By Mike Cieri, MSIR, Vice President of Mardac Consultants
A cohesive team can consistently outperform a collection of talented individuals. This statement is proved every day in sports – and in business.
The reason is simple. On a cohesive team, the members work together toward a common goal. Instead of competing with each other to further their own careers, team members cooperate and actually help each other perform. This cooperation results from the understanding that personal goals and company objectives are interdependent. By helping the team effort, members are really helping themselves.
Engaged managers have long realized the dramatic, positive impact the team concept can have on enthusiasm, productivity, and profits. They’ve been using proven team-building precepts to transform marginally performing work groups into high performance teams.
Task vs Process orientation
Task refers to what the team does; process refers to how the team works together to achieve the task. Task includes goals and objectives, decisions, problems, issues, and actions. Team process includes group interaction, dialogue, checking feelings, checking for understanding, participation, communication, brainstorming, collecting information, creativity, etc.
When the team is too highly task orientated the team process required to ensure quality outcomes is overlooked. Closure occurs too early. The best decisions will not be made and/or the support required to make them work will not be there.
When the team is too process oriented, it may lose sight of the task. Wheel spinning can become the norm; there is too little closure. Issues are not resolved or outcomes are forced because someone realizes that something has to be done. Results are often similar to those of the highly task-orientated group – poor quality outcomes and lack of support for those outcomes.
There is frequently more frustration, however, in the highly process-oriented group because members often recognize the wheel spinning. In the task-oriented group members often believe they are simply being very efficient.
High performance teams find the balance. They are able to move with ease between a task orientation and a process orientation.
As the leader you need to know when to stay tightly focused and closed discussion down, and when to open things up and check for responses and feelings, look for input and feedback, etc.
Mike Cieri, MSIR, is Vice President of Mardac Consultants and been in the Human Resource Management field for over 20 years. During this time he has held a variety of management positions, including several years on the executive management team of a large corporation as Vice President of Human Resources and Safety, as well as Vice President of Operations.