A team is a group of people who are committed to a common goal, work together, and help each other. “One for all and all for one” is the guiding principle. The measure of success is team success. Individual goals are secondary. Everyone knows that if the team goal is not achieved, individual goals are meaningless.
A committee may look the same. It is a group of people who come together with the purpose of achieving a common goal. But that is the end of the similarity. The members of the committee do not place the common goal above their personal goals. Each committee member’s primary role is to represent his constituency – the people who sent him. He may want to achieve the common goal – if it is in the best interests of his group.
Which one do you have? The behaviors are pretty clear. In a team, everyone is focused on the common goal. In a committee, everyone is focused on what the goal means to their group. In a team, everyone is authorized and empowered to make decisions. In a committee, everyone needs to “check back” before they are able to commit. In a team, decisions are made by consensus, based on the best solution. In a committee, decisions are made through compromise, and usually require a vote. Teams focus on finding the best solution. Committees develop compromises that satisfy their individual groups.