The Tandem Team Trilogy

Team-&-Technology-125The makeup of team members is diverse. Not only are the people diverse, but the tasks they perform and the systems they work within are part of that diversity. In my bio, I have this sentence: “She understands that people, systems and tasks need to work in harmony in order to produce positive results for both employees and the organization’s bottom line.” An article in the Journal of Business Management states why such a trilogy is important.

Leaders must remember that team members are not “human doings” but
“human beings”, [and] often results in them actually delaying the work flow.
People are not “owned” by a business, they are participants in the business.
The successful virtual team leader balances people, tasks, and technology,
and recognizes that they are different but equal.

Ahhhh, it’s so nice to have a bit of validation. The more serious point about this “validation” is that it is no easy task to have this trilogy come together in a harmonious working relationship. There are steps to take that can help facilitate the process in having your team reach that goal.

  1. This is one of the most fundamental steps in achieving the successful trifecta. Effective communication goes deeper than just being polite, being clear, not interrupting, and listening. Communication is also:
  • Understanding and adapting to various communication styles
  • Being true to your word. This helps build another team fundamental – trust.
  • Making the effort to encourage communication through healthy facilitation of communication. This means encouraging interaction.
  • Using proper channels of communication. Examples of communication channels are formal, informal, and unofficial (the grapevine). Then there is technology, specifically the intranet, texting, and email. How can other channels of communication be effectively utilized in order to save time in team meetings might be a good topic for discussion at your next team meeting.
  • Understanding cultural communication differences
  • Monitoring the use of emotive words – words that evoke strong feelings. Examples might be feminism, geek, manipulative, calculating, or jock.
  1. The Right People. When assigning tasks for projects, ensure that the right people are on the right team and that the right person is the best match for individual tasks. At least one study suggests that teams with diverse skill levels come out on top for performance. If a team is not meeting performance standards, the study offers two options. One is improving the skills of team members and the other is hiring an expert. Improving team skills works better for the long term. Hiring an expert onto the team works best in a tight time frame or for the short term
  2. All Team Meet. This is a meeting for all of your teams to come together. No doubt, there is work being conducted that is either implemented by, approved by, for or with, reviewed by, or exchanged with another team in your organization. Having these teams form a good working relationship by getting to know and understand one another’s needs will improve every team’s efficiency and effectiveness. This might be the time you select to go off property. Be careful to select an activity that is culturally friendly and that will appeal to as many team members as possible. This will probably leave out paint guns, golf, and fashion shows.
  3. Lead – Don’t Drive. Leading or pulling your team along creates a better, more efficient team, rather than driving or pushing the members, excluding life and death situations of course. Helping people understand why a task must be performed or the reason for a process or system (think technology) being utilized paves the way for a more cooperative, trusting, and efficient culture.
  4. Decision Making Process. In one of my recent blogs, “Why Your Team Can’t Make a Decision”, I address items and circumstances that can affect the decision making process. Being unable to reach a decision is anything but efficient and the trilogy lands in shambles. One decision making method to consider is consensus. As you know, consensus is not about the majority rule type of decision making. Rather, consensus decision making, while taking longer, is touted as being a better process.                     Tim Harnett, Ph.D. provides detailed information, complete with videos, on his site Consensus decision making is a system that can have a positive effect on people, processes, and even technology as it is fair to all team members and better decisions can be made regarding people, tasks, and technology – as well as systems of any type.

This article addresses just five elements of sustaining the trilogy of people, tasks, and technology. When a culture of trust, valuing every team member’s ideas, and establishing and maintaining values comes together, it is then and only then that all parts of the trilogy, people, tasks, and technology will work in tandem.

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