Broken Teams Damage Your Business

Released on: March 17, 2008, 9:24 pm

Press Release Author: sunil sharma

Industry: Management

Press Release Summary: A profitable business bottom line depends on effective
teaming as much today as it ever did; yet, "effective teaming" may be destined to be
no more than another irrelevant buzz phrase, because by and large teams are still
dysfunctional and broken.

Press Release Body: A profitable business bottom line depends on effective teaming
as much today as it ever did; yet, "effective teaming" may be destined to be no more
than another irrelevant buzz phrase, because by and large teams are still
dysfunctional and broken.

If you've ever worked in a team - and I've yet to meet someone who hasn't - I know
you have at least one horror story to tell about a team that crashed and burned.
Isn't it ironic that with all that's been written about the negative impact
dysfunctional teams can have on business and with all the training available to help
correct the problem, success is still elusive.

It's easy to ignore the damage that dysfunctional teams can do to a business, but
the financial impact can be huge. Consider the wasted time in meetings debating the
same issues again and again, as well as the constant squabbles and in-fighting over
priorities that lead to inaction or worse, bad decisions that result in good money
being thrown down the drain.

A recent Microsoft study found that U.S. workers spent an average of 5.6 hours per
week sitting in meetings and 69 percent reported that they were not productive.
Business is about increasing revenue and profits, so the financial implications to
the organization are significant. A $100,000 worker will cost their employer roughly
$13,000 to sit through meetings that waste time and do nothing to further the
organization's business goals. Ask yourself if you can afford the $130,000 price tag
for having a 10 person team waste hours week after week.

Though some are jaded at the prospect that teams can work together successfully, I
believe they can. Developing the cohesiveness that ensures success, though, requires
that the root causes of team dysfunction are identified and cured. However,
overcoming the issues that lead to dysfunction in the first place is a daunting task
requiring openness, disciple and the courage to see it through. The reality is that
many teams can't or won't summon the strength to tackle the challenge, but those
willing to take it on will surely reap the rewards.

There are scores of reasons why teams don't work. Common ones touted are a lack of
clarity about team member roles, a lack of focus on doing the right things at the
right time in the teaming process, a lack of appreciation for the unique strengths
of every team member, and a failure to reward and recognize the contributions made
by each person. Mix in conflicting professional agendas, increasing diversity, lack
of trust, a global business world where people are teamed together "virtually", as
well as a resistance to clarifying goals and roles up front, and it's no wonder
teams are stuck.

For teams to perform at their peak, it all begins with trust, unfortunately a rare
commodity these days. Trust is the first and most critical component of building a
strong team. However, trust cannot be forged when team members put their personal
agenda first, refuse to ask for help, when they are unwilling to admit mistakes and
blame others, or they summarily dismiss the opinions and ideas of other team
members. If team members don't feel they can trust each other, effective teaming is

One way to begin building trust is to recognize that people behave differently; they
exhibit different behavioral styles and they have different motivations. While you
cannot motivate another person, all people are motivated. The mistaken assumption
often made is that all team members are motivated by the same things and nothing
could be further from the truth. For example, in a situation where a team is working
together to achieve a sales goal, it might be easy to assume that everyone is
motivated to hit the sales target. But are they really? What happens when not
everyone on the team stands to earn compensation for hitting the goal? Sure, the
sales person cares, but does the support staff have the same motivation if they
don't share in the commission? Doubtful.

Taking the time to develop a greater understanding of individual behavioral styles
and motivations will foster a trusting environment, improve communications and
builds a foundation for effective interactions with other people. And before you
start griping about not having enough time, remember that it costs your company in
more ways than one if you don't make the time. Doing the upfront work positions
teams for innovative performance.

Cohesive, high performing teams give an organization a powerful competitive edge.
Great teams don't waste precious time focused on the wrong issues, nor do they
constantly revisit the same topics over and over again, in meeting after meeting,
because team members didn't buy-in to the goals from the beginning. High performing
teams make high quality decisions; they get more done in less time without the
normal personal hassles and frustrations. Finally, when it comes to keeping great
talent in the organization, which is itself a significant competitive advantage,
remember great people don't walk away from teams that get it right!

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