Why Teams Fail

My son is involved in a lot of different teams as well as musical groups. Most of the teams and groups are doing fine. However, one of his musical groups is not doing well. Yesterday, 4 out 5 band members declined to participate in a scheduled event. What surprised me most was the confusion and lack of communication amongst the band members and their parents. No one seemed to know what was happening or where it was happening, or, more importantly, why.

So what went wrong?

I can think of a few reasons why this particular group had issues.

Lack of alignment with a vision and mission: the group had no mission or vision. There was no operating context for their activities. Basic questions such as “What is the reason that this group exists?” and “What are we hoping to achieve?” had not been discussed and resolved.

Lack of clarity around roles and responsibilities: the group had not clarified various roles and responsibilities. Who leads the group? How are decisions made and communicated?

Lack of communication.

This incident created some tension and some frustration. And a potential learning experience. A team needs to rally around a common purpose and a shared set of values. And this holds true for any team whether it is a group of musicians, a volunteer team or a team at work. Hopefully, this group will reflect on what happened and talk about the fundamentals before they take on another gig. I think there are a few other issues that this group will need to resolve as well.

A team that does not share a common purpose is not a team. And that was certainly demonstrated yesterday. I spoke at length about this topic with my son.

2 replies
  1. Matt S
    Matt S says:

    Very insightful entry!

    The team dynamic in musical groups causes a lot of headaches, quite often. Maybe this explains guys like Don Ross. hehe

    Musicians are a funny lot. =D

  2. Stephen Meyer
    Stephen Meyer says:

    I recall personally being involved in groups like this, it’s a terrible thing. But isn’t a lack of communication responsible for many of the problems we have in society: failed marriages, churches, rebellious children, (and I would personally argue) secularization in general. It is a terrible thing when people cannot communicate well together, it may be even worse when they simply choose not too.


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