FOR PEOPLE, TEAMS & CULTURE
Seven reasons why teams are more important than ever!
Peter Honey, leading industrial psychologist and learning guru, needs no introduction. Here he explains the ever growing importance of teams.
Teams have always been important but now they have become essential. This is because of a number of inter-related factors.
1. The flattening of hierarchical levels (the traditional pyramid) means that people have to be more interdependent in order to achieve more with less.
2. The whole quest for Total Quality, continuous improvement and improved customer service means that the functional barriers are breached and people forced to co-operate between functions, not just within a function.
3. The need to respond more rapidly to market forces and changes external to the organisation, means that organisational structures are more complex (matrix management is just one example) and more flexible. This increases the need for collaborative decision making (more 'we' decisions, less 'I' decisions).
4. Raised expectations about participating in, or at the very least being consulted about, decisions that effect people and their work practices. This automatically increases the demand for more group/team decision making.
5. The increased use of project teams and task forces, often multi-disciplinary, to come together rapidly to tackle a major issue or problem and then disband.
6. The empowerment movement and the changing role of managers from director to facilitator (is there such a word?), inevitably puts greater emphasis on the group/team and less on 'divide and conquer' management styles.
7. Last but not least, the attempts to create Learning Organisations. This is only possible if learning teams (mini Learning Organisations) meet frequently to trawl their experiences for learning and agree what to do better/differently in future. The key to creating a Learning Organisation is to have lots of overlapping Learning Teams.
I cannot envisage a time when teams will be unimportant. Even the prospect of disparate, home based workers doesn't make teams redundant, it just makes creating esprit de corps more of a challenge!