6 Reasons Why Teams Fail and How You Can Prevent It

6 Reasons Why Teams Fail and How You Can Prevent It

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.

– Babe Ruth

It is true – an organisation is just one huge team of people working towards a common goal! However, as simple as it sounds, a team is a complex dynamic system that needs to be managed!

There is always the possibility that you may have a team or teams that are nearing dysfunction, or may not be performing as expected. What causes this? Let’s take a look at some of the factors that are responsible for teams becoming ineffective.

Why Do Teams Fail?

Here are some of the common reasons why the teams in your organisation may not be succeeding-

1. Lack of Vision:

An absence of a clear and well-communicated purpose or vision to work will never allow a team to align themselves for success. Everybody sways in different directions when they don’t really know why they are working together, which leads to everyone making different assumptions.

Sometimes a team starts some projects with a vision, but just because team members interpret it differently, the vision gets muddled.

2. Unclear Roles:

There is nothing worse than not knowing exactly what you are supposed to do. When roles are not clear, it leaves people struggling to decide what to do next. This leads to team members focusing on some very primary tasks that help them feel productive, only to find out later that they had been wasting their time.

Without clearly laid out roles and expectations for each team member, they  may take on a task that does not suit their experience and expertise, which only sets up the team for failure.

3. Poor Decision-Making:

Most teams miss out on coming up with a good approach for decision making and fail in two areas. First is when they overthink decisions and waste a lot of time in the decision-making process. This leads to not coming to a decision at all.

The second is when they don’t spend enough time thinking through the decisions they make and get into implementation and thrash mode, only to give usp later or making it through bruised and wounded.

4. Fixed Mindset:

Many teams fail to grow or inspire due to their fixed mindset approach. Most of them fail because they have already assumed that they couldn’t improve, change, or re-frame their situation. This often means that the smartest or the most technical of the teams might get stuck right at one spot.

It is natural for some teams to assume that if they can’t solve a particular issue quickly using their standard approach, there is no solution.

5. Lack of Resources:

Lack of enough or appropriate resources is sometimes one of the major killers of a team as a whole. Sometimes this is the team’s fault, but most often it is the organization who chartered the team in the first place.

Not having the right tools, authority, and equipment will lead to a dip in the team morale and their commitment will also ultimately start waning.

What Causes Teams To Fail

6. Poor Dynamics:

Mutual respect is a must for a team to achieve results and maintain cohesion. Team members need to interact in a manner that’s productive. It is not enough to be an expert in one’s own field, what’s required to get the team dynamics right on track is to be an expert in communicating with fellow team members.

If team members distrust each other or overindulge in other’s work territories, they cannont achieve results. Team members must feel a sense of loyalty to the team as well as to each other.

What You Can Do To Keep Your Teams From Failing

Research done by Deloitte Consulting states that workplaces are slowly moving from the traditional hierarchical mindset to ones based on the teams’ model.

This has allowed us to combine the experience, skills, insights, and capacities of several individuals, which we must preserve as a team. Here are some ways to help prevent our teams from failing and helping them to work together as one unit!

1. Role Clarity:

Effective teams know exactly what they need to do and have regular discussions regarding who is responsible for what. They make efforts to ensure there aren’t any gaps in understanding between each member on the team. They have scorecards with key responsibilities, key performance indicators, and performance targets.

Then they merge their individual scorecards to create a role matrix which ensures that there are no holes or duplicates and that handoffs are tightly coordinated.

2. Growth Approach:

A team with a growth mindset never fails. Such teams are willing to try things that seem impossible at first and are willing to risk failure. They come to learn more quickly, discover new information and approaches, and pick up new skills and techniques along the way.

3. Smart Decisions:

Teams that evade failure understand the decision-making stages – input, consult, make, approve, and inform and have clearly decided who is involved in which stage.

Once in implementation mode, it is possible for them to move quickly because the right people have been included in the right way.

4. Well-Resourced:

If you want your team to never fail, give them all the resources at their disposal, everything they need to work quickly and with purpose.

How To Prevent Your Teams From Failing

Also, experienced managers know that they need to focus on removing roadblocks, and providing the right resources and information the team needs to do its job. Day-to-day decision making is best left to the team.

5. Purposeful Attitude:

As a team head, you need to ensure that your team has a compelling vision, a strong set of purpose and a common set of values. They should be excited to come to work each day and feel that they can take risks, share their thoughts, opinions and feelings openly as a team member.

Only then will they be able to have a clear common goal in head and march forward in that direction.  

Effective teams can achieve incredible results for an organisation. By paying attention to individual ambitions, and managing the collective effort, you can ensure that the teams in your organisation never fail!


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