Think of one more thing not to do.

Merelea, Camden Maine

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My experience is that teams are naturally occurring phenomenon -- that is effective teams. In a word, they essentially create themselves. Or more formally, Self Organize. This occurs 1) whenever there is an issue/task of critical and common concern. 2) The team members essentially self select, and join because they care to. 3) The issue/task itself is so complex that no single person nor small group could even start to get their minds around it. 4) There is a vast diversity of opinion, stakeholders, whatever. 5) High levels of passion and conflict (a sign of passion) surround the issue/task. 6) A sense of urgency exists -- This need to be done NOW!

Given these conditions an effective working team will form. Provided it has the space/time to do so. 

Negatives would include: Planning everything. Creating an organizational structure and/or agenda. Attempting to control the process and results. To the extent that any of these negatives occur, the team will perform less than optimally. Given maximum effort at all of the above, it is possible to preclude all possible positive activity. Which is usually experienced as, "One more meeting." 

A useful approach for those seeking to enable such effective teams is to start by Thinking of one more thing NOT to do. Such things as -- No preset agenda, no facilitators....

Supportive experience (for myself) includes 30+ years of working with self organizing teams, both naturally occurring (the majority) or artificially induced. Under the latter heading would appear the 350,000+ iterations of Open Space Technology which have occurred (nobody counted) in 146 countries, involving millions of people.

I'll try and keep up here online but a) this is summer in Maine. and b) I am definitely geriatric -- also called slow. If you are in a rush for information you can do the following:

Google my name (Harrison Owen)

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Harrison Owen

How do you define a Team of Teams (this isn’t a test!)? What is an example of one that you have experienced or seen?

A group fo folks getting together to do something they consider useful

TEAM COMPOSITION: Are there any specific roles and/or attributes that you believe are necessary for an effective Team of Teams?

Not that I have ever found.

TEAM COMPOSITION: Please share any challenges you've experienced related to putting together a Team of Teams. How have you overcome these challenges?

Don't do it. That's working much too hard. If the issue/opportunity is present and real, The Team will appear (or not). You can "encourage," "enable" -- but never coerce or create. Seems to work pretty much all by itself.

TEAM COMPOSITION: Are there any successful approaches to creating a strong team that you would like to share?

Stay out of the way.

GOAL SETTING: In your opinion, how should we measure success for Team of Teams projects?

Did they do the job?

GOAL SETTING: In previous Team of Teams efforts, please share any challenges in either setting or achieving project goals. How have you overcome these challenges?

Any goals that were preset always (my experience) hobbled the team, sent them in the wrong direction, or prevented them from realizing new opportunities, previously unseen.

GOAL SETTING: Please share any successful approaches to goal setting for a Team of Teams project:

Ask them.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY: Do you have a successful approach for ensuring financial sustainability of Team of Teams projects?


COMMUNICATION: What communication challenges have you experienced with Team of Teams in the past? How did you overcome them?

Folks talk to each other when they have something to talk about. They will find a way. The challenges usually occur when somebody mandates The Official Communication mechanism. The fun part is that people just work around it.

COMMUNICATION: Please share any successful approaches to communicating across a Team of Teams:

Get them together in shared time/space all around shared issues/tasks. And THEY define what is shared.

DECISION-MAKING: Have you experienced any challenges related to decision-making within Team of Teams? How did you overcome them?

Effective teams make critical decisions all the time with never a vote or "process." Happens all the time. Things get pretty well screwedup/slowed down when we formalize the affair.

DECISION-MAKING: Do you have a successful approach related to decision-making within Team of Teams?

let it happen

FEEDBACK: Have you experienced any challenges in receiving (or giving) feedback related to a Team of Teams project? (paragraph)


FEEDBACK: Please share an ideal feedback process:

talk about it

REWARDS & INCENTIVES: Please share any ideas for incentives or rewards that would compel you to participate further in Team of Teams projects:

Something that needed doing that I cared about

TIME MANAGEMENT & PRIORITY SETTING: Have you experienced any challenges balancing Team of Teams work with your day-to-day tasks?


TIME MANAGEMENT & PRIORITY SETTING: Do you have a successful approach for doing both Team of Teams work as well as your program-specific work?

just do it

Is there anything else related to Team of Teams you would like to share?

Have fun. And if it ain't fun, it ain't a team.


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