The Team

The team should have goal alignment rather than goal attainment. Goal attainment is achieved after goal alignment is obtained since all members will work together and pull in the same direction. The work challenge gives teams a common effort to work together on. The whole team should focus on the challenge.

Methods to Enhance Team Cohesiveness

  • Tech fairs
  • Training.
  • Quality circles
  • Tools that increase productivity.

Methods to Stir Creativity

  • Pilot projects - Tiger teams can work for this. Tiger teams are temporay subteams with a specific purpose and are relatively small in size. Some new project technique may be applied here, but only one new technique should be applied at a time.
  • Brainstorming - This can be done using many methods but the nominal group technique described below works well.
  • Provocative training experiences - Valtech, Inc. works well for this.
  • Trips
  • Conferences

Ways to Stop Teamwork

  • Bureaucracy
  • Unnecessary deadlines.
  • Reduction of product quality
  • Physical separation
  • Overly defensive management - This is similar to micromanagement. To avoid this management must trust the team and its members well enough to allow them to make some amount of errors, and contact the customer without pre-approval.
  • Fragmentation of project time - Try to, within reasonable limitations, assign one project at a time rather than deeply fragmenting team member's time. The ability to apply this technique will vary from situation to situation.
  • Attempts to control team internal interaction beyond discouraging unhealthy competition and criticism.

Group Dynamics

Individuals produce more and better unique ideas than when they are in groups due to risk of group criticism. Groups are more "willing to take risks than individuals". Decisions of groups are more widely accepted. Group performance drops when members of the group have a variety of attitudes. Heterogeneous personality combinations are more effective. Groups with different personalities that get along well work best. Group cohesiveness can produce undesired uniformity.

Group size:

  • 2-5 = Effective consensus
  • 5-11 = Accurate decisions
  • 4-5 = Member satisfaction

Internal leaders normally sit at or near the end of tables. They tend to have the greatest average distance from other people in the group. Neutral seated groups (round table) make better decisions and make them quicker.

Nominal Group Technique

The nominal group technique is used to generate solutions to problems in a group setting. This technique is very effective in generating new and good ideas. The nominal group technique is outlined below:

  1. Seven to ten participants are seated at a round table. There may be more than one table depending on the size of the group.
  2. Give a warm welcome (when participants are volunteers). Emphasize a sense of importance and the importance of individual contribution. State the purpose of the meeting.
  3. Problem is stated.
  4. Ideas are listed on a piece of paper individually (5-10 minutes). Each person should try to come up with at least three ideas.
  5. Ideas are listed on display board or flip chart from each member in turn. Have each member state one idea at a time. Continue until all ideas are stated and written down. Don't list the same idea more than once.
  6. Discuss each idea as a group.
  7. Rank ideas individually. (Preliminary vote)
  8. Use the top idea, or forward the top three ideas to management depending on the situation.
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