teams – diversity and goals

Last week's Knowledge@Wharton article 'Is your Team Too Big? Too Small? What's the Right number' is neat. I am taking notes for my benefit (I seem to justifying what I am writing why is that … uh???)

Basics of team composition:

"First, it's important to ask what type of task the team will engage in,"

Second, she says, "what is the team composition? What are the skills of the people needed to be translated into action? That would include everything from work style to personal style to knowledge base and making sure that they are appropriate to the task."

And third, "you want to consider size. … But frankly, I think it depends on the task."

"individual performance losses are less about coordination activities and more about individuals on project teams developing quality relationships with one another as a means of increasing individual performance. {social support as an important intra-team process}

"The general assumption is that people like people who are similar to themselves, so there is a theory to suggest that a lot of diversity is bad for cohesion," says Klein. "But there is also a theory that says diversity is great, that it creates more ideas, more perspectives and more creativity for better solutions."

Team members who share similar mental models can, theorists suggest, anticipate each other's responses and coordinate effectively when time is of the essence and opportunities for overt communication and debate are limited. Our findings suggest that team mental models do matter… not necessarily a bad thing, if the conflict doesn't get in the way of being able to think through a problem and do what needs to be done.

Klein has also looked into what factors determine who becomes important to a team. The single most powerful predictor? Emotional Stability. "And the flip side is neuroticism. If someone is neurotic, easily agitated, worries a lot, has a strong temper — that is bad for the team."

"Email is a terrible medium… . It doesn't relate sarcasm or emotion very well, and misunderstandings can arise. There is something very important and very different about talking to someone face-to-face."

While teams are hard to create, they are also hard to fix when they don't function properly. So how does one mend a broken team? "You go back to your basics," says Mueller. "Does the team have a clear goal? Are the right members assigned to the right task? Is the team task focused? Another no-no would be a leader who has difficulty taking the reins and structuring the process. Leadership in a group is very important. And third? The team goals cannot be arbitrary. The task has to be meaningful in order for people to feel good about doing it, to commit to the task.


Published by: vinu

My life - BREESY! :-) :D Beautiful Random Enjoyable Eventful Simple Yellow Places I have lived (chronological): (country) (- state) (-- city) India - (Orissa) -- Cuttack (2yrs) -- Bhubaneshwar (3yrs) - (Maharastra) -- Bombay/Mumbai (8 + 1 yrs) - (TamilNadu) -- Madras/Chennai (6 yrs) - (Pondicherry) (1 yr) United States - (California) -- Berkeley (3 yrs) Education : IIT Madras 02, UC Berkeley 05 Work Experience: Mechanical Engineer at FORD Motor Company, India; Management Trainee at Datamatics Technologies Ltd.; Wireless Programmer at TeleCommunication Systems Inc. Passions (currently as of Dec 2005): Family, Media (visual / audio), Mobile Systems, Internet, Design Interests: Music, Movies, Photography, Enjoying nature, Playing Violin, Graphics, Business / Entrepreneurship / Managments, Spirituality, Design, Technology, Mobile / Wireless

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