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Do Less Accomplish More

   A benefit only possible with effective teamwork. However, a typical question these days; “How do we get the results when we don’t even believe we can get all the work done?” It has become a debate between people vs process. The process advocates have improved the way we work with quality and reengineered processes, yet the people damage is presenting enormous problems.

   The people advocates promote attention to the softer side of business, have created gains in the way we relate to each other, and yet these inroads do not seem to be solving the problems created by the sweeping changes in the way we do business today.  If it is not people or process, then what is it? The answer is captured in teams, the hidden spaces between people and process.

   Self-imposed restraints in a team often arise from ‘pluralistic ignorance’, a fancy way of saying: “a set of things that nobody believes in, but everybody believes that everybody else believes in”. The group-think effect in teams often happens without anyone noticing. It slips in through the backdoor so to speak and creates a negative vice grip on every level of team functioning. The result invariably is mediocrity at best and frustration and disillusionment at worst. What can be done?

  • Stop using the wrong team structure

Structures are there to bring people together. People do not connect with each other to accomplish less. In fact it should be the opposite. Does your structure facilitate the free flow of information and conversations? Does it enable people to manage interdependencies and promote self-organisation, self-management and self-motivation? Does your structure match your strategy? If the answer to any of the above is no, it’s time for change.

  • Stop doing work that’s not important

So many companies and people in them still do things because they’re used to doing them. Likened to a rat in a treadmill. If there is new work to do, shouldn’t there also be old work not to do? At least half and maybe more of the work people do to maintain what they think is important is wasted. So how do you decide which work is important? Ask the customer.

  • Stop misperceiving your team culture

The classical high maintenance, low performance employee isn’t stupid or lazy. He or she often simply uses the wrong business approach, unwittingly. The answer; reframe the way you see yourself and your team. That is, change your point of reference. It will change your boundaries and limitations. The point of reference must relate to high performance and teamwork; that is, compromise, cooperation, collaboration & communication

  • Stop interacting with the wrong people

Who are the right people? Knowing who in the team impacts on what you contribute at various stages of the delivery process is essential.  In addition, each person has unique talents, strengths and weaknesses.  Asking the wrong person to do what does not come naturally to them wastes time and effort. Getting to ‘know’ everyone’s preferred DISC style of behaving for example will enable team members to ‘team-up’ with the right person for the right reason at the right time.

  • Stop doing the wrong parts of your tasks

A lot of people are doing the wrong parts of their work. This doesn’t mean they’re doing the wrong thing. It’s just that the right thing has a lot of wrong parts in it. However, those parts are often invisible until you take a closer look. Swap those with someone who loves doing what you hate doing. It’s like a relay process. You do what you do best and hand off the rest. That’s where effective team cooperation, collaboration and communication kick in.

The options of what we think and do are limited by what we fail to notice, and because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Doing less to accomplish more requires a new mind-set. It requires a change of thinking. Without some intentional development effort, the centrifugal force of individual interests and/or the lack of skill in how to effectively “team-up” will certainly guarantee that no team will ever reach a level of performance maturity to accomplish more. It applies to all teams, from the shop floor up to executive level.

Sources: Intégro Learning SA – Johan Cronjé, CEO and Specialist Team Coach; Allen Fahden, Specialist Innovation & Business Performance Consultant USA.

Johan Cronjé is the owner and MD of Intégro Learning SA, the team effectiveness resource authority in SA. Johan has more than 35 years of hands-on experience across a wide range of industries helping teams to become more successful. Our unique team specific software system on the Internet is used by teams. Email, johanc@oronolearning.com; Cell 082 8016312. Website; www.teams.co.za