This stage involves setting up partnerships and team relationships in all areas necessary to achieve the global objectives of the business and to support candidate programs and projects. The composition of the team must be aligned with business direction. Teams are composed of team members who possess the competencies and interests globally, across functions, suppliers, and customers that support the broad business plan. Teams are set up at each gateway level of the program, beginning with worldwide partnerships down to program and project teams. The stage is important because integration at every level requires commitments and trusting relationships between key company stakeholders.
The concept of integration is often not associated with people in a work setting as much as it is with systems and equipment. In a social or political setting, integration has meant many things to many people, such as, racial and religious integration and economic integration. But the concept has rarely been applied to organizational dynamics. Other concepts, e.g., team harmony and team alignment, refer to teams where team members contribute according to their capacities and support each other.
However, team integration as used in this book is more than a simple team concept. It is not the question of whether the team members get along. It is, rather, grounded in the need for the team to be integrated across the organization and across the global marketplace in which it is working. Team members reach out to various support systems and stakeholders of the organization and to the customer base, and bring value to the team. There is true integration when team members create team value because they are connected to key forces and factors outside the team. For instance, an engineer on the ITS team is in direct contact with governmental regulations that govern the dimensions and performance characteristics of the ITS. Thus, his or her engineering contribution is informed by the external constraints and conditions, which the project product must meet.
Virtual team tools are utilized to integrate people across geographical boundaries. Thus integration is not spatial; it is informational. The integration of ideas is facilitated by online working relationships and teleconferencing, and customers and suppliers are integrated into team deliberations through online tools. This is true integration of the team into the global fabric of the business and its constituency.
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