Team-playing vs. Individualistic Business Approach

Dear M & M: Recently it has been advised from several competitors that teams and groups can operate more effectively and efficiently than individualistic approaches. I am still not convinced. I think I can be more flexible and efficient playing the lone wolf and keeping any decision making processes to myself. – Jill

Dear Jill:

As always every business solution is situational. I am certain an answer to your question depends on several key points. Your expertise in solving the problem, the complexity of the problem, need for others to buy-in, speed at what an answer needs to be delivered and your ability to see every known solution are just a few. I must agree the lone wolf can move at speeds groups would have a hard time competing with. Time can be money, but the wrong answer could be more costly than taking the time to make sure you have  covered every possible solution.

Any dysfunctional group clearly makes the case for not using group processes in decision making for any organization. Work groups clearly have a role to play. One must make sure the group has some components in place to make it functional. Group size, member roles, rules of behavior and group cohesiveness all play a part in the effectiveness of any group. Every group must have a clear role, open discussion, constructive participation by all, people willing to listen, be able to arrive at a consensus, have clear defined  roles for all players in the group and have the scope of everyone’s work clear to everyone in the group. Every effective group also needs a defined designated leader.

This leader must possess the ability and have the willingness to share leadership at various times throughout the process. In addition, outside relationships with external partners or others needs to be maintained. The group should be open to ideas outside the group during the process. Diversity and recognizing others viewpoints need to be considered at all times. Finally, self assessment needs to be ongoing throughout the entire process. “Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for anyone to reach the heights of their capabilities or make the money that they want without becoming very good at it”.  – Brian Tracy Author of 21 Secrets of Self-made Millionaires



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