Effective Teams


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  • As a result, teams are becoming an increasingly common feature of the modern workplace.It is vital, then, that educators provide their students with both knowledge and practice in team learning. (Magney, 1996, p. 564)
  • Larger teams become difficult to coordinate, while smaller teams usually lack the resources to do a thorough job.
  • Drach-Zahavy & Somech (2001) found that homogeneous teams are far less effective than heterogeneous ones (p. 121). At the same time, they also learned that “unless team members learn to work together, their aggregate cognitive endowment can become a net liability” (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 120).
  • According to D’Andrea-O’Brien and Bruno (1996) “Learning teams need to commit to norms and principles that encourage attitudes and behaviors that support learning and provide guidance for the team to govern itself…teams that explicitly set such norms tend to be more successful and productive than those that rely on more implicit processes” (para. 10). The team charter should include mutually agreed upon team goals and objectives, ground rules, and guidelines. All members of the team should clearly understand what is expected of them. The chartering process serves to both empower the team and prevent conflict.
  • Taking an inventory of team members’ KSAs gives the team a sense of empowerment and belief in its own efficacy, and also increases efficiency and effectiveness.  Doing so is particularly important when teams are highly diverse.  Without this step, it is often difficult for team members to fully understand where one another are coming from, which can lead to conflict.(D’Andrea-B’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 7)   
  • In effective teams, all team members have a clear understanding of what is expected of them, and of what success will look like. Furthermore, they are all fully aware of the deadlines involved, and have committed themselves to fulfilling their obligations in a timely fashion (D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 6). In effective teams, all members of the team have participated in establishing goals and objectives, and therefore they buy into them strongly (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112).
  • Effective teams have a plan to meet their goals and objectives, and that plan is tied to a delivery schedule. Simply completing a project or task does not necessarily mean the team is successful:“For clients, each day an intended deadline is exceeded may bring financial loss” (Gevers, van Eerde & Rutte, 2008, p. 295).The Project Management Institute (PMI), developed the project management framework to deal with endeavors of a temporary and static nature. The project management framework consists of five process groups containing 42 processes. The planning process group accounts for 20 of the individual processes known to increase the probability of successful project completion (PMBOK, 2008). The fact that nearly 50% of the project management framework is dedicated to planning points towards its significant role.
  • Research shows “close relationships between frequency of meetings and team performance” (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 113). Meetings should be thought of in terms of the burden rate foreach participant. Often times meetings are unproductive and inefficient due to the lack of structure. There are many methods for structuring meetings to make the most of each participant’s time. The 4P model is a method for designing and implementing effective meetings. The four key steps are: specify the purpose of the meeting, invite the right people, carefully plan the meeting content and format, and effectively manage the meeting’s process (Whetton & Cameron, 1991).
  • Research shows that “team learning results in improvements in detecting and identifying problems, scanning the environment, and producing creative solutions, all of which might be crucial to team innovation” (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112). This reflection is facilitated through open and honest dialogue (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 121).
  • Research shows that when teams exchange information to a high degree, it enables them to more effectively analyze problems, better assess the usefulness of potential solutions, gain a more complete and accurate understanding of the needs of various stakeholders, devise interventions and solutions that are better suited to the organization within which they work, and have more realistic expectations (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112).
  • It is important that all team members participate fully in establishing these goals during the chartering process at the outset of the team’s collaborative efforts (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112). In addition to agreeing upon group goals, effective teams also take the the time to get to know one another, and feel a strong sense of unity and attachment to one another as a result (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 114). In the process of getting to know one another, effective teams recognize that each team member has a vital contribution to make; knowing how much one’s teammates are relying on one can serve as a strong motivator in and of itself (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 114).
  • In highly effective teams, diversity is viewed as an asset, not a liability. Team members’ differing ideas about team goals and approaches to tasks only make the team as a whole that much more likely to be able to be able to come up with innovative solutions to problems (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 113)
  • Communication is complex. Effective teams recognize this complexity, and are careful in their communication with one another – careful to express their ideas as clearly and respectfully to one another as possible, but also careful to make sure that they both understand and are being understood (D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 8). In effective teams, team members succeed in overcoming their individual fears of rejection (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 122), and the team environment is one in which it is safe to take risks. Feedback is given in a thoughtful and sensitive manner. When conflicts do arise, tempers are first allowed to cool, and then a mutually beneficial solution is sought in a calm and reasonable manner (D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 8).
  • Being part of a team can be an extremely exciting and rewarding experience, and team work can yield outstandingly creative and innovative results. However, in order to be able to reap these rewards, it is important to remember that a lot of careful planning and attention to process is needed at every step along the way.
  • Effective Teams

    1. 1. Effective Teams<br />Learning Team C: <br />IssacAzevedo, Katherine Maloney and NivedithaTanguturu<br />University of Phoenix Online<br />COM/705: Communication Strategies<br />March 28, 2011 <br />Instructor: Dr. Doris Sweeney, PhD <br />
    2. 2. Introduction<br />Teams have been found to be the most effective way of dealing with the rapid pace of change that is so characteristic of the modern world. <br />(Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 111)<br />
    3. 3. Optimum Team Size <br />Learning teams work best with four to five members. <br />(Magney, 1995, p. 568)<br />
    4. 4. Heterogeneous Teams <br />The more diverse the team, the more likelythatitwill have the resourceswithinit to find solutions to complexproblems. <br />Heterogeneous teams are also more likely to be able to innovate, but members must pay close attention to the way in whichtheyworktogether, sinceconflictisalso more likely. <br />(Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 113)<br />
    5. 5. Team Charter <br />Before they start working together, effective teams take the time to agree on norms and principles that will guide their work. <br />(D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, para. 10)<br />
    6. 6. Inventory of KSAs <br />Effective teams have “a clear understanding of the strengths of their members, their knowledge, skills and abilities,” right from the outset. <br /> (D’Andrea-B’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 7)<br />
    7. 7. Setting Goals and Objectives <br />Effective teams have a clear idea of what they want to achieve (D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 6). <br />
    8. 8. Planning <br />Effective teams recognize that planning is mandatory for success. They break down tasks into manageable chunks (D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 5) and respect deadlines (Gevers, van Eerde & Rutte, 2008, p. 295).<br />
    9. 9. Frequent and Efficient Team Meetings <br />Effective teams meet frequently. <br /> (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 113) <br />Meetings are carefully planned and structured. <br />(Leigh, Aranda & Robbins, 2001, p. 93)<br />
    10. 10. Learning<br />Effective teams regularly reflect on the team’s objectives, strategies and processes (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112), and undergo continual growth and development (D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 5).<br />
    11. 11. Exchanging Information <br />In effective teams, team members share knowledge and experience and learn from each other. <br /> (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112)<br />
    12. 12. Motivating <br />In effective teams, each team member is fully committed to the team’s goals. <br />(Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 112)<br />
    13. 13. Negotiating<br />In effective teams, team members show respect for other team member’s views and ideas, even when these are extremely different from one’s own. <br />Team members in effective teams are open to each other’s ideas, and influence each other’s thinking and behavior. <br /> (Drach-Zahavy & Somech, 2001, p. 113)<br />
    14. 14. Communicate <br />Effective teams engage in genuine and on-going dialogue with one another. <br />(D’Andrea-O’Brien & Buono, 1996, p. 8)<br />
    15. 15. Conclusion <br />Effective team workdoes not happen by accident. <br />Successful teams payjust as much attention to process as they do to product. <br />
    16. 16. References <br />Chen, A. N. K., Hwang, Y., Raghu, T. S.(2010).Knowledge Life Cycle, Knowledge Inventory, and Knowledge Acquisition Strategies. Decision Sciences, 41 (1), 25. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5915.2009.00258.x<br />D'Andrea-O'Brien, C., & Buono, A. F. (1996). Building effective learning teams: Lessons from the field. SAM Advanced Management Journal (07497075), 61(3), 4. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />Drach-Zahavy, A., & Somech, A. (2001). Understanding team innovation: The role of team processes and structures. Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 5(2), 111-123. doi:10.1037/1089-2699.5.2.111<br />
    17. 17. References, Con’td<br />Gevers, J. M. P., van Eerde, W, Rutte, C. G. (2009). Team self-regulation and meeting deadlines in project teams: Antecedents and effects of temporal consensus. European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, 18(3), 295. <br /> DOI: 10.1080/13594320701693217<br />Leigh, T., Aranda, E., & Robbins, S. (2001). Tools for teams: Building effective teams in the workplace. Pearson Custom Publishing, Boston, Ma. <br />Magney, J. (1996). Teamwork and the Need for Cooperative Learning. Labor Law Journal, 47(8), 564. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />Project Management Institute (2008). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. (PMBOK Guide). Upper Darby, PA. 1996. (Ed. Duncan et. Al.)<br />