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Home » Teams

The latest on teams from HBR

Submitted by on Tuesday, 26 May 2009No Comment

Team development training, Thailand

The May edition of the Harvard Business Review has an interesting article on teams and team effectiveness (subscription required for the full article) which we feel includes some useful pointers on teamwork.

What really caught our attention was Professor Richard Hackman’s take on team development. It’s pointless, he says in the article, to spend so much time on individual coaching, when the focus should be coaching the whole team.

As he rightly says, most executive coaches focus on individual performance, which does not significantly improve teamwork. ‘Teams need coaching as a group in team processes – especially at the beginning, midpoint and end of a team project.’

Our view, for a long time, has been exactly this. Man is a social animal, as Aristotle said, and a great deal of a manager’s effectiveness happens in the context of working with people.

Because of this, we feel it’s more advantageous to start with teams, and then narrow down the issues that really require individual coaching. In our approach, other team members are engaged to help their colleagues overcome their personal challenges which are discovered in the simulations we create (for example in our High-Synergy! Teams programme).

Professor Hackman asks the following question: When people work together to build a house, will the job probably (a) get done faster, (b) take longer to finish, or (c) not get done?

This captures the essence of a team, and is exactly the point more companies need to pay attention to. The formation of a team does not mean an automatic path to success. In fact many teams end up subtracting value, which is why people end up doing tasks themselves (see our article DIY, DAT or TEAM?) Only if all the elements of  an effective team are there will the job of building the house get done quicker as per Professor Hackman’s question above.

For this reasons we believe our programme which focuses on the approach of building and developing teams (High-Synergy! Teams) is a must-have for companies, even moreso in Asia where people are more ‘collective’ in their approach to accomplishing tasks.

If you have a team challenge that you would like to have addressed, or would like to learn more about our High-Synergy! Teams programme, then feel free to email us or comment below!

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