but they are always clear on their obligation to the organization and always investing in the kind of team dynamic that will allow them to deliver on that mandate.
What makes your team a vital team? Or what is holding it back?