A team’s level of interaction can be put into one of three basic types: congenial, collaborative, or innovative.

Congenial teams work together nicely. There are no overt animosities or frictions. People are polite and civil. These teams get along.

Collaborative teams work together in a synergistic way to get tasks done efficiently. Sometimes these interactions will lead to new value being created. Production works with sales to forecast product mix and production schedules. Finance works with supply chain to minimize costs. These teams work along.

But being friendly, or even collaborative is not enough. Teams need to display the behaviors that will drive innovation and raise the bar, together.

Innovative teams can have tough conversations and make hard choices for the business. They can push each other to be highly accountable to commitments. They can make substantive and advantageous changes to the business AND they can maintain healthy relationships.

How far are you willing to go?

Are you and your team settling for merely getting along or working along?

Why not challenge each other and come up with new ways to get even higher levels of impact? I bet you can do that and still be the friendly, fun team that you want to be.

Having good, friendly relationships is the starting point for a team. But it is only a start. Teams can be convivial without interacting with one another in a meaningful way. Teams can collaborate with one another, but it does not mean they are pushing each other to create something new.

Leaders need to push themselves out of their comfort zones. They also need to push their teams to higher and more meaningful levels of interaction.