The Wisdom Of Teams 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. 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 ...”performance goals, and approach” “Hold themselves mutually accountable” – Not managers overseeing them (autonomy) Uncommonsense Findings Teams naturally integrate performance and learning. Teams are the primary unit of performance for increasing numbers of organizations. Resistance to Teams Lack of conviction or clear purpose Personal discomfort with groups and risk avoidance Individual contributors vs. team players 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? Questions to Ask to Make Teams Effective Adequate levels of complementary skills? – – Functional/technical, problem-solving/decision making, interpersonal New skills needed? Diverse enough? Questions to Ask to Make Teams Effective Specific Goals? – – – – Unique to the team? Clear, simple, measurable? Realistic as well as ambitious, challenging? Priorities clear? 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? 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) 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 Instituting a Team-Based Approach Teams must be supported by effective systems: – – Management assigns mission. Team writes charter, decides on approach. – – – Team evaluates progress, reports it. Meets regularly as a team (online or in person). Team evaluates its own performance. – – Effective post-mortems on each section Team debriefs after project completion. – Satisfaction surveys (internal and external) Performance coaching Feedback to individual members. Kaizen Team disbands, regroups, or continues.