Did you know there is a difference between “teamwork” and “teaming”?    I didn’t either until I watched a great TED talk by Amy Edmondson, which you can watch here.   It’s called “How to Turn A Group of Strangers into a team”.


Edmondson suggests that teamwork is what sports teams do.  Teamwork is:


–a bounded group of individuals

–interdependent in a shared outcome

In other words, teamwork involves a group of people who stay together for awhile and get to PRACTICE.


By Contrast, Teaming is “teamwork on the fly”.  It’s more like a pick up game, with people thrown together into a team project with little or no time to practice!


Teaming is VERY common in today’s world of fast-paced, 24/7 global operations.  We just don’t have the luxury of creating stable teams. Expertise changes, roles shift rapidly — often don’t have fixed time or fixed deliverables.

Teaming is hard, potential for “professional culture clash”.


Here are the Required Skills for being successful in teaming.  Be:

  • Humble in the face of the challenge ahead. Leaders need to be clear they don’t know how to do it.
  • Curious about what others bring
  • Willing to take risk to learn quickly what might work


This all creates psychological safety, so essential for new teams.

The point:  We can get things done in silos, but when we reach across groups, miracles can happen.