The way we use the term team has profound ramifications. If we use the term loosely to apply to a group of people who happen to live near each other, or who share only a general purpose (e.g., “to plant churches in London”), then we lose the power inherent in the practice of teams. Anyone who has been a member of a healthy team knows the creative synergy that produces far beyond the sum of individual efforts. This potential exists when a team is formed around a common, compelling goal. When a team is formed merely because of shared affinity or geographical proximity, we lose this potential.
A team is a group whose members work interdependently to accomplish a task. Accountability is built in because team members are committed to the same goal and know that their individual contributions are vital to success of the team. Member care is also built in because team members know they must care for one another in order to stay together and accomplish the work. A team that meets this definition is not necessarily a healthy team or an effective team. But if you’re going to become a healthy team, you’d better start by becoming a real team.