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‘If you want an exceptional team, keep your eye on the individual!’
‘There is no ‘I’ in team’
‘The team is more important than the individual’

Handling these paradoxes is the real challenge for teams! (David Whitaker: The Spirit of teams’)


  • a relatively small number of people;
  • with complimentary skills committed;
  • to a common purpose and performance goal(s) having;
  • agreed ways of working together;
  • for which they hold each other mutually accountable;

Source: Kaztenbach and Smith; The Wisdom of Teams

Becoming a top team is not a one step process; it takes time to get there. In fact it is an everlasting process, however good the performance, there will always be areas, which can be developed to generate improvement.

Top team

Source: D. Whitaker; The Spirit of Teams

A team should frequently ask themselves the following questions:

  • Which qualities are important to become the best team we can imagine?
  • How do we rate these qualities (using a 1-10 scale)?
  • Which phase of development are we in?
  • What behavior in your team hindered/helped to function effectively?
  • How can we improve as a team?

Improving team performance means focusing on ‘becoming aware’ (by reflecting upon the above questions) and/or upon taking responsibility (making the choice to really own the task).

Doing this takes a simple yet powerful and delicate intervention.


Reflecting upon the above questions generate awareness (input generated by the team members themselves). Main point is that everyone has had a top team experience in life. By remembering this experience, and putting it into words we stimulate both our own awareness as the team awareness. This will generate interconnectedness, because experiences will overlap, and common ambition.

By rating (on a 1-10 scale) the listed (proven) qualities, and exploring the development stage, awareness is generated around the present state.

Exchanging feedback on mutual stimulating and hindering behavior completes the picture.


Now the challenge is to act upon the generated awareness. This is about answering the ‘Who-What-When’ question but also about listing obstacles and ways around them

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