Activity 2

Introduction

 

Course Overview

Teams have become a principal building block of the strategy of successful organizations. Whether the focus is on service, quality, cost, value, speed, efficiency, performance, or other similar goals, teams are the central methodology of most organizations in the private, non-profit and government sectors.

 

With teams at the core of corporate strategy, your success as an organization can often depend on how well you and other team members operate together. How are your problem-solving skills? Is the team enthusiastic and motivated to do its best? Do you work well together?

 

In most teams, the energies of individual members work at cross purposes. Individuals may work extraordinarily hard, but their efforts do not translate into team effort, and this results in wasted energy. By contrast, when a team becomes more aligned, a commonality of direction emerges, and individual energies harmonize. You have a shared vision and an understanding of how to complement each others’ efforts. As jazz musicians say, “You are in the groove.”

Learning Objectives

  • Provide an opportunity for participants to get to know one another and share ideas for developing their teams
  • Understand the value of working as a team
  • Recognize the critical role communication skills will play in building and maintaining a team atmosphere
  • Explore your team player style and identify how it can be used effectively with your own team
  • Identify ways that team members can be involved and grow in a team setting


 

 

What is a Team?

 

What is a team?

Team, unit, club, gang, group, clique, panel, committee, task force—their related words and their alternative definitions confuse people.

 

What is your definition of a team?

 


 


 

Types of Teams

 

Knowing the type of team you are in can help you choose how to plan your work and what you expect as outcomes. There are many types of teams; we are going to discuss the five most common.

 

The Traditional Model

A grup of people who have a traditional boss but who also share some of his/her responsibility and authority. How much is shared is usually dependent on the topic under discussion. A person is in charge, but on various issues, that person may allow other team members to take the leadership role.

 

The Team Spirit Model

This is a group of people who are happy working for one boss, and everything seems to be going well. These people have team spirit, but in reality they aren’t a team because one person calls all the shots, with no sharing of authority or responsibility.

 

The Cutting Edge Model

This is a group of people who manage themselves. No one person in the group has the authority to make all the decisions about the events that impact the group. This is referred to as a self-directed work team because everyone has authority and responsibility for all the decisions they have to make.

 

The Task Force Model

There is a group that comes together for a specific time to work on a special project or task. This group has traditionally been called a “task force” or “committee” and may include “quality circles” as used in TQM efforts.

 

The Cyber Team

In this team model, members see one another infrequently or not at all. These are called “cyber” or “virtual” teams. What makes these teams different is that they have to work together to accomplish goals, but they may meet only at the beginning of their project and thereafter interact through e-mail and telephone. They can also fit any of the four models listed above.


 

Establishing Team Norms

 

Characteristics of Teams

 

What are some benefits and barriers to working in teams?

 

 

Benefits

Barriers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                          


 

 

Highly effective teams have:

A clear, elevating goal

A results-driven structure

Competent members

Unified comitment

A collaborative climate

Standards of excellence

External support and recognition

Principled leadership

 


Why Teams Fail

 

Environmental Influences:

  • Physical separation prevents members from meeting frequently.
  • The team is not given adequate resources to do the job.
  • There is no recognition of team effort.
  • There is a lack of recognition by the organization or its leaders that a team exists.

 

Goals:

  • Members do not participate in setting goals.
  • Goals are unclear.
  • Goals are not communicated.
  • Everyone is doing his own thing without attention to team goals.

 

Roles:

  • Responsibilities are poorly defined.
  • No clear leader is identafied.
  • There is buck-passing of responsibility.
  • Members engage in power plays for authority and control.
  • Members refuse to recognize their interdependence and act as if they were independent.

 

Processes:

  • Decisions are always a crisis situation.
  • Decision-making is dominated by one person.
  • Communications are one way—top down and channeled through the leader.
  • Minor points are debated endlessly.
  • Meetings are unproductive with the issues unresolved.
  • Meetings cover trivia versus significant issues.
  • Actions are taken without planning.
  • Members work individually and ignore each other.
  • Members are late for meetings or do not attend.

 

Relationships:

  • Members are unwilling to be identified with the team.
  • There is disguised conflict between members.
  • There are severe personality conflicts.
  • Relationships are competative.

 

 


 

Team Contracts

 

A team contract outlines the ground rules for the team. It is created and then monitored by the team. Some people get offended by the idea of a team contract; it’s not ideal in every situation.

 

Sample Team Contract

 

Code of Conduct

As a team we will:

  • Operate in a proactive manner, anticipating potential problems and working to prevent them before they happen.
  • Keep other team members informed.
  • Focus on what is best for the team as a whole.

 

Ground Rules: Participation

We will:

  • Be honest and open
  • Encourage a diversity of opinions on all topics
  • Give everyone the opportunity for equal participation
  • Be open to new approaches and listen to new ideas
  • Have one conversation at a time

 

Ground Rules: Communication

We will:

  • Seek first to understand, and then to be understood
  • Be clear and to the point
  • Keep discussions on track
  • Use visual means such as drawings, charts and tables to facilitate discusion

 

Ground Rules: Problem Solving

We will:

  • Encourage everyone to participate
  • Encourage all ideas (no criticism) since new concepts come from outside of our normal perceptions
  • Build on each other’s ideas

 

Meeting Guidelines:

  • The meeting begins and ends on time
  • We have an agenda for every meting
  • Cell phones and pagers muted

 

Each member then signs and dates the contract.