As our project Social team was discussing turnover and its impact on teams, I began to think about the subject from my usual prospective.  Turnover is bad! In her post over at the Bacon Hut Lyn agrees with the concept that turnover is not a good thing, my other partner Laura is not necessarily in agreement. Laura’s post on the subject is on her blog Working Girl

While we have all the usual reason for thinking turnover is bad… loss of experience, moral, re-training, recruiting, state unemployment effects – you know the list.  Then I though about it from the other prospective,  could turnover be a good thing?  As I contemplated this concept in my mind I was served a drink by a flight attendant.  I was mulling this over on a recent trip.

Meanwhile, as I thought about teams, it dawned on me that the flight attendant who just  served me a drink was on a team of people. In fact, there were

Flight attendants working as a team

four people on her team on this flight. This team however will disband at the end of the day, with part of the team to re-assemble again to make a different team.  Those teams go on and function day in and day out.

I thought about myself, as an ice hockey official.  I come together with one or two other officials to call a game.  Some of the other officials, I work with routinely and some of them once only, again then the team disbands.  There are probably thousands of other teams that come together for an hour a day, a week or some other predefined period of time (e.g. a construction crew, or movie crew).  Then it is over, the team is disbanded and it’s is on to the next team.

How is it that these teams work – and usually work well?  Could it be that the turnover, the disbanding of the unit is good?  When I come to a rink to officiate a game, I am there for the task at hand.  Even if I have shortcomings, my partners will cover for me or vice-versa. The flight attendance invariably seem to know what their jobs are and they execute them well.

I look at these types of teams and wonder what is unique about them that makes them work well? Is it training?  Is the job so well defined there is no question about what has to be done?  I wish I could figure this out.

If I could, I could take what works from the temporary teams and hopefully project that on the static teams.  The teams I am speaking of are the teams of work groups that assemble day in and day out together. The teams that seem to fret over seemingly silly details of the day or they stew over one and others behavior for many different reasons.

I am going to continue to ponder the seeming success of the temporary teams verses the omni-present of the highly visible trouble team – we all have on of them and could name them at a moments notice.