Digital Traffic Maze & the Human Touch
Congestion of traffic on the digital highway is increasing at an alarming rate. Despite what you might think, as information technology has grown more powerful and influential, the importance of human groups – as distinct from individuals – in creating knowledge and business success have increased exponentially. It is evidence the human interface can never be replaced by any technology and is the essential focus of attention to maintain & manage for teams to be successful in this day and age.
The Effectiveness Focus
The most important factor in group effectiveness turned out not to be what everybody thinks – cohesion, motivation, leadership. Instead, it’s the social sensitivity of the team members, their skills of social interaction. Most effective teams practice three distinctive ways of interacting which is characterised by firstly, short, not long winded, contributions to conversations; Secondly, they engage with “intense interactions”, with team members constantly alternating between advancing their ideas and responding to the contributions of others with “good”, “right”, “what?”. Thirdly, everyone contributes ideas and responses, taking turns more or less equally, ensuring a wide variety of responses and ideas.
The Awareness Focus
A different mind-set of awareness is necessary though to engage people in a meaningful manner, cultivate and retain valuable millennial employees now and into the future. The latest research by Dr Tasha Eurich, an Industrial – Organisational psychologist in the USA has produced some compelling proof of the relevance and validity of the meta-skill of the 21st century.
She states in her recently published New York Times best-selling book, ‘Insight’; ‘Awareness is, at its core, the ability to see ourselves clearly – to understand who we are, how others see us, and how we fit into the world/team around us’
She further states; ‘For example, employees who lack self-awareness bring down team performance, reducing decision quality by an average of 36%, hurting coordination by 46%, and increasing conflict by 30%. On aggregate, companies with large numbers of unaware employees show worse financial performance. One study showed that 79% of companies with poor financial returns have large numbers of employees who lacked self-awareness.’
The Human Touch Focus
Human interaction is so powerful that increasing its effectiveness just a little improves team performance a lot. Social interaction is the very essence of being human. Effective teams are built on person-to-person, not role-to-role, interaction. Having the courage to be real and not superficial is the key in building effective face-to-face relationships. Listening to connect is the most powerful way to relate with others to bring about both personal and interpersonal transformation. Listening to connect involves asking questions for which you don’t have answers. It is listening to give someone space to speak, and not to judge – even in your mind. To receive and discover who this person could become, not who he or she was or is. When we listen to connect – we allow their aspirational self to emerge – the self that wants to grow. We think out loud with them, co-create with them, and share their dreams with them – yet we often take away that space with our need to be right – or impose our values at their expense.
The Team Focus
As knowledge increases, people must specialize in narrower slices of it to achieve mastery. For almost any given problem today, more people’s contributions are required to find the best solutions. Teams increasingly produce higher quality work than individuals. Individuals become less likely to match it and thus more likely to become part of teams striving to produce even better work. The result is that humans working in groups are more crucial to the success of organisations (and whole economies), and the ability to work in groups is more crucial to the success of individuals.
Bridging the Gap Focus
The work world of today generates gaps when people must be able to shift from one situation to another while maintaining high levels of communication and tight coordination, when the work requires people to juggle multiple objectives with minimal oversight. It defines the practice of teaming, a dynamic process of teamwork in the fast track. Technology is employed in the form of artificial intelligence amongst others to save time and effort in bridging the gaps to get the job done. Intégro Learning SA has launched an Internet Operating Support Software System called ‘TeamingExcel®’ that incorporates AI and diagnostic tools that facilitates that type of process effectively.
Sources: Johan Cronjé, Specialist Team Performance Coach, Intégro Learning SA; Dr. Tasha Eurich, Organisation Psychologist; Dr. Alex Pentland’s Human Dynamics Laboratory and Professor at MIT USA; Jay Gilbert Ivey Business Journal