Life and Death of Team

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The life and death of a team is documented in this short research paper. This paper was hands on research that allows imput to the way teams work as a unit or a cell. It shows us that working as a cell is not totally critical, but it is crucial.

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Life and Death of Team

  1. 1. Asya Bell Fine Design Team Process BUSGR 545-01 2009 Busgr 545-01 Final Paper
  2. 2. Outline Title Page 1. Introduction of the Fine Design Team 3 HPT by definition in relation to Fine Design 4 • Interpersonal Dynamics • Common Themes (operational and employee value) 2. Help Discover Strengths and Simplification 6 3. Life and Death of a Relationship built on Team Strength 8 4. Help Discover Weaknesses 10 • Five dysfunctions of Teams Graph 5. Conclusion 11 2|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  3. 3. Introduction Hello, my name is Asya Bell and I have chosen to do a research paper on a team that I was a part of in May 2009. The name of this team was “Fine Design” and this team’s project was to inform the class of the process of “Designing a Team”. This team formed through a selection process of four random classmates that just happened to sit near one another. The team did not appear to be assembled strategically on a single circuit by a higher authority. Our professor informed the class of an assignment that was worth a great deal for the basis of our overall grade in this class. I originally wanted this team to be the type of team that I could learn from and lead! After careful review of my team, I was not so sure of leading or learning anything from my team. Have you ever began a project with co-workers and soon realized that you were completing more work also at a much faster and much more efficient pace! "Well if you have then you obliviously met Fine Design"! I would like to analyze with you the strengths and weaknesses of Fine Design as a whole. I would like to inform you of factors that placed this team in compromising positions. There are 3|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  4. 4. also examples where simple solutions can allow for further growth of the team. This team experienced stress factors that began the moment the team signed up to become partners. This team was informed that (we will use values A,B,C and D as values for Fine Design group members) teammate A will be out of the Country at the time that the assignment is due for presentation in class room setting. This in turn leads us directly into non-verbal communication as a stress factor that was viewed as positive and negative! Fine Design also discovered de- motivating factors that could have led directly into threats of productivity. I think that Fine Design as one entity has overcome many obstacles in the road to project completion for this task. This school project team experienced everything that your normal work team will face. Fine Design worked independently and incredibly to make this assignment a successful passing grade or project (or so I believe). In order to truly say that Fine Design was a High Performing Team we must analyze its mishaps, dysfunctions, communication and most important its overall outcome. High Performing Teams A High Performing Team by definition is a team that exhibits quantum leap in business results in less than a year and is successful in all key dimensions (Mark Hanlan, 1952). Fine Design has experienced stress factors such as Teamwork via Technology, Attendance, Experience or lack of and Expectations in determining if they were indeed a HPT. One of Fine Designs first major obstacle was the interpersonal dynamics. All team members exhibited encouragement of one another’s viewpoints. All members were open and excepting to ideas and concepts for the project. However team member A was very dominate in this process but team 4|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  5. 5. member A was also the member that was not going to be in town during the presentation purpose. This leads me to believe that A was attempting to become a very dominate force in this project due to the reality of possible absence during the preparation and presentation portion of the project. It" can't be proven" that A was only encouraging because of his lack of physical presence. It "can be said" that A was attempting to leave his trademark on the project to ensure “A” received credit for the proposed project outcome. While working on this team there was a great deal of gate keeping taking place from C and D towards member B. Group member B is what we can label as the dreaded “SOCIAL LOAFER”. Group member B was always late for group meetings, complained about staying for more than one hour, was not a great communicator and refused to complete any computer related work. Therefore, during the reflection phase, following phase and standard setting phase team member B was not effective for the overall project. In order to achieve HPT standards you have to effectively communicate with all involved. The team members C and D in an ideal environment should not have experienced these negative attributes from B. A well-rounded team member, who possesses exquisite technical, task management, and interpersonal skills, is a statistical rarity (Leigh L Thompson, 2008, p. 92). Common Themes While Fine Design worked on their project from afar and up close, the entire team had one common goal. "Success"! The group members worked independently and cohesively on several aspects of the project. The group worked well while determining what the outline of the project would consist of. Members A, C and D worked together while determining what the project would consist of. A, C and D all decided how to present the project to the class. They also determined the content and the power point information that was to be used. This is where 5|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  6. 6. the team begins to divide due to A’s departure to another country. At this moment, the tension rises among team members and it appears that the theme for success has decreased. Members C and D are now the face of the project. Member B begins to give less and less to other members of the team. It appears that B has drawn away from the group. This is also where the “single dimension”(C and D are only focused on one way of completing the project-meet up and go over the work for presentation, no phone, no email{because B refuses to communicate via technology}) way of thinking comes into this project. It is said, “When a team focuses solely on a single dimension, other pressures often increase significantly” (Mark Hanlan, 1952, p. 21). The members C and D have now imposed what may possibly be defined as an irrational expectation on B. Member B may have already felt as if there was originally a single dimension system put in place regarding Fine Design. It was unclear to C and D that this system may have placed an unrealistic agenda on B. It can be stated that if the communication was effective in its delivery, Fine Design may have never experienced disadvantageous effects at this phase. Discovery of Strengths and Simplification There are ways to determine where the strength lye’s' within any organization, group or individual. This also holds true to Fine Design! There are factors that must be considered. While Fine Designed worked on their project and continued to stumble into roadblocks within their own group, they could have initially found out where their individual strength was located. If Fine Design had taken advice from, www.virginia.edu/processsimplification.com in alpha phase, their conflicting ways (single dimension strategy) would not have arisen. At this website, you can find many useful tips and guides when you are working in teams, even alone. This website could have asked Fine Design some extremely valuable questions that they may never 6|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  7. 7. considered. If member C and D would have asked “Do members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and when to achieve the goal”, “In a successful team: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to achieve team goals” http://www.virginia.edu/processsimplification/doc/TeamLeadership.doc numerous variables may have changed. Single dimension may have played a vital role, but member B may have responded differently! Examples: Roles Do members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow a more skillful member to do a contain task? Members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow more skillful members to do a certain task. Decisions Are authority and decision-making lines clearly understood? In a successful team: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood. Conflict Is conflict dealt with openly and considered important to decision-making and personal growth? In a successful team: Conflict is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-making and personal growth. Personal Traits Do members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized? In a successful team: Members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized. Norms Are group norms set for working together and are they seen as standards for everyone in the group? In a successful team: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for everyone in the groups. Effectiveness Do members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together? In a successful team: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together. Success Do members clearly know when the team has met with success and share in this equally and proudly? In a successful team: Members know clearly when the team has met with success and share in this equally and proudly. http://www.virginia.edu/processsimplification/doc/TeamLeadership.doc 7|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  8. 8. Even though these are only a few examples, they are crucial questions that should have been addressed at the start of the project. "While answering these questions can become difficult at times"! It could have still played a crucial part in the developmental phase of the initial project, aided in the discovery of strengths, and simplified the project. 8|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  9. 9. Life and Death of a Relationship built on Team Strength While Fine Design worked steadily on their assignment, it has been stated that working on your individual strength and team’s strength at the same time will ultimately help design the type of environment that will play favorable for the ending project result. “One of the mysteries of the human condition is that we are all born with unique gifts. One estimate argues that we can each do something better than any 10,000 other people. Those who find a way to discover their talents and develop them are often regarded as lucky, gifted or excellent in their chosen field. But we are all capable of following this path if only we are allowed to or shown it. This is perhaps the greatest service that a manager can perform for his or her team.” (www.smartads.info/view-authors/?bio=EricGarner). This is very insightful about the average human. I think this is crucial when you are working with a group. “If Fine Design would have heard this phrase while developing there project, there would have been less confusion during the planning phase”! It would have been less confusion because the team would have introduced this theory and applied it to the project as well as themselves. Fine Design would have looked at themselves as a project. I truly believe that this strength theory should have been applied. If the strength theory were, implemented Fine Design would have been able to help each other discover their strengths and weaknesses. They would have also been able to focus on individual strengths, develop these strengths, manage their weaknesses and combine people with complementary strengths. Fine Design could have grasped the concept of exiling the single dimension way of thinking from the start of the project. Team members “A” and “B” could have worked on special projects together since there were major time constraints for them. They could have worked on theories prior to “A” going out of town. That would have allowed “B” the 9|Page A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  10. 10. opportunity to complete project portion early versus “B” running into time constraints at the end of the project. There could have been numerous opportunities that could have arisen that would have played an even more favorable outcome while alleviating stress factors during this project. Help Discover Weaknesses The “Strength Theory argues that just as we each have unique strengths, so each of us has weaknesses” (www.smartads.info/view-authors/?bio=EricGarner). In this theory, there are three major points that are made. The first is that weaknesses can never be turned into strength no matter how had one tries. The second is even if you devote all your resources to improving a weakness, it will only ever be improved to the level of average, no more. The third is while all your energy has been devoted to improving the weakness to reach average standard, you could have wasted time and energy that could have gone into improving the strength (www.smartads.info/view-authors/?bio=EricGarner). In this weakness theory I think that team member “C” could have allowed each member to find there weakness and expose it during the initial stage. If this were to have taken place all team, members would have held this project to a new standard. All members would have known exactly what not to expect to be completed from individual team members. I think that all team members would have been able to focus on what was needed for the project and all members would have know exactly how to go about attaining what was needed and what team member to get it from. If the weakness theory were applied, I know that team members would have corresponded much more effectively with team member “A” since the issue with this member was distance. I think that with team member “B” everyone in the group would have understood the importance of verbal communication and lack of timing. 10 | P a g e A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  11. 11. With team member “C” everyone would have understood that controlling the tempo of the assignment and the "everything has to be completed as soon as possible" was the only way that this member knew how to approach the project. With team member “D” the group should have been able to focus on the group work as “a whole is better than the sum of its parts”, since this member has never worked in a group setting prior to this project. For Fine Design as a whole, I know that the weakness theory would have played a critical role throughout the project if it were implemented throughout the entire project. I also think that the weakness theory is more powerful than any other theory that has been introduced during this paper because it really gives you a focal point of understanding what will “NOT” work and what will “Never” work for everyone. I think that says a lot for a group of people working together, because it sets the standard, and let us face it we have standards with all that we do in life. Inattention to RESULTS Avoidance of ACCOUNTABILITY Lack of COMMITTMENT Fear of CONFLICT Absence of TRUST 11 | P a g e A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  12. 12. www.virginia.edu/processsimplification/doc/TeamLeadership.doc The graph above is a great example of the discovery of weaknesses that team members may face. This graph also shows us what to look for while determining an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. While Fine Design faced many obstacles, the graph shows us what the typical obstacles that team members usually face. In accordance with this graph, Fine Design did receive the five typical dysfunctions of a team. If this graph were to have been introduced during the initial phase of the project I believe that there would have been less stress, less lack of commitment, more time delegated for the project and the team would have planned the project prior to team member A going out of town. Conclusion In conclusion, Fine Design faced many obstacles on their road to project completion. The obstacles that they faced were manageable and they could have been overcome. All group members should have allowed each other the opportunity to extend their educational in addition to personal and professional growth into this project. "Once you have evaluated all team members and align them with their true strengths, the project at that moment becomes explosive"! Even though Fine Design did experience stress factors, de-motivating factors, single dimension way of working and thinking and lastly communication via information technology they refused to allow these negatives to get in the way of the projects productivity. In addition, even though Fine Design did not start as a high performing team, the final project showed only high performance. While evaluating the team based on its overall performance I pose the question; “Is a high performance team only a team that can exhibit quantum leap in results and is 12 | P a g e A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  13. 13. successful in all key dimensions”? I think the answer is no. I think that the only way a team can be considered a high performance team is to perform beyond its noted potential and perform beyond the clients’ expectations and in the case of Fine Design beyond the professors, classmates as well as the team’s overall expectations. 13 | P a g e A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  14. 14. Reference Page 1.) Hanlan, Mark (1952) xviii High Performing Teams 2.) Leigh L Thompson (2008) Making the Team, A guide for Managers. 3.) www.askteamdoc.com/index.php/2005/10/10/assessing-your-organization-for-team- strength/ 4.) www.insightinstitute.com/building-personality-strengths.html 5.) www.managesmarter.com/msg/content_display/incentive/e3i90f5972ce0b39bdf4eb4a1111bc8d 6.) www.smartads.info/view-authors/?bio=377&Author=Eric_Garner 7.) www.virginia.edu/processsimplification/doc/TeamLeadership.doc 14 | P a g e A. Bell BUSGR 545-01
  15. 15. 15 | P a g e A. Bell BUSGR 545-01

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