My wife and I have been enjoying going to the zoo during the member appreciation days. It's been fun to watch and talk with the zoo keepers as they are feeding the animals. Last wednesday, we watched them feed the elephants. The interesting thing was that we always noticed that they kept the elephants separated. Someone asked, "Why?" The answer was simple, yet surprising: The elephants didn't get along. This got me thinking. Isn't it funny that we expect people to just get along when we randomly throw them on a team?
I've always believed that teams should pick their members. The most successful teams I've been on have all liked and respected each other. Sometimes the universe did align and I got on a random team thrown together that everyone magically jelled. But, that's only happened twice. It's easier to find people that all get along in small teams because the more people the more conflict and communication there will be. It's important when interviewing people that they interact with everyone on the team. Technical skills can be taught, but if someone rubs you the wrong way, then they are better being on another team. I firmly believe that there's a team for everyone.
Colloboration is richer in smaller teams that respect and like each other. The synergy is incredible. I just find it funny that even in the wild, not all animals get along. But, in the corporate and business world, we expect people to be randomly slammed together and just get things done. It just doesn't happen. Why build the team morale when you an start out of the gate with one kick ass team?