BUILDING EFFECTIVE TEAMS In this age of rapidly changing technology, market-driven decision making, customer sophistication, and employee restlessness, leaders and managers are faced with new challenges. Organizations must build new structures and master new skills in order to compete and survive. As work settings become more complex and involve increased numbers of interpersonal interactions, individual effort has less impact. In order to increase efficiency and effectiveness, a group effort is required. The creation of teams has become a key strategy in many organizations. Team building is an essential element in supporting and improving the effectiveness of small groups and task forces and must be a key part of a total program of organizational change. Hellriegel, Slocum, & Woodman (1986) state that team building is used to improve the effectiveness of work groups by focusing on any of the following four purposes: setting goals and priorities, deciding on means an methods, examining the way in which the group works, and exploring the quality of working relationships. A cycle then develops; it begins with the awareness or perception of a problem and is followed sequentially by data collection, data sharing diagnosis, action planning, action implementation, and behavioral evaluation. This style is repeated as new problems are identified. Not all work groups are teams. Reilly and Jones (1974) list four essential elements of teams: goals, interdependence, commitment, and accountability. The members must have mutual goals or a reason to work together; there must be an interdependent working relationship; individuals must be committed to the group effort; and the group must be accountable to a higher level within the organization. A good example is an athletic team, whose members share goals and an overall purpose. Individual players have specific assignments they are responsible for, but each depends on the other team members to complete their assignments.