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From a Marketing Group to a Marketing Team

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Many marketing managers fail to appreciate the differences between a group and a team. Marketing groups are comprised of people who perform a variety of important functions, and marketing teams interact with entities that are outside of their organizations. The difference is that while a group is a collaborative unit that consists of experts without a strongly defined status hierarchy, a team is an executive unit that follows a single leader and speaks with a unified voice. Groups sit down, as equals, to discuss strategies or feedback within their organizations. Marketing teams follow their leaders' directions.

Common Misconceptions That Prevent Groups from Becoming Teams

Most marketing managers harbor the following misconceptions about marketing teams:


  • marketing teams’ missions should be indistinguishable from those of their companies

  • managers’ “personal reporters” should always be on marketing teams

  • the true end products of teamwork are guidelines and standards for those outside of the teams

  • the roles of marketing team members should be consistent with their organizational roles

  • formal team leadership should always be exercised by the senior member or the member who holds the highest position in the organizational hierarchy
Managers who have one or more of these views will invariably create working groups instead of creating teams. It is not a team, but rather a group, when:
  • it has no distinct collective purpose

  • membership is defined by official position and not by relevant skills

  • it does not generate products of joint work effort

  • its leadership is determined by external hierarchy and not by internal need
A team is a united body of individuals with complementary skills who are bound by a common purpose, philosophy, and performance goal.

Five Principles That Help Create Great Marketing Teams

1. Becoming a team should not be the primary objective. Too many managers intend to form teams and end up forming working groups instead because they focus on slogans such as teamwork, cooperation, and togetherness. A team should be defined in terms of its performance opportunities and performance challenges that require the collective and complementary efforts of its members.

2. Team members must be selected based on their relevant skills. Team memberships should not be determined on the bases of relationships or organizational positions. In a team, the complementary skill sets of members matter more than the statuses of those members outside of the team.

3. Team leaders should be chosen based on attitudes and skills. Formal positions or seniority should not be determining factors when choosing a team leader. Effective team leaders are effective because of their attitudes and beliefs. They deeply believe in the purposes of their teams and in their teams’ members. They know when to take active control and when to let go. They never assume that they are solely responsible for every important decision that needs to be made.

4. The team should follow a single set of rules. Team members should be mutually accountable for the team’s performance and should follow a single set of rules.

5. The team should recognize the value-as well as the limitations-of a working group. A working group should face challenges by identifying the areas where some of its members need to coordinate and those where a team is not necessary. Teams should not be formed without distinct purposes from the onset.

No amount of rhetoric can turn a group into a team. Only performance challenges, discipline, and mutual accountability can produce a team that is more than the sum of its parts.
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Popular tags:

 cooperation  leadership  senior members  beliefs  team of people


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