Team Dynamics 



Individual and Team Results

What's important to understand is that the average person was not raised to be a TEAM PLAYER. They were raised to be an individual with individual goals. This is a mommy and daddy thing and is deeply imbedded in their being. Most players in a company are in it for what they can get out of it. In too many companies the individual fight to gain advantage for oneself is a much, much stronger force than working as a team. The individual is out to get the better job or the better BMW. I have heard rumors that many hospitals are now reporting a new problem with womb damage since many children are now being born with a briefcase in hand. The leader must work to overcome this and show the advantages of team playing.

To achieve results each team member must know what, they are responsible for and what their authority level is to accomplish these objectives. After the education and training process is complete give them the rope to run with. They won't be used to it at first but they will quickly catch on and will more than likely not abuse it. Just like the team leader that doesn't like interference from their manager the team player doesn't want a lot of interference from a leader either. A clear set of objectives from the beginning of a project is an excellent way to ensure that this authority will be used properly in balance with their responsibility. Giving them self control is one of the greatest motivational tools that a leader has. Believe in their creativity and the rewards will be forthcoming.

Another problem to overcome is our perception of what a team is. Many believe that a team is engineering, another would be sales, another would be manufacturing. These are not teams but a setup for civil war. Teams are cross functional and each individual becomes a part of the whole. Think of your company is the likeness of a baseball team. Are you that cohesive at working together? In baseball if a sharp line drive is hit to the second baseman and he/she bobbles the ball the shortstop is almost always behind them to attempt a recovery. If we looked at this in the analogous sense at your company and engineering was playing second base and they bobbled a ball (a major project) and manufacturing was playing shortstop what would they do: Probably laugh at them and make sure everyone else in the company knew that a mistake was made. It is the leader's responsibility to overcome this problem.

The best way to handle this is through clear definition of objectives that require multi-player efforts. Ensure that all assignments involve more than one department and that results can be clearly defined. Therefore, performance measures will be one of the first things established after the direction is set. People, when working together, can accomplish much more. They learn to respect one another and depend on each other, knowing that they probably cannot succeed at a task if they are doing it alone. There is something inside all of us that feels very good when we help someone else. Let's play on this fact.

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Measuring Personal Feelings About Ot//?Team

All teams should measure themselves at least once a week for how effectively they are working together. This will force them to converse openly with each other about the areas that they need to work on. There are 6 critical measurement areas for the team. These measures are not against the project but against the team itself:

It is best to use a scale of 0 to 5 in measuring each category. Anything below a 4 at any one meeting must be discussed by the group as a whole.

1. OBJECTIVES (0= Don't understand them / !5=Ob]ectives clearly understood)

l)o we know what our objectives are? Are we all working if i the same direction or have we somehow gotten off course. L ack of understanding objectives is a quick way to lose team commitment and direction. Ironically, oftentimes, th<e team does not even know that they have lost sight of wh ere they were originally going and get sidetracked. This happens easily so this is one area where the self imposed weekly measurement process has a tendency to really pay off. If the team has to perpetually ensure that their

objectives are understood by all then they will not be to eager to take on other issues that are unrelated to their real job at hand. Wish lists can often cause this. Stay away from them.

2. TRUST (0= High mistrust of each other/ 5 Near total trust)

Trust is an essential ingredient for a team to succeed. There is an exercise that teams perform to get the feeling of true trust for each other. It involves each member of the team (one at a time) climbing to the top a 12 foot ladder while blindfolded. They then fall backwards knowing in their hearts that their team is down below and will catch them safely (Think of it: Would you trust your team at work to catch you?). "If I can't trust you how can I work with you?" People do not naturally trust each other and for the leader to gain this trust among members takes a lot of time. Start by teaming people that naturally trust another person and then slowly put in other individuals are added one at a time where the trust is not yet there. Most often a lack of trust is simply caused by not knowing the other person. If this is the case time will probably prove victorious. If there is a natural dislike for another person this will take a lot of care and feeding. Forcing these people to work together and count on each other normally goes the distance and bringing it out.

To be Continued


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