Imagine if at the end of basketball practice one day the coach says “tomorrow is the big game day. I want you all to wear your favorite jersey you can find laying around your house. Grab whatever ball or sporting gear that you like and then go to some field or court to play the game at 2:00 tomorrow. Chances are that I won’t be there.”
That would be more like recess rather than team sports. The above scenario does not embody what we would normally view as a team. Instead, this would be a whole bunch of people going out to play–whatever and wherever they want.
In conversation with a dear friend last week, I discussed the differences of a team and an association or a group. In working through some of these concepts with a “team” that is going out on mission, one of the leaders threw out the term community. That makes sense! This alleviates the pejorative connotation that comes with association of group in comparison with our much revered word team.
Undoubtedly, in mission there are some groups of people that are functioning as a team in every sense of the word. Others may function more as a community in most situations. While both will have a shared objective, only the team will have a shared strategy to achieve the ends.
Check out the latest blog on UC’s site to read more on this from my friend Bill Lewis: http://blog.theupstreamcollective.org/2010/10/04/were-a-team-right/