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The Wisdom Of Teams

The Wisdom Of Teams

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The Wisdom Of Teams

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  1. The Wisdom Of Teams

  2. The Wisdom Of Teams • Definition: * “A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” * The Wisdom Of Teams, Katzenbach and Douglas, Harvard Business School Press, 1993.

  3. Team Basics • Key Concepts: • “Small number of people” - Five is ideal, nine is too many • “Complementary skills” - All experts • “Committed to a common purpose...” – Meaningful purpose • ...”performancegoals, and approach” • “Hold themselves mutually accountable” – Not managers overseeing them (autonomy)

  4. Uncommonsense Findings • Teams naturally integrate performance and learning. • Teams are the primary unit of performance for increasing numbers of organizations.

  5. Resistance to Teams • Lack of conviction or clear purpose • Personal discomfort with groups and risk avoidance • Individual contributors vs. team players

  6. Questions to Ask to Make Teams Effective • Small enough in number: • To convene, communicate easily and frequently? • To have open and interactive discussions? • To understand everyone’s roles, skills, needs?

  7. Questions to Ask to Make Teams Effective • Adequate levels of complementary skills? • Functional/technical, problem-solving/decision making, interpersonal • New skills needed? • Diverse enough?

  8. Questions to Ask to Make Teams Effective • Specific Goals? • Unique to the team? • Clear, simple, measurable? • Realistic as well as ambitious, challenging? • Priorities clear?

  9. Questions to Ask yo Make Teams Effective • Sense of mutual accountability: • Individually and jointly accountable for team purpose, goals, approach, and work products? • Can progress be measured against specific goals? • Is there a sense that “only the team can fail,” not individuals?

  10. Approaches to Building Team Performance • Collaboration improves when the roles of team members have clearly defined and understood. • Even better when people feel their role is bounded in ways that allow them to to do a significant part of the work independently (AUTONOMY) • More likely to collaborate if the path to achieving a goal is left somewhat ambiguous (AUTONOMY, problem-solving challenge)

  11. Leader or coordinator’s role is to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined for each specific project. • Leader or coordinator’s role is to ensure that each team member understands a project’s purpose, importance (urgency), and objectives (PURPOSE)… • … but leave the exact approach to the discretion of team members

  12. Instituting a Team-Based Approach • Teams must be supported by effective systems: • Management assigns mission. • Team writes charter, decides on approach.

  13. Team evaluates progress, reports it. • Meets regularly as a team (online or in person). • Team evaluates its own performance. • Satisfaction surveys (internal and external) • Performance coaching • Effective post-mortems on each section • Team debriefs after project completion. • Feedback to individual members. Kaizen • Team disbands, regroups, or continues.