Magazine article HRMagazine

Team Troubles

Magazine article HRMagazine

Team Troubles

Article excerpt

Effective collaboration is key to helping organizations achieve their goals.

But creating and maintaining strong teams is easier said than done. There's just too much work to do on a daily basis- deadlines to meet, reports to file, bosses to satisfy. Committees are frequently viewed as sucking up precious time, while generating few results.

So how can teams boost their performance?

Research on group dynamics shows that teams perform best when their members agree on rules related to goals, roles and norms, says Mario Moussa, who teaches business executives at Wharton School's executive development program. Where is the team going? Who's doing what? How should team members work with each other?

"Teams that spend time talking out those three things tend to do better," says Moussa, co-author of Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance (John Wiley & Sons, 2016) with Madeline Boyer and Derek Newberry.

"As soon as people get together in any kind of group, they start putting rules together," says Newberry, a business anthropologist and Wharton lecturer.

The highest-performing teams understand the importance of constructing those rules carefully and deliberately.

"If they don't, they might not get the kind of culture they want," says Newberry, who advises corporate leaders on the human factors that drive organizational effectiveness.

According to the authors, the three steps to building better teams are:

Commit to the goals, roles and norms for guiding the team's direction. Do you have a shared vision? Choose specific goals with clear and measurable targets. Take into account the team members' values. What will inspire them? What's in it for them?

Roles should be well-defined and should utilize the skills and interests of each person.

It's also important to establish norms, which are the rules that help you manage communication, decision-making and conflict. …

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