Organizations increasingly rely on teams to generate the ideas, products, and services that enable them to remain competitive and successful. And there are good reasons for doing so. In recent decades, there has been a virtual explosion of knowledge in nearly all fields, which has enabled an ever-growing complexity of processes, products and services. Individuals can no longer keep up with these developments. The best they can do is to become specialists in a particular field. But this specialization typically comes at the cost of breadth of knowledge. Organizations, however, need both breadth and depth of knowledge. They can strike this balance by assembling teams of people who are experts in different domains. Indeed, cross-functional and interdisciplinary teams are often viewed as one of the best hopes for organizations to meet the incredibly challenging demands they are now facing in globalized markets. When persons with different skills, knowledge bases, experiences, and perspectives work together towards a common objective, they can draw on a much broader range of resources than individuals can. Teams have the potential to not only get more work done than individuals, but also better - that is, more creative and innovative - work. But this is by no means a foregone conclusion. Oftentimes teams fail to realize their full performance potential because of suboptimal team design, poor leadership, inadequate communication, or high levels of dysfunctional conflict.

Team performance has been argued to be equal to the sum of individual performances plus process gains minus process losses. An effective team is one that produces results that could not have been achieved by its members working individually. A successful team is a team that is synergistic - a unit in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In this course, we will explore what managers can do to enhance the likelihood that they will generate positive synergy. And we will examine what they must do to avoid the also relatively frequent negative synergy found in teams that results in the whole being less than the sum of its parts. We will explore the five main factors (“The 5 C’s of Teamwork”) that together paint a complete picture of how to get the best out of teams: Clarity, Composition, Cohesion, Carrots, and Communication.