We are going to explore a generative interpretation of teams by engaging with the “constitutive conversations” of teams. A constitutive conversation is one that “constitutes,” or brings something into existence. Our interpretation is built on the anatomy of action, that actions are generated and shaped by conversations. The conversations we are going to engage with are those that generate a team, teamwork, roles on teams, and the actions and results of teams.
We are looking for the prior conversations that set the context and coordinate the actions of people in groups that we call teams, and that determine the rigor, power, and effectiveness of their coordination. This interpretation is generative because the conversations that constitute teams are observable, executable, learnable through practices, and generate the outcome that we call an effective team. As coaches, this enables us to be observers, practitioners, and coaches for these conversations and the teamwork that they produce.
Teams are part of the constitutive conversations of organizations, part of their conversational anatomy. We have already worked with the initiation and coordination of action, managing commitments, capacity, breakdowns, and satisfaction (the MAP), as well as moods and emotions and team practices of coordination in the TMAP. With these conversations of teams, we are growing a body of non-discretionary interpretations of what generates organizations and their effective action, as well as enabling us to diagnose what is missing when there is dissatisfaction and breakdown.