The Magic and Mystery of Teams
As manufacturing becomes more competitive, managers are diligently searching for new and innovative ways that increase productivity, multiplied the power of all employees, and better utilized every resource in order positively impact the bottom-line.
“Team” is a “Hot Trend” innovation that has been around for over ten years. We’re told that no one man is an island. Nothing of significant has ever been achieved by one individual. The sum of all its parts is equal to the whole.
A Canadian government survey found that group environments are less productive than non-team environments. This was something I learned recently. An unknown genius once said, “If it seems that you are too small to succeed, you have never been in darkness with a moth.”
Bacon and eggs make for a great breakfast team, while mashed turnips and egg don’t seem as good. Perhaps the first question to ask when a CEO invites a coach, consultant, or advisor to discuss options is, “Is it a team situation?”
Is there any situation in which a Team approach would not work? If so, how can you distinguish a Team-based scenario from another?
My philosophy professor taught us many years ago that to be able to argue for an idea or against it, one must define his axioms.
What does it mean to be a “Team?”
A group of people working together is right, right? Wrong!
What makes a group different from a company?
A fundamental principle of “Team”, is joint responsibility. Any situation where individuals are going be assessed, judged or rated according their individual accomplishment is not a group situation. Someone once said that individual achievements are what make a team win.
In a car dealership, salespeople don’t often share leads or offer to help one another. They are much more likely to steal clients from one another. Even though they become close friends and a senior representative mentors a junior salesperson, giving advice on prospecting, closing deals and assessing customers etc., this is not the same as a team. Although salespeople are often referred to as a “team”, they each have their own responsibility for the success of their area, territory or product line. No matter how determined and focused we may be to ensure that all salespeople deliver the same message and communicate in the same manner they are not a group.
Another important principle of team is decision making. Most groups strive for majority agreement. This means that seven people are in favor and five against. It is not the same with a group. Here, we need to reach consensus. All parties must support the final decision. To gain support from those that disagree, we need to continue asking for modifications. (If you delete, modify or add to this, are you able to agree? Unanimity must prevail. It is essential that we have unanimity.
Your sales team can be called “The Sales Team” if you want to keep it simple. However, don’t be deceived into thinking that your favourite hockey team will have the same winning attitude here. Instead, you should encourage positive mental attitudes and practices that improve the performance of individual players.
The “Management Team” function is also rarely called that. It is likely that managers will operate as a group when they come together to analyze performance and create a strategy for growth. The CEO has the authority to assign, delegate and impose policies on other managers. It is not a team atmosphere when a CEO brings together subordinates for a pep-talk, reviews the strengths of individual departments, and lays out new policies, directives, goals. Each group has its leader. A team needs a leader. Bosses are still necessary!
We can see that the concept of “Team”, when an enterprise is dependent on individual effort and each individual must take responsibility for its results, is not appropriate. The success of any enterprise where we have put all our eggs in one basket is dependent on the selection, coaching, mentoring, and training of the individual involved.
Also, it is possible that we can conclude that a committee, task force, or task force is a team when an enterprise is so important as to require tight control, high expertise, or quick, on-the-spot decision making and actions. (Some teams could be called a “Task Force,” but more will follow.
Why is it important?
To build a culture of cooperation, it is essential to have a sense of team. In “Gung Ho!”, the small book explains how to create a culture where everyone works together as a team towards achieving a noble objective. By Sheldon Bowles & Ken Blanchard. It is believed that everyone should accept their individual and shared responsibility for the overall corporate effort, the result, and share the dream and rewards. This is the key to achieving corporate objectives.
Examining organizations where teams have succeeded, we can see the obvious differences with non-team environments. Every tongue has the word “Team” in it. It is often used to refer to “the management and sales teams”, “the safety and security teams”, or “the productivity team”. We hear that Roberta and Sally were teamed up to …”,, while Bob and Tom produce …”, etc. The “Idea team” is something that seems to be constantly in focus. They, us, and them are heard far more often than me, she, or you.
A few key factors determine the success or failure of any group effort. Number of members, goal, purpose, skills required and available, approach or methodology and accountability are the key factors that determine whether a team is successful. Almost every time a team fails its objectives, it is because of a deficit in one or more these.
The best way to maximize effectiveness is to have at least twelve people. With little chance for individual contribution, more than twelve members are considered cumbersome and heavy.
Each member of the team must understand the objectives and the tasks that the group will be expected to achieve. Each person must also understand why he/she is part of this team.
All members must understand and agree on the goals. The team should be viewed as a strong force and the group must agree on this vision.
A TEAM DOESNT HAVE TO KNOW IT ITS A TEAM
I worked as a real sales representative for many years in a team setting. The management thought they had a nine-person sales team, nine outside representatives, an inside supervisor, and a senior sales manager. This was not a team, as there was no common goal or purpose (accepting more sales), no cohesion between territories and no joint accountability.
What the company didn’t understand was that every outside and inside pair was a definite team consisting of two. The outside person was the team manager, while the inside supervisor and the sales manager were mentors and coaches. Each team was jointly and collaboratively responsible for setting sales objectives in their territory. In most cases, the process resulted in natural teams that were competitive, strong, dynamic and successful. We even had a great sales manager who became a true mentor and coach.
The skills required to work in a team include communication, listening and goal setting. Whew!
You must approach the task with logic, simplicity, and Arif Bhalwani Net Worth thoroughness. This will ensure all aspects are understood and necessary actions are taken.
The group should be able to comprehend the criteria and accept the dynamics surrounding group accountability. The group must not allow any individual to take responsibility for mistakes or failures. It is not possible for one person to claim the glory. The entire team is responsible.
A lot of research shows that the focus on creating a team does not work. It is essential to keep the focus on the objective. Working together using the skills and experience of other people is a way to multiply the effectiveness of each individual. A team can only be formed when everyone is focused on the end goal. One even suggested that a group should not be called a “team”.
John C. Maxwell’s book, The 17 Indisputable Laws on Teamwork, stresses the importance for everyone to acknowledge that no one person can achieve anything worthwhile. Every baseball pitcher needs a pitching coach. Every batter needs to have a hitting instructor. Each great golfer relies on a coach. Every inventor is the result from the efforts of educators and others. Every politician, every businessman and every military commander is made more effective by the input and support of others. It is important to understand that each individual can unleash more power when they become a dedicated member of a collective effort.
A team is not meant to replace hierarchy but is an extension of it. It is an excellent way to integrate potentially conflicting units and functions. The teams achieve balance between short term and long term organizational building goals. This is achieved by turning long term goals in to definable performance criteria, and the development of the skills needed for them.
EXPERIENCE CAN TURN OUT TO BE A PROBLEM
Most people have been taught to think and do things as individuals. People are usually evaluated on their individual performance, individual effort, or individual achievement. It can be frightening to experience the unsettling, often terrifying, process of learning to cooperate in a group effort, to submit to the needs and accept failures from others.
Building a team requires that members have a clear vision and believe in the unavoidability of results. They also need to be able to commit themselves to the achievement of these goals. Walt Disney’s widow was asked to be part of the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida. This resulted from a lot of teamwork. When she was introduced, she said, “I wish Walt had seen this”, and she responded, “He did.” The power and potential of vision is incredible.
Trust, within and between the members of a group, is essential for its success. It takes time and effort. Trust is one such thing that must be built before it can truly be gained. Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People”, discusses making deposits now in order to make withdrawals later. It is hard to trust someone when you consider that your career is at risk. But, there are ways people can make it easier. Rewarding yourself with positive results and time will help you get stronger.
ROLE DEFINES WHAT TYPE OF TEAM YOU HAVE
There are three types. There are three kinds of teams. Teams that make or do something, teams who run it and teams which recommend things. (The Wisdom of Teams Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith. In the first two cases, it’s relatively simple to delineate roles, observe skills, and recognize contribution.
A task force is a group that recommends items. In this case, the roles of members are often unclear, skills are fuzzy, and contributions may not always be obvious. A member might not realize that her wonderful idea evolved from a comment made weeks ago by another member, or that she has had an important impact on the thinking of another member. Recommendation, after all, is the end result from thinking through options.
In the initial stages, members of task forces may attempt to overtake each other. This is common in a often competitive workplace. For self-defense to be prevented from becoming the norm, you need direction and guidance. Katzenbach, Smith and others concluded that success in teams comes from “the disciplined pursuit to perform”. Discipline is the main focus.