On any team, open lines of communication between its members hold the team together. A team of 3 has 3 connections; a team of 6 has 15; a team of 12, 66.
What this means is that the larger the team, the more opportunity for communication breakdowns and the bigger the impact on group productivity and individual contribution.
A team really can’t function when communication between even two of its members are fractured, let alone when several team members aren’t really talking to each other or don’t trust each other.
It’s not that different from a complex building whose strength and longevity depends on a framework of beams – each connected to multiple others. Each, on its own and as part of a network, is crucial to structural integrity.
Or that small crack in a windshield that – left there too long – can shatter with just a small amount of stress.
Or the fault line on which houses will crumble when the pressure becomes too much and The Big One hits.
So if we think that as team members a rift with another is just between him and me or her and me, it isn’t. The group’s success depends on each of us to get off the fault line and find common ground.