The subject task force is in need of direction and basic understanding of the goals they were assigned to accomplish. In today’s fast-paced business environment, work is best done in teams. Yet, many organizations consider teams a waste of time, effort, and resources. Dueling egos, scapegoating, hidden agendas, and barely hidden conflict can derail teams. As companies are forced to rely more heavily on teamwork to compete, capabilities in building and leading teams have become crucial to success. Is our team able to identify with the task or even as a team? As a consultant, I will need to provide them the perspectives, skills, and tools to assess what is going right and wrong in our group. I would accomplish this by implementing training immediately.
Training will teach the team how to plan a strategy so the group can work in unison. The training would encompass two areas. The first would address the issue of how to achieve team dynamics. If they understand the dimensions such as identification, interdependence, power use, social closeness, conflict management and negotiation. For example, Eric doesn’t seem to care about the identification process or anything else other than “just getting down to it”. Paul uses the “I” instead of “we” expression quite a bit; indicating that he does not feel part of the team. The second issue that needs to be addressed is for the team to have the group better understand the value of performance appraisals. This should also be accomplished by training. Performance appraisals can be extremely beneficial if they are properly utilized and honestly filled out. Training and educating the group is the only way that they can successfully accomplish their task. I would like to encourage the group to do as much research on their own and then share with the other members. However, Paul seemed to be doing a great deal of research but was not receiving the cooperation from other members. This was probably because they did not have a clear understanding of how the team is supposed to function. By getting an understanding on how the proper steps will help the group become more cohesive; they will also be able to get the task completed in a shorter period of time.
During the training process we will address some of the following issues: domination by a few loud voices, problem-solving techniques that become bogged down, members who don’t listen or who don’t feel heard, unwillingness to deal with conflict and differences so that unresolved issues remain simmering just beneath the surface, power conflicts, poorly designed meetings that waste valuable time and resources, lack of trust among members. This will allow us to form strategies for resolving conflicts and bringing together diverse points of view. While at times, the learning experiences are not always comfortable for the members, but by the end of the training the members should be closer and have a clear direction on how to proceed.
The group cannot succeed as it currently stands. Without intervention from a consultant or trainer, the group will eventually fail. After three meetings, they are still unclear about their objectives. Wendy continuously requests for outside experts to help in understanding the performance appraisal system. The group does show quite a bit of social closeness. Wendy kids with Paul about his political incorrectness and there seems to be a great deal of “joking around”. This indicates that they probably get along well outside of the team but they are showing frustrations about their new tasks. Wendy notices that Ron has not made any comments and requests that he provide some feedback. In response, Ron adds a blanket statement that doesn’t have a direct bearing on the discussion. By adding training specifically on performance appraisals, the team will learn that the decisions they recommend will be affecting the entire organization’s morale. With a good appraisal system, the communication and direction becomes much clearer.
In addition to the above suggestions, the team will also have to become better listeners. Many of the members do not listen to what some of the others are trying to say. This is found in several examples throughout the reading. Instead of hearing and then questioning the speaker, the other members dismiss their statements with other issues. For example, Paul does not listen actively and that is demonstrated by many of his sarcastic remarks. At one point, Paul states how “pissed off” he is that senior management of the company has not clearly stated the goals of the team. He also comments that the meeting is more like a sewing bee rather than a business meeting.