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Essay Example: Assignment- Team Work in Business

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Discuss the reasons why some management teams succeed while other don’t ANSWER Some management teams are bound to succeed while other are not due to a number of factors. A team, according to Adair (1986), is more than just a group with a common aim. It is a group in which the contributions of individuals are seen as complementary. Collaboration, working together, is the keynote of a team activity.

Adair suggests that the test of an effective team is: “whether its members can work as a team while they are apart, contributing to a sequence f activities rather than to a common task, which requires their presence in one place and at one time. ” Below is a discussion of some of the major factors that create a difference between winning and losing management teams. 1. Supportive Sponsor Management teams are usually formed by a sponsor who recognizes that reaching an organizational goal will require a group of individuals working together to provide the leadership necessary to move a company, division or unit towards the organization’s goals.

It is the sponsors responsibility to create a ‘charter’ that establishes the management team and its primary focus. In addition, the sponsor establishes specific goals the team is to accomplish. The sponsor will also select the team leader and gain his or her commitment to lead the leadership team in defining and carrying out the needed actions. Lack of will or proper direction by the sponsor ( e. G board of directors in a company) can lead to team failure. 2. Environmental factors These include physical factors such as working proximity, plant or office layout.

In general, close proximity aids group identity and loyalty, and distance reduces them. Other environmental issues include the traditions of the organization ender which the management team operates, and leadership styles. Formal organizations tend to adopt formal group practices. Autocratic leadership styles prefer group activities to be directed. 3. Team size Small groups tend to be more cohesive than larger groups; small groups tend to encourage full participation; large groups contain greater diversity of talent. 4.

Focus on Stakeholder Outcomes A shared understanding of the management team’s stakeholders, their expectations of the team, and the values the team embraces is essential to create the focus needed as the management team members plan and execute he actions necessary to achieve the team’s goals. 5. Smart Goals Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals should be established by the team’s sponsor and then broken into sub-goals by the management team. Without SMART goals, the team will lack the milestones necessary to drive action. 6.

Team Leadership Team leadership is the most critical SUccess factor for the performance management team. A leader with strong performance management skills and the ability to develop others virtually guarantees a successful performance initiative. Every management team needs a leader who focuses the members of he team on the mission, purpose, and goals of the team. This individual must be committed to the team’s results and must be willing to be held accountable by the team’s sponsor and other stakeholders, for leading the team through processes that insure the team’s goals are reached.

The team leader must engage each team member in the processes of the team and build a platform of mutual trust that leads to open debate, collaboration, individual commitment, and personal accountability. 7. Mutual Trust The most important element of successful team work is the establishment f a platform of mutual trust that enables the management team to engage in open debate and decision making that leads to commitments to action by individual members of the team.

Building this trust requires an openness that allows team members to know and understand the beliefs and behaviors of all members of the team so that team actions can be structured to take advantage of each member’s uniqueness and talents. Behavioral and values assessments are powerful tools in developing an understanding how each member of the management team views themselves and responds to others in the team. 8. Engaged Management Team Members An effective management team will have team members who are actively engaged in the work and focus of the team.

This will require that each team member emotionally commits to actively and openly participate in the team’s processes in the pursuit of the team’s goals. The team member must willingly commit to carry out action plans to complete individual actions necessary for the team to reach their team goals. The team member must be dependable and carry the full weight of personal responsibility to complete their individual commitments by the date committed to. Engaged team members enthusiastically support each other and add value to other team members.

They prepare for team processes and choose to engage others in a positive manner to find solutions to issues and challenges they individually or as a team face. They constantly seek to improve themselves for the benefit of the team and never, never, never quit. 9. Composition of the Team The Apollo Syndrome is a phenomenon that having too many people with a high mental abilities grouped together to solve a problem is, in many instances, detrimental to the teamwork process.

Team members spend much of their time ring to persuade the team to adopt their own views as well as figuring out ways to point out weaknesses in the rest of the team’s ideas. They have difficulty reaching consensus in decisions and are focused on their own work, paying little attention to what their fellow team members agree doing. Occasionally the team will pick up on the fact they are having problems, but will then overcompensate to avoid confrontation. This leads to even more problems in making sound decisions.

A knowledgeable team, skilled at group working, and with a wider range of talents is much more likely to succeed than an inexperienced group with narrow range of talents. 10. Individual Commitments The work of a management team is carried out by individual members of the team. When a team has developed a plan of actions that are necessary to achieve their goals or overcome barriers, individual members must commit to carrying out specific actions which in many cases will include actions by the individual teams they in turn lead.

The management team’s collaborative processes must include steps to: * Define individual actions, * Gain the commitments by individual team members to complete the actions, * Document due dates, and Establish status reporting processes. 11. Discipline and Accountability Team goals will usually not be realized until individual commitments are completed. Management team members must embrace a discipline to complete their commitments as scheduled. They must agree to hold each other personally accountable for completing, as scheduled, the commitments each person has made to the team.

Each management team member must continuously report the status of their open commitments to the team so that barriers to completion can be identified early in order to permit the management team leader and other am members the opportunity to deal with the issues before overall deadlines are impacted. 12. Identification and Removal of Barriers Barriers to team and individual progress will occur in every management team effort and must be dealt with quickly to continue progress towards the team’s goals.

The team leader must continuously monitor the status of each individual’s commitments and initiate barrier removal processes where appropriate. Team- based processes for developing action plans to overcome barriers impacting individual commitments should be instilled as a part of the team’s culture. 3. Shared vision / approach. The ability for a management team to clearly state it’s goals and objectives and gain buy-in among the people they lead ( e. G. Employees )along with a synergistic team that can carry out their responsibilities is vital to performance success. The vision and/or mission of the team ml_Just be accepted by all the team members and critical goals viewed as the collective responsibility of the team. If a return to profitability is a critical goal of an executive team, priorities and time commitments must be pulled from elsewhere. Focusing on results that in any ay does not support the critical goal(s) of the team will lead to team failure. 14.

Technology support While a skilled management team can improve performance with very little tools and only an effective approach, with proper technology to support the team’s needs, and the proper data to drive decision making, there is almost no limit to the improvements an organization will yield. 15. Ability to Innovate Innovating is a key aspect of teamwork and involves challenging the way things are currently being done. Technology is changing so quickly that the way you are currently performing tasks may no longer be the best way.

If you are not up-to- date in your practices, your cost structure may be too high or you may no longer be delivering competitive service. Innovating is essential for all work teams. There are always better ways of doing things if you only take time to discover them. 16. Promoting To obtain the resources – people, money, and equipment – to carry out your work, you have to ‘sell’ what you are doing to other people. Resources to implement new ideas will only be given if your team can persuade and influence people higher in the organization.

Promoting to customers or clients both inside or outside the organization is also important if you are to continually deliver what people want. 17. Developing Many ideas don’t see the light of day because they are impractical. The Developing activity ensures that your ideas are molded and shaped to meet the needs of your customers, clients, or users. It involves listening to their needs and incorporating these in your plans. Developing will ensure that what you are trying to do is possible, given the resource constraints of your organization. 18.

Inspecting ; Maintenance Regular checks on work activities are essential to ensure that mistakes are not Dade. Quality audits of your products or services will ensure that your customers or clients will remain satisfied. Inspecting also covers the financial aspect of work in your team, as well as the security aspects, the safety aspects and the legal aspects. All management teams need to uphold standards and maintain effective work processes. Your car will fail if it does not have its regular service. Teams can fail too, if the team processes are not regularly checked and maintained.

Maintaining ensures that quality standards are upheld and that regular reviews of team effectiveness take place. 19. Linking Linking is the activity that ensures all team members pull together, and makes the difference between a group of individuals and a highly effective and efficient team. It covers the linking of people, linking of tasks and leadership linking. 20. Team Motivation In today’s ever-changing business environment you need to ensure you effectively manage the performance, motivation and morale of your people. The level of motivation in the team will be a decisive factor in effectiveness.

High motivation can result from team members’ perception of the task and their role in it, as being of importance. Standards of performance are essential to motivation, together with adequate and timely feedback of results. Individuals also need to feel satisfied with membership f the team. Where these factors are absent, motivation will tend to be low. Therefore, the success of any management team will be as a result of an interplay of many factors. The factors discussed in the preceding paragraphs are not exhaustive but play a major role in determining the success of any management team.

QUESTION 2 Discuss the Apollo syndrome and outline its flows The ‘Apollo Syndrome”, is a phenomenon discovered by Dry Meredith Beeline here teams of highly capable individuals can collectively perform badly. In his first book on Management Teams (Beeline, 1981) he reported some unexpectedly poor results with teams formed of people who had sharp, analytical minds and high mental ability he called this the Apollo Syndrome. His criteria for selecting these teams have elements in common with criteria for selecting IT, academic or scientific staff – using ability and aptitude tests to select those with high analytical skills.

The initial perception of Bellini’s Apollo teams was that they were bound to win in the team competitions. However, the results ere quite the reverse, and the Apollo teams often finished near the bottom of eight teams. The term ‘Apollo Syndrome’ has also been used to describe the condition where someone has an overly important view of their role within a team. It is based on the supposed claim of someone to have played a vital role in the success of Anna’s Apollo missions to the Moon, where scientists had to work all through the night on many occasions, battling against fatigue.

One person claimed a vital role to the whole programmer – by making the coffee that kept them awake! Dry Meredith Beeline identified that, in Apollo teams, the lack of coherent Marko nullified the gains of individual effort or brilliance. This failure seemed to be due to certain flaws in the way the team operated: * They spent excessive time in abortive or destructive debate, trying to persuade other team members to adopt their own view, and demonstrating a flair for spotting weaknesses in others’ arguments.

This led to the discussion equivalent of ‘the deadly embrace’ (a term used in computing some years ago to signify a problem between two computer programs – where each prevents the other from making * They had difficulties in their decision making, with little coherence regress). In the decisions reached (several pressing and necessary jobs were often omitted). * Team members tended to act along their own favorite lines without taking account of what fellow members were doing, and the team proved difficult to manage. In some instances, teams recognizes what was happening but over compensated – they avoided confrontation, which equally led to problems in decision making. There are lessons from the Apollo Syndrome : First of all, putting together a team of the cleverest individuals does not necessarily produce the best results, and the team needs to be designed insuring that there is a blend of team roles. Once again, Dry Meredith Beeline suggests that an academic, rather than a purely business approach, could promote one-musicianship and have an adverse effect on teamwork.

As project manager you do your best to put together a team of highly qualified individuals. After all, in project management you want everything to run smoothly and efficiently, right? The Apollo Syndrome however proves that the project manager should think twice before loading a team with highly analytical minds. If, during project management, you see the Apollo Syndrome happening it should be dressed immediately. First of all, ask the group what they agree on. You may not get a concrete answer in which case you should be more assertive and get them to focus on areas of agreement.

A helpful project management tool is a flip-chart which can be used to record the things everyone can agree upon. This exercise should help the team realize how unimportant their disagreements are and get them working toward common goals. Apollo teams can, however, succeed provided that the following conditions are met: * the absence of highly dominant individuals, and * there is a particular style of leadership. A sense of humor helps to defuse competition and tension. * The leader can’t be highly dominant but neither can he/she allow others to be passive or overly analytical.

The leader must hold ground but not by dominating. The leader must be more concerned with broad essentials (mission, values, etc. ) Than with practical, detailed matters. The Apollo Syndrome, therefore, is a phenomenon that having too many people with a high mental abilities grouped together to solve a problem is, in many instances, detrimental to the teamwork process. Team members spend much of their time trying to persuade the team to adopt heir own views as well as figuring out ways to point out weaknesses in the rest of the team’s ideas.

They have difficulty reaching consensus in decisions and are focused on their own work, paying little attention to what their fellow team members agree doing. Occasionally the team will pick up on the fact they are having problems, but will then overcompensate to avoid confrontation. This leads to even more problems in making sound decisions. QUESTION 3 Describe the various types of ‘ideal team size’ with aid of examples. A team comprises a group of people or animals linked in a common purpose. Teams are especially appropriate for conducting tasks that are high in complexity and have many interdependent subtasks.

A group in itself does not necessarily constitute a team. Teams normally have members with complementary skills and generate synergy through a coordinated effort which allows each member to maximize his/her strengths and minimize his/her weaknesses. Team members need to learn how to help one another, help other team members realize their true potential, and create an environment that allows everyone to go beyond their limitations. Team size and composition affect the team processes and outcomes. The ideal size of teams is debated and will vary depending on the task at hand.

Therefore deciding on an ideal size of a team is not an exact science. At a basic level, large teams have always been considered unwieldy and ineffective in delivering results while small teams are perceived to be a lot more sure footed and better at delivering results. Over the years, there has been a lot of curiosity and research on this issue and there are several interesting findings pertaining to various business situations. Some of these findings are incorporated in the following discussion.

Meredith Beeline did extensive research on teams prior to 1990 in the UK that clearly demonstrated that the optimum team size is 8 roles plus a specialist as needed. Fewer than 5 members results in decreased perspectives and diminished creativity. Membership in excess of 12 results in increased conflict and greater potential of sub-groups forming. * A study released in 2005 by Quantitative Software Management (GSM) on software projects showed that, assigning a large team on software projects does not necessarily result in any significant shortening of the project time.

It can actually result in more defects! By large teams they mean teams containing 20 or more individuals and small teams are those with 5 or less individuals. * According to author Stephen Robbins, when teams have more than 10-12 people, the team finds constructive interaction difficult. Teamwork principles of mutual accountability and cohesiveness that are necessary to achieve high performance become difficult in large teams. His advice to managers is to keep the team size to under a dozen. * In Start-up businesses the initial team, comprising the founders / ownership team, is usually small.

By and large, such teams seem to have no more than here people. A study done in Europe in 2004 examines the relationship between start-up team sizes and the effort necessary. The study shows that start-ups with three individuals put in more weekly hours of effort compared to start-ups where the team size is five individuals. * Even Wattenberg, director of the Wharton Graduate Leadership Program, notes that team size is “not necessarily an issue people think about immediately, but it is important. According to Wattenberg, while the research on optimal team numbers is “not conclusive, it does tend to fall into the five to 12 range, though mom say five to nine is best, and the number six has come up a few times. ” * “The size question has been asked since the dawn of social psychology,” says Wharton management professor Jennifer S. Mueller. But is there an optimal team size? Mueller has concluded, again, that it depends on the task. “If you have a group of janitors cleaning a stadium, there is no limit to that team; 30 will clean faster than five. But, says Mueller, if companies are dealing with coordination tasks and motivational issues, and you ask, ‘What is your team size and what is optimal? ‘ that correlates to a team of six. Above and beyond five, and you begin to see diminishing motivation,” says Mueller. “After the fifth person, you look for cliques. And the number of people who speak at any one time? That’s harder to manage in a group of five or more. ” * Gerald Quail (2010) wrote: “From my past experience, the ideal team size for a software development project is three and five people.

If you have less than three people you have very little redundancy. If your project member is ill or on vacation you will be the only one who is working. On the other side, if you have more than five people you will experience that it gets much more complicated eating them and keeping track of the work they do” * Wrote Johanna Earthman (Managing Product Development- 2003): “As for team size, I did some research (in addition to my experience) for Manage Your Project Portfolio, and found that while there is a somewhat ideal team size of roughly 6-8, fewer than three leads to worse decision-making.

More than 9 leads to people grouping themselves into two teams. Once you have 10 or more people, the communication paths are so high that not all people have commitments to each other. Without those commitments, it’s impossible to create a team. You have a group, not a team. ” * Jason Beans, Founder and CEO of Rising Medical Solutions wrote: “Studies have shown the ideal team size for maximum efficiency per person on a project is three to five people. This assumes the highest quality of people where everyone is talented, engaged and driven. Research by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and other researchers points to five or six people being the ideal number in a group that has to accomplish a significant amount of work. When the number grows bigger than this, the productivity per person starts reducing. Having ix people including you as chairperson is good because if you need to put a vote to the team, a decision can always be made by the team members in their own right as there is an odd number of five in the team plus you. Thus there can never be a stalemate or drawn vote unless a member abstains or is absent.

From the foregoing research activities conducted by different people and institutions, we can safely point out that there are various ideal team sizes depending on the nature of task at hand, the environment in which the team is operating and the combination of skills among team members. Suffice to say, we an broadly identify three categories of ideal team sizes: 1. Small teams (3-6) Small teams comprise three to six people. This is a well balanced team with the advantage that it is easier to share responsibilities, and therefore reducing possibilities of conflict of interests.

Decisions are easily reached, and each member can effectively contribute. Small groups perform best when they operate collaboratively, and not merely as drones subordinated to a leader. The team leader’s job is to establish the conditions that enable team members to collaborate competently; the leader needs to spell out exactly where teams would end up, but not dictate the step-by-step process of getting there. Leaders who act boldly and intelligently can make significant differences in teams’ effectiveness?but no matter how the leaders act, teams become less effective as they grow in size.

The number six is usually a fair compromise of too small and too big groups. Having six people including the chairperson is good because if you need to put a own right as there is an odd number of five in the team plus you. Thus there can never be a stalemate or drawn vote unless a member abstains or is absent. Performance problems increase exponentially as team size increases beyond six, and the impact of leadership becomes quickly diffused. 2. Medium size teams (7-9) These are more stable and enduring teams.

However, such team to be effective require an articulate chairperson with much sense of humor, with its members carefully selected and briefed. Such a team is typical of most company management teams. However, they tend to be dominated by two or three people while others are either marginally occupied or bored. The best teams are usually between 5 and 9 people. Below this they lack resources , are unstable or spilt into factions . Above this team members don’t get enough individual attention due to lack of time available for grooming to maintain relationships. . Reasonably big teams ( 10 – 11) These teams, though not commended by most researchers, have positive aspects. They are easier for the leader to manage. The leader can easily issue instructions, know their strengths and weaknesses and listen to them. They are logistically more manageable. In addition, such teams help cement personal bonds between members. Such teams are ideal for brainstorming meetings and evaluations. To discuss results, as in a sales team, such teams are ideal.

However, groups comprising more than eight or nine people are inefficient because they allow some members to coast (social loafing’), and their size allows cliques and sub-teams to form, each with their own agenda, which can derail the outcome. In conclusion, it is important to underscore the fact ideal team size depends on the type of task the group is engaged in, the number of people who are available or relevant, the extent of specialist skills required and the urgency and importance of the task. A team of two or three people may be sufficient for a small project.

On the other hand, if team members merely come together to issues results, as in a sales team, a largish number isn’t a problem. (a) Discuss in details the personality attributes of the successful Chairman (b) Discuss at least five types of personality and give relevant examples to each of them. (a) A chairman is a presiding officer of an assembly, meeting, committee, or board. Today it is common to use the term ‘chairperson’ as a matter of gender sensitivity. In some instances ‘chairwoman’ is used for females, or simply ‘chair’ to avoid gender titles altogether. The chairman ensures that a meeting conducts its business in an orderly fashion.


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