The Country Club Team

The Four Types of Teams (Part 2 of 4)

You’ve been asked to join a new committee at your organization. The committee is tasked with a business-critical mission that needs to be resolved in the next fiscal quarter. The stakes are high, so it makes sense that you’re nervous as you head to your first meeting. 

Your fears are quickly put to rest. The head of the committee is a charismatic leader who assures you and the team that you’re well suited for the task at hand. What’s more, the conference room is filled with an elaborate spread for your first meeting. You’re used to coffee and donuts, but mini eclairs? Chocolate fondue? Things are looking up!

The initial meeting is spent getting to know committee members from other departments. You brainstorm, and the group chemistry and speed of ideas is electrifying. It’s a good start, but you assure yourself that the committee will grow tedious. They always do. 

But you’re soon proven wrong. As the weeks pass, your meetings stay fresh and exciting. You’re bonding with the committee members like you’ve never bonded with colleagues before. You even find yourself wanting to socialize after work. You almost hate to say it, but work is feeling…fun. 

The committee chair takes time at the start of every meeting to check in on how each committee member is doing and often sends follow-up emails congratulating the team on its bold work. You find yourself sharing personal tidbits about your life, your family, your hopes, your dreams. All of your ideas are immediately validated and captured. However, new ideas quickly replace the old ones, so there’s no time to pursue a single thread.

The committee is having such a good time that no one quite realizes two months have slipped by without any tangible progress. Before you know it, the committee has been dissolved due to lack of results. The good times are over.

The above scenario is a classic example of what can be termed a country club team: a team with high vitality but low productivity. Country club teams are typified by a leader who prioritizes unity and morale over results. This often stems from the need to be liked. Being placed on a country club team can feel like hitting the jackpot, especially at first. But, over the long haul, country club teams are unsuccessful. 

When a team is unable to get results, its best and brightest members will naturally gravitate toward other functions. And although a country club team can be fun in the short term, it often leaves team members feeling empty when they realize that they have failed to accomplish their goals. Membership on a country club team is like eating cake for dinner: delicious at first but ultimately unsatisfying. 

THE TAKEAWAY: Vitality at the expense of productivity makes for an unsuccessful team. 

Stay tuned for Part 3 of 4: The Sweat Shop Team