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HARE AND THE TORTOISE

We all have heard the story of HARE AND THE TORTOISE and the famous race they had. The moral of the story was that SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE.


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The story does not end there. Some interesting sequels to the story have been developed. The sequels run as follows The hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul searching. He realized that he had lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and negligent. If he had not taken things for granted, there was no way the tortoise could have beaten him.

So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles.


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The moral of the story- FAST AND CONSISTENT WILL ALWAYS BEAT THE SLOW AND STEADY. Its good to be slow and steady; but its better to be fast and reliable. The story doesn’t end here. The tortoise did some thinking and realized that there was no way he could beat the hare in its current format. He thought for a while , and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed.


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They started off. In keeping with his self made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran to top speed-------- until he came to a broad river.

The finishing line was a couple of kilometers on the other side of the river. The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race. The moral of the story- FIRST IDENTIFY YOUR CORE COMPETENCY AND THEN CHANGE THE PLAYING FIELD TO SUIT YOUR CORE COMPETENCY. Working to your strengths will not only get you noticed, but will also create opportunities for growth and advancements.


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The story still hasn’t ended. The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends and they did some thinking together. Both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a TEAM this time. They started off, and this time the hare carried the tortoise till the river bank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise and they reached the finishing line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they had felt earlier. The moral of the storyIT IS GOOD TO BE INDIVIDUALLY BRILLIANT AND TO HAVE STRONG CORE COMPETENCIES; BUT UNLESS YOU ARE ABLE TO WORK IN A TEAM AND HARNESS EACH OTHERS CORE COMPETENCIES, YOU’LL ALWAYS PERFORM BELOW PAR BECAUSE THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SITUATIONS AT WHICH YOU’LL DO POORLY AND SOMEONE ELSE DOES WELL. Important lessons to be learnt………


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Fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady. Work to your competencies. Pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers. Newer give up when faced with failure. Compete against the situation not against the rival.

The above extract from the article in THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE,SEPTEMBER 23,2002, beautifully illustrates the importance of team work in organizations. Building a team is essential to the attainment of corporate excellence.

DEFINITIONS:

Greenberg and Baron defines a team as ‘a group whose members have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose or a set of performance goals for which they hold themselves mutually accountable’ Stephen Robbins describes a work team as ‘a group whose individual efforts results in a


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performance that is greater than the sum of those individual inputs’

IMPORTANT CHARACHTERISTICS OF A TEAM: 1.

2.

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SMALL NUMBER: A team consists of few people as the interaction and influence processes needed for the team to function can occur only when the number is small. MIX OF SKILLS: A team includes people with a mix of skills appropriate to the task to be done. COMMON PURPOSE OR GOAL: A team comes together to take action to pursue a goal. The purpose becomes the focus of the team, which makes all decisions in pursuit of the goal. MUTUALLY ACCOUNTABLE: Mutually accountable is a kind of promise that members make to each other to do everything possible to achieve their goals,


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and it requires commitement and trust of all members.

TYPES OF TEAMS

There are many different kinds of teams . Teams differ from each other on the following four dimensions : I] Purpose or mission : teams differ from each other with regard to their purpose or mission . Some teams are mainly concerned with the work done in the organization such as developing new products , providing services to the customers and so on . Such teams are known as “work teams� . Their focus is on


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optimal utilization of organizational resources in order to yield the best possible results . Some teams on the other hand are concerned with ways of improving quality , efficiency , and the work environment . Such teams are referred to as problem solving teams or improvement teams . Their mission is to increase the effectiveness of the processes that are used by the organization. A problem solving team usually consists of eight to ten employees and supervisors who meet regularly to discuss quality problems , investigate causes of the problems . recommend solutions , and take corrective actions . members of the team share ideas and offer suggestions on how work processes and methods can be improved . II] Time : teams differ with regard to their period of existence . Some teams are established for a specific project and for a specific time only . They are disbanded once the job is done. teams of such kinds are known as temporary teams .


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A permanent team , on the other hand , has an infinite existence and remains intact as long as the organization exists . For example , teams focusing on customer service exist permanently in the organization . III] Degree of autonomy : The amount of operational autonomy or freedom that teams have is another feature that distinguishes one team from another . Teams with little autonomy are referred to as work groups . In teams , the leader makes all the decisions on behalf of group members who in turn follow the leader’s orders . Such teams are becoming increasingly less popular in organizations today. Self-managed work teams are becoming more popular . These teams have high level of autonomy at work . In self-managed work teams , team members are permitted to make key decisions about how their work is done . Self-managing teams are natural work groups that are given a large degree of decision-making autonomy ; they are expected to control their behavior n results .


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A self-managing team usually consists of small number of employees , often around ten , who take on duties that used to be performed by their supervisors . Their task includes making work assignments , deciding on the pace of work , determining how quality is to be assessed , and even who joins the team . IV] Authority structure : Teams differ with regard to their organizational functions . In some teams , people operate within area only and do not move away from their area of expertise . Such teams are known as “intact teams�. In contrast , cross-functional teams have employees from about the same level but from different work areas , who come together to accomplish specialty areas with the organization . Cross-functional teams represent a effective way of bringing people from across the organization together to cooperate with each other on diverse tasks needed to complete large projects .


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CREATING TEAMS

A sound team requires not just the right combination of skilled people but also individuals who are willing to work together with others as team . Considerable managerial skills and hard work are need to develop effective teams .


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A model developed by J.R. Hackman provides some useful guidelines as to how to design the work effectively . According to this model , the process of developing a team involves four stages : (i)

Prework : The first and most important step of team building is to determine whether there is a necessity for a team to be created . The manager has to decide whether the subordinates can do the work individually or whether a team would be more beneficial . He has to determine whether creating a team will result in the work getting done in more creative and insightful ways .

Before creating a team a manger should decide on (a)The work that needs to be done (b)The objective of the team (c)The composition if the team – the skills needed to do the job (d)The authority of the team would have – would it be working merely as n advisory to the manager or whether it would have full responsibility and authority in carrying out the task .


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Create performance conditions : Once the manager has decided to create the team , the next step is to ensure that the team has the proper conditions to carry out its work . The team must be provided with necessary resources and support to ensure the success . Resources include material resources (such as money , equipments) as well as human resources (a proper mix of skilled people) . The team is likely to fail in the absence of the right conditions .

(iii) Form and built the team : There are three things that a manager can do in order to help the team to get off to a good start : (a)

Boundaries : The manager should make it very clear as to who is a member of the team and who is not . If this is not made clear then the members get confused and experience frustration .

(b) Mission acceptance : The manager must ensure that all the team members


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are committed to the team’s purpose and mission . Lack of acceptance of the team’s mission by its members will result in certain failure . (b) Clarify

responsibilities : It is very important to let the team know what exactly is expected of them . What is their area of responsibility and what they are supposed to do . Ambiguity of any kind should be avoided .

(iv) Provide ongoing assistance : The manager should provide whatever support and assistance the team needs . Although he need not directly intervene in its routine functioning , he can support the team by removing any obstacles that the team encounters such as replacing uncooperative members , ensuring regular supply of material resources and so on . Such ongoing assistance will help the team to perform even better .

BENEFITS OF TEAM BUILDING A Team–wise team building event will be is great fun however they have been developed with several aims in mind:


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Working relationships will be developed People have to work together and by doing so colleagues will develop more effective working relationships with team members who are new to the team and with team members who have been part of the team for some time. Shared positive experience The whole day is very memorable, team members will be talking about it for the rest of the year. As such colleagues will share a positive and memorable experience which further develops bonds. Strengths and talents Everyone gets fully involved in the day and their are lots of different roles so team workers will see their colleagues in a whole new light and will have a greater understanding of their strengths and talents. Teamwork Everything during the team building day clearly requires teamwork and as such team members will leave with a greater awareness of how teams work and how to make them


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work better.

NEED FOR TEAM BUILDING Modern society and culture continues to become more fluid and dynamic. Factors contributing to this include the communications revolution, the global market and the ever-increasing specialization and division of labor. The net effect is that individuals are now required to work with many different groups of people in their professional as well as personal lives. Joining a new group and immediately being expected to get along with them is somewhat unnatural. People have developed methods to help people adapt to the new requirements. All kinds of companies face the same difficulties. As yet there is no generally agreed solution to the problem - it may not even be possible given the thousands of years of cultural evolution that brought us to our present behavior patterns.


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TEAM BUILDING INGREDEINTS Ingredients seen as important to the successful set-up and launch of such team efforts include:

• • • • • •

Selection of participants Establishing goals Allocation of roles within the team Harmonizing personality types Training on how to work together Support within the team


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Making effective use of resources Communication between team members and leaders

There have been no empirical studies that have been tested in any of the assumptions made by the following group theorists.

Selection of participants The first important ingredient for team building is selecting of participants to be in the activity. The team leader usually looks for specific things in his or her members in order to ensure success in the project. It is very important to have members that have confidence and are able to build trust among the other participants. A participant must also break out of his or her shell and become a leader. Most importantly, the participant must have a positive attitude at all times Sometimes it is helpful to have an assessment each member has to fill out at the end of a team building experience to help in selecting participants in the future. The authors of When Teams Work Best collected 15,000 assessments that team members had to fill out about their fellow


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teammates. In the assessment there were only two questions asked: (1) What strengths does this person bring to the team? (2) What might this individual do to contribute more effectively to the team’s success? The assessment revealed six factors to help distinguish between the effective and ineffective team members. The factors fell into two groups: working knowledge and teamwork. “Working knowledge consists of two factors: experience and problem-solving ability. Teamwork consists of four factors: openness, supportiveness, action orientation, and personal style� If each member has these qualities, the outcome of the team building activity will likely be successful. Establishing goals within the team is essential in team building. It is important and easy for the team leader to establish goals early so the members understand their purpose for participating. If the goals are clarified, the participants are motivated to excel in the activities and develop trust among their leader . Goals give the team direction and provide a feeling of value and importance. It is very


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important for a leader to make sure the team knows how the work will be done and how they will accomplish their tasks. Without goals, the team has nothing to strive for, and many members may lose motivation. Keeping the goal simple and achievable will be very beneficial to the team in the end.

Balancing skill sets –

When creating a team building activity, it is important to have balanced skill sets. One way to achieve this is by having experts in different fields. If some members provide their technical skills, and other members provide their


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theoretical skills, the outcome of the project will likely be successful. For example, individuals that are knowledgeable about the course materials are confused about the technology part of it. On the other hand, individuals may feel that the technical side of the problem is more comprehensible than the theoretical side of it. By combining both types’ strengths, the team can come up with a solution that benefits everyone. Balancing skill sets can be one of the most challenging things to achieve, but it is very important to do to ensure the success of ones’ team .


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Allocation of roles within the team –

Assigning roles to team members help them to know their place on the team. Each member should be assigned a role that is clearly defined and relates to his or her personality. Advantages of defining roles among team members are that it makes assignments more straightforward, helps to understand the decision-making process, and assures the task will be completed. In most undergraduate projects there are three roles: project leader, chief architect, and documentation leader. It is important to clarify each of these roles at the


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very first meeting so members know exactly what they have to do. Making a list of everyone’s skill sets, preference, work experience, courses taken, and interests would help in assigning the roles. From this list it should be determined who is best suited for what role. If there is conflict in the process, team members can always share the responsibilities. Otherwise the leader can perform a quick lottery to decide who gets what role. However, participants may not have an interest in the role that they were unwillingly assigned to. A serious problem that may occur is that a specific role may have too little or too much work, which may cause resentment between the members. Productivity may also be lost. A team must always be ready to adjust to their new roles and be prepared if assigned to a new one. Members must be willing to move beyond their roles and help others in order to practice good teamwork and to get the job done . Harmonizing personality –


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The personality of a team leader plays a big factor on how the team performs. A leader must understand the kind of personality they need to have in order to gain the respect from his or her members. Many studies have been made to see if personality affects working environments. For example, V.J. Bentz (1985) conducted a study of ineffective managers at the department store Sears. In his studies he found that almost all of the managers had a “personality defect� of some sort. Lesley and Van Velsor (1996) also conducted studies that ultimately found four personality traits of ineffective managers. The four traits were poor interpersonal skills (being insensitive, arrogant, cold, aloof, overly ambitious), unable to get work done (betraying trust, not following


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through, overly ambitious), unable to build a team, and unable to make the transition after promotion. The personality traits that these managers portrayed were proven to negatively affect the working environment. It is imperative for leaders to have a positive and effective personality to gain respect among their organization and members. Training on how to work together –

A team must know how to work together in order to be productive and successful. If a team can work together, they will be able to raise and resolve issues that are standing in the way of accomplishing a goal . Working together may not come easy at first, but with proper training the team will be able to adapt quickly. The training may include the instruction on how to communicate better, manage conflict, or understand the skills and talents that everyone brings to the table. A full assessment of the team’s need is recommended before the


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training. To encourage team members to work together, many companies provide workshops in communication skills, meetings management, listening, assertiveness, conflict resolution, goal setting, and other topics that help in being an effective team player .If people are working together effectively rather than working by themselves, a lot more work will be accomplished. Support within the team –

Another important ingredient for team building is supportiveness. Supportiveness is the aspiration to help others succeed (LaFasto 14). “Someone who shows supportiveness is dedicated to the team’s success and wants what’s best for the team, works behind the


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scenes to aid the team, willing to pitch in whenever necessary, always willing to help out, willing to take on more responsibility, very easy to work with, and listens well to others’ ideas”. Recently, M. West, author of Effective Teamwork, introduced a comprehensive model of team support. In the model he concluded that team support is a multidimensional concept that includes four types. The four types are emotional support, informational support, instrumental support, and appraisal support. Someone who provides a shoulder to cry on, encouraging words, and is sympathetic of others’ pain is said to be a team emotional support. A person that provides team informational support exchanges necessary information about a certain thing to their peers. The person who is actually “doing the support” provides team instrumental support. The last type is appraisal support. This type is the help individual team members can provide to aid in making sense of a particular problem Team building will be successful if the team members can cover each of these types of team support. Making effective use of resources –


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Effectively using resources is essential in the success of team building. In the business-world companies are very serious on how they use their resources. Many companies use team techniques in systems development to effectively use their resources .“During group sessions, non-technical end users and information systems staff meet on a common ground to hammer out systems solutions that truly meet the needs of everyone---especially the needs of end-user management� .To ensure system requirements are on target, companies like Cigna Company in Philadelphia, CNA Insurance Company in Dearborn, Michigan, and Chase Manhattan Bank in New York are all using group design techniques. All of these companies believe in the same thing: effective goal setting, listening, facilitation skills, consensus building, and a willingness to communicate. These team techniques in systems development not only make effective use of resources, but they also result in


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measurable benefits .Resources are essential to team building and they must be used wisely and efficiently. Communication between team members and leaders –

When Teams Work Best, “the most important contribution a team leader can make is to ensure a climate that enables team members to speak up and address the real issues preventing the goal from being achieved.� A leader with good communication skills must be able to speak the truth and deal with problems openly. Their goal should be to promote listening, to understand different viewpoints, and to work toward a resolution .. It is important for a team leader to make team


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members feel comfortable enough to express their needs and their wants. Members want to feel that they know what is going on at all time and are informed about things such as plans, priorities, and progress the group is making .Some ways to communicate is by email, online messengers, telephone, or face-to-face methods. The most important part of communication is not so much the tools you choose, but the dedication by each member of the team to use the chosen tools regularly.


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TEAM BUILDING IN ORGANISATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The term 'team building' can refer generally to the selection and motivation of teams, or more specifically to group self-assessment in the theory and practice of organizational development. When a team in an organizational development context embarks upon a process of self-assessment in order to gauge its own effectiveness and thereby improve performance, it can be argued that it is engaging in team building, although this may be considered a narrow definition.


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To assess itself, a team seeks feedback to find out both: • •

its current strengths as a team its current weaknesses

To improve its current performance, a team uses the feedback from the team assessment in order to: • •

identify any gap between the desired state and the actual state design a gap-closure strategy

As teams grow larger, the skills and methods managers must use to create or maintain a spirit of teamwork change. The intimacy of a small group is lost, and the opportunity for misinformation and disruptive rumors grows. Managers find that communication methods that once worked well are impractical with so many people to lead. In particular, leaders encounter difficulties based on Daglow's Law of Team Dynamics: "Small teams are informed. Big teams infer."

DEVELOPING TEAM PLAYERS


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A team consists of different individuals who come from different environment and whose tastes, personalities, thinking, beliefs, skills and Attitudes are different. In order to develop effective teams, it is extremely important to overcome all these individual differences and develop them in to team players. Developing team players is extremely challenging in organizations that have always valued individual achievement and have employees with a highly individualistic national culture. On the other hand, organizations that have been built around teams and have employees with collectivist values find it much easier to develop teams. Managers need to pay close attention to the following elements while trying to turn individuals into team players: (1) Selection: Care should be taken while hiring team members, The manager must ensure that the members have the interpersonal skills and satisfy the technical requirements to carry out the job. They should be able to fulfill their team roles.


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(2) Training: Even if an employee does not have the required skills to be a effective team player, he can be trained for the same. Trainers are called to conduct workshops to help employees acquire and improve various skills such as problem - solving, communication, negotiation, conflict management, and other practical skills required to work in teams. Experts create situation that results from teamwork. However, it must be remembered that some employees resist being team players and may not be trainable. Such people should not be selected in The first place and if already present should be transferred elsewhere in the organization. (3) Rewards: The reward system should be redesigned to encourage employees to work as team players. Rewards must encourage cooperative rather than competitive behavior. However individual contribution should not be ignored altogether. The rewards should strike a fine balance between individual performance and team performance. Behaviors such as training new employees, resolving team conflicts, sharing


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information about team mates should be encouraged and rewarded. Besides the external rewards, teamwork has its own intrinsic rewards in the form of opportunities for developing friendship, helping teammates, being a member of a successful team and the satisfaction of personal development.


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INTERVIEWING A TRAINING EXECUTIVE…. [ Ms . RIBA ABHIRAJ – WIPRO BPO ] Q 1] WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN TEAM BUILDING ?? According to me its the team leader . All team leaders do not prove to be successful team leaders . A team leader having good leadership qualities and suitable motivating techniques can build a successful team . Q 2 ] HOW DO U MOTIVATE YOUR TEAM MEMBERS TO WORK AS A TEAM ?? Motivating task is best achieved by creating a healthy competitive environment . Also by appreciating their work by gifting the top scorers . I also have one-on-one sessions


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with the team members ( personal interaction). Q 3 ] WHAT PROBLEMS DO YOU FACE IN HANDLING A TEAM AND HOW DO U HANDLE THEM ?? While dealing with the team members sometimes we come across very arrogant and stubborn kind of team members who are not very receptive and need logical reasons to perform in the manner you want them to perform , so one has to explain every aspect and convince them to work as per the requirements . Similarly there are some sensitive team members and here , one needs to be very careful while interacting with them during the feedback sessions . Also the personal differences of the team members among them selves effect the performance of the team as a whole . So to overcome this we arrange team outings where the team members get to know each other well and develop some bond with each other . Q 4] DO YOU THINK TEAMS HAVE GREATER POTENTIAL OF ACHIEVING A GOAL THEN JUST AN INDIVIDUAL ??


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Of course I’ll go with the team . As an individual one will always come across some limitation at some point of time i.e. at some stage or level . But if your working as team all limitations can be overcome . No wonder an efficient individual will perform really well , but not forget what will be the degree of performance if we have group of efficient individuals working together . We get to know different aspects of the same issue because we come across different point of views of different people . And accordingly we can handle different situations effectively . Thus , teams are more viable alternative .

Q 5 ] WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS THERE ANY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A “GROUP” AND A “TEAM” ?? Groups can be formal and informal but teams are always a formal affair . In a group , the entire group is not made responsible in case a group member does


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not perform well . But in a team , the entire team is held responsible . In a team if one member is unable to perform his task his collogue takes over and completes it whereas in the group this is not observed . These are the major differences that will be noticed between “teams” and “groups” .


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