Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Techniques of Team Building for Organizational Development

Techniques of Team Building for Organizational Development Abstract In organizational development the team building process can benefit the corporation by grouping people together with common skills and providing them with a clear and concise mission and common goal. Team building is also a function that does not end when the team comes together, but is an ongoing process that runs throughout the project. Teams are a necessary part of organizations and will be important far into the future. The knowledge of team cultures and dynamics can be an invaluable tool for organizations. Techniques of Team Building for Organizational Development A Review of Forming and Managing Teams within an Organization A team is a small number of people with complementary skills, who are committed to a common purpose, set of performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable (Gordon p. 489). Teams are also described as groups of two or more people who interact and influence each other, are mutually accountable for achieving common goals associated with organizational objectives, and perceive themselves as a social entity within an organization (McShane 2010, p. 234). Since the beginning of time there have been teams such as hunting teams, where each member of the team has a specific task, but the overall goal for the team was to kill an animal for food. When man began building large structures there were work teams that would be in charge of producing the stones for the structure, work teams that would be in charge of moving the stones from the quarry to the structures construction site, and work teams that constructed the structure. The purpose of building teams is to allow employees to participate in the planning problem-solving and decision-making to better produce products and provide services. When companies grow they become more complex, therefore having groups or teams within the company allows the company to perform tasks more efficiently and effectively. An example of this can be seen in the automotive industry. Small car companies can have as few as seven employees performing specific skills to produce one vehicle at a time. Over time if this company is successful and begins to grow it will need to hire more employees. These employees will need to be placed into teams with each team performing a certain task or group of tasks in a certain area such as a body shop, and engine shop, a chassis shop, or an interior shop. Each shop has a group of employees that specialize in a particular area in the company that is necessary to produce the product. When the company was small one person could build an engine in a day for one car, but as the company grew more people are required to build more engines for more cars each day. There are various different types of teams: work teams, project and development teams, parallel teams, management teams, transitional teams, virtual teams, and self-managed teams. Work teams perform operations like manufacturing, assembling, selling, or providing services (Gordon p. 490). Work teams are the most common type of teams because theyre the most basic. Project and development teams work on projects that take a long time and they have specific tasks such as research and development. The teams new members usually contribute expert knowledge and judgment to the project, so they must be trained in that particular area for the work that is being performed. These teams work on one project and then disband when it is completed. Parallel teams are made up of individuals who are picked from various different teams in the organization and brought together to work outside the organization temporarily. Parallel teams are different in that they are formed to produce a product or service that is not normally done within the organization. Management teams provide direction to and work within, to other teams under their leadership. Management teams are a group of managers responsible for different subunits were together form a team and establish should take a direction and manage the companys overall performance. Transnational teams have members in multiple countries and are different from other work teams because they are multicultural and geographically dispersed. Also transnational teams also tend to be virtual teams. A virtual team has members that are not located in the same location. They communicate through e-mail, telephone, or with a teleconference system. Virtual teams created difficult challenges because of the way they operate and communicate. Virtual teams are usually made up of self-managing professionals. Some of them are made up of individuals that are trained to do all or most the jobs for specific task and have no supervision. Usually, as with virtual teams, self managed teams make the decisions that are usually made by their supervisors. There are advantages and disadvantages of forming teams. Early studies have shown that under the right conditions teams make better decisions, develop better products and services, and create a more engaged workforce than do employees working alone (McShane p. 237). Most teams create an environment that promotes communication, motivation, and better work ethics. Most employees prefer to work in teams because it gives them a sense of belonging. The motivation to work can be strong when the team is part of the employees social identity and by being accountable to their team members who watches their performance and quality of work more than their supervisor would. The drawbacks of developing teams is that the teams take a lot of energy and resources to develop and that some of the members of the team may not be trained to the level of skills that are required to be at to perform the certain task asked of them. Another disadvantage of developing teams is that adding new members to an ex isting team may drawdown the process and quality of work performed by the team. Source: Retrieved from PM: Program Manager (Online) July August 2002 Issue p. 79 There are five stages of team development; they are forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjoining. Forming is when the members get acquainted with each other and figure out the benefits of staying in the team. During this stage the members learn about the evolving culture within the team and the social boundaries in its environment. The storming stage is when the members become more comfortable in the team that they begin to test the boundaries and become more competitive with each other. During this stage norms of appropriate behavior are established. Norms are the shared rules and expectations that are established to regulate the behaviors that are important to the members of the team. The norming stage is when the team members come together and gain trust within the team. As objectives are established the team members begin to form a consensus on the goals. During the performing stage the team member are resolving conflicts by themselves. The members adjust to changes in the environment easier than at any other time. The adjourning stage comes at the completion of the project, the members disband and move on to other projects and teams or as an old team they take on a new project and start the process all over again. Teambuilding is an ongoing process, even though the team is formed, the process of maintaining the team goes on throughout the project. The most important property of a team is cohesiveness. Cohesiveness is the degree to which a group is attractive to its members, members are motivated to remain in the group, and the members influence one another (Gordon 2010 p. 501). The two reasons why cohesiveness is important in the team is first, it contributes to the member satisfaction and second, cohesiveness has a major impact on the teams performance. An organizational planner may be called on by company to assist them in developing or managing their teams. To be successful in this you need to know about personal behaviors, team dynamics, and about the individual roles within a team. When constructing teams it is best to select team members who are trained to perform the required roles necessary for that job so they may become effective contributors to the team. There are two roles that must be performed within the team, first the team specialist is a role that is filled by an individual who has a particular job-related ski ll and ability, secondly the team maintenance specialists develop and maintain harmony within the team by boosting morale, giving support, providing humor, soothing hurt feelings, and generally exhibiting a concern with team members well-being. The most important facet for team effectiveness that an organization must know is that to enable the teams productivity and cohesiveness the members must have a clear and concise knowledge of what tasks and duties they are responsible for. As a team performs a job, the individuals within the team perform specific tasks the culmination of these tasks make up the jobs at the team is responsible for. Allowing team members to be involved with the leadership and decision-making process will also motivate them toward superior performance as well as assisting them in the understanding of what they are required to perform through clear communication. Being able to identify performance norms allows for adjustments in the team to achieve optimal output and member satisfaction. In an article about building a better team Kevin Mehok stated: Picking the right players is critical to building a solid team. There are so many aspects of this process. You need to have the right people for the right job (2010 p. 2). The following chart displays the high and low cohesiveness versus the high and low performance norms. (High cohesiveness and low performance norms shows that there is high goal attainment based on the groups perspective but there is a low task performance based on managements perspective. Source: retrieved from, /imagecache/book/28776/fwk-bauer-fig09_004.jpg>. Low cohesiveness and low performance shows that there is poor goal attainment and poor task performance. With high cohesiveness and high performance norms there is a high goal attainment and a high task performance whereas with the low cohesiveness and high performance norms there is moderate goal attainment and task performance. Non-cohesive groups with high performance norms can be effective from the companys standpoint; however they wont be as productive as they would be if they were more cohesive (Gordon 2010 p. 502). Being able to understand the teams cultural environment makes it easier to make adjustments if necessary to enhance the teams cohesiveness. Some of the cultural environments are the clan, adhocracy, market, and hierarchy. A summary of the Hawthorn White Paper (2009) described the four different cultures as in a clan when the members identify with the group like they would a family where the emphasis is on team and teamwork and the members are loyal and friendly. Adhocracy is when the members have a large amount of independence with an emphasis on developing cutting-edge products and services. Hierarchy is where tradition and formality are dominant values and the emphasis is on stability, rules, and efficient processes. Market is where the members are competitive, hard-working, and demanding with the emphasis on productivity and beating the competition. Teams that are operating effectively and efficiently can identify problems faster. This allows the members to feel more confident in the decision making process. Having confident team members also reduces constructive conflict. When building an effective team there are a few activities that can be performed to boost morale, communication, and trust, along with having a lot of fun. Activities can range anywhere from a simple 10 minute exercise to a week long adventure. Measuring how effective such one-time activities are in changing a culture is difficult, so team building now employs more subtle methods to break down mistrust, inadequate leadership, and weak communication among employees (Laff 2006 p. 1). The greatest effect of these activities is the members are awakened by the obstacles of working with others, this comes out at the end of the exercise when they discuss there experience with each other. Usually a company will hire someone to facilitate these team building activities. One of the activities is that Alan Chapman (2010) posted on his web site that a developer can facilitate. It is an experiment to explore the brains capability to estimate scale. Using sticky notes have the team members mark a distance of ten feet on the floor, a height of three feet on a wall, and a distance of one yard on a table. They must do this without a measuring device. Review the activities as appropriate for your purposes, points for example: What surprises did we find? What clues are there to peoples different abilities? What differences are there in guessing different types of scale? What creative methods were used in measuring? How does the brain guess something? In work/life how do we decide when to guess and when to measure, and are these the best criteria? How can we make our guessing more reliable? (If exercises are performed in teams) are team guesses more reliable than individual guesses? What merit is there in the Wisdom of Crowds in guessing and making intuitive judgments? At the end of the exercise the facilitator will provide an assessment of the effectiveness that the activities provided the organization along with possible follow up events to maintain team cohesiveness. Have a facilitator draw out the dynamics using the Socratic Method of learning to tie together what happens in the office setting with what the members just experienced. Also remember to remind participants that they are not at the office, many of the activities still contain some form of gaming (Laff 2006, p. 1). Training team members to operate in the environment around them and not to hide from it, ignore it, and to not fight it will further enhance their efficiency in the team. May organizations are looking to streamline their operations, one of the tools they can turn to is hiring team building facilitators to perform exercises and give feedback. Of all of the functions an organizational developer performs to analyze, troubleshoot, and coach an organization toward their optimal output, team building is one of the most effective.

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