How a Group Can Become a High Performance Team Term Paper

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Group Can Become a High Performance Team

Research has shown that the key factor to the performance of an organization lies in its culture. Factors like the dynamics of change, new technologies, demands of customers, diversity of the workforce, business model challenges, stiff competition, expectations of the shareholders, reducing cycle times, and changing work ethics tend to pull an organization in several directions. This makes the requirement of a bond in the form of a strong culture all the more relevant. So, good organizations attempt to bring people towards a deeper sense of purpose by bringing together the intangible leadership issues that make up their unique character. These powerful emotions are made realistic by the strong implementation of management processes and systems that convert ideals into actions. This requires the creation of high performance teams. (Building a High Performance Culture)

The reason why the staff in an organization needs to be brought together as a team is not because building teams and teamwork are generally considered as good things for an organization. It is necessary to realize that a real team has certain key characteristics. Real teams have a small number of members and these members have complimentary skills. The members of a real team all work towards the commonly identified goal. The team has its own performance goals, in addition to the individual goals of the members of the team. The members of a real team have a common approach towards working together and hold themselves responsible as a team and not as individuals. All this makes a real team very powerful. Leadership of a real team is shared among the members and it is not necessary that this be within the bounds of hierarchy. The results such real teams achieve are outstanding. In contrast single leader groups show poor cohesion as they lack mutual accountability and do not have clear cut group objectives. They remain a group, with the single leader ensuring that each individual member is acting responsibly in their job function. (Read Me Reviews -- The Wisdom of Teams)

This is the main contrast between a single leader group and a high performance team. This does not go to say that it is necessary to convert all working groups into high performance. The nature of the challenge should be the discriminating factor. "Many challenges can be met quite nicely by an effective single-leader working group" (Read Me Reviews -- The Wisdom of Teams) It remains that there will be challenges that require a real team to face it. In those cases it will be apt to act on converting that working group into a high performance team. The essence to successful team building lies in linking it to specific challenges that the organization has to face. Research has shown that losing focus on this requirement and simply building team spirit just because it is felt it is a good idea is a bad proposition as such teams "performed worse than working groups with no team spirit at all" (Read Me Reviews -- The Wisdom of Teams)

High performance teams need certain characteristics to thrive in an environment of organizational change. These characteristics include the sharing of vision, goals, leadership and accountability. They must possess a desire for continuous learning and development and must be encouraged in this characteristic. They must also possess a focus on customer requirements and have the capability to collect and analyze and use feedback and data. These characteristics may appear as common sense characteristics, yet many a time the lack of it has seen high performance teams fail to overcome the challenges they had been set up to face. The lack of these characteristics result in "minor and major agency changes to catch teams off guard, undermine their productivity, and often cause them to question their purpose, feel defensive, or just crumble" (Leading Change)

The reason why many organizations fail to make use of the potential of teams is simply because they do not know how to utilize teams successfully. Some of the organizations that have used the potential of teams to face challenges are Motorola, 3M and Kodak. It was by using teams that Motorola was able to face competition and build the lightest, smallest and highest quality cell phones. The teams at 3M have a significant role to play in meeting the objective of the company of producing half of each year's revenues from the innovations of the earlier five years. The Zebra Team at Kodak made the continued production of black and white film worthwhile in a world where color ruled. (Read Me Reviews -- The Wisdom of Teams)

Increasing immigration into the U.S. has changed the face the country. Increased diversity is seen ethnically, culturally and racially leading to varied characteristics that are likely to impact on the collective features and future of the workforce in the U.S. "Diversity is ubiquitous, universal and indispensable." (Building a Diverse Workforce to Serve Diverse Clients) The creation of a diverse workforce does not imply just hiring people with looks and languages that are different from those currently employed. It requires the organization to understand, be knowledgeable and appreciate the differences in the workforce of the teams and groups of the organization to improve their performance. The creation of a plan that takes into consideration the value of diversity and integrates it with objectives of the team creation in an organization is necessary for the successful use of diversity in the workplace. The market place is increasingly becoming global and organizations need to understand different cultures, races, religions, genders and ages and must have a genuine appreciation of these diversities. "It is not just the right thing to do, its smart business" (Building a Diverse Workforce to Serve Diverse Clients)

It is becoming more and more relevant now for organizations to make diversity an integral and integrated factor that makes the workplace better and improves the performance of its teams and groups, instead of trying to make it a benefit targeted at the people that feel marginalized. A diverse workforce with the capacity to speak and live in the same culture as the diverse customer base adds to the benefits of the teams in such a way that may not have been taken into account earlier. There are already indications that the percentage of white males coming into the workforce is dropping. Diversity broadens the pool of candidates available to an organization to choose from. The words of Brenda Galligan, director of national recruiting for Mentor 4, Inc. is as follows: "As America becomes more and more diverse, the best people for your jobs will come from those diverse populations." (Building a Diverse Workforce to Serve Diverse Clients) Tracy Johnson, vice president of human resources for Allegis Group has this to say on the issue. "If you don't build a diverse workforce, you really limit your ability to find qualified candidates for open positions. Diversity broadens the candidate pool." (Building a Diverse Workforce to Serve Diverse Clients)

Diversity also helps to maximize customer experiences and thereby expands customer base. Any organization attempts to make the best use of every opportunity when a customer or potential customer makes contact with the organization. In the words of Ron Hetrick, director of labor market analytics for Mentor 4, Inc. "Your chances of a positive experience are so much better, when your organization reflects those people you are providing services for." (Building a Diverse Workforce to Serve Diverse Clients) Put in simple terms this means diversity provides for better contact with the customers by its teams and allows for wider distribution of the product. With a growing Hispanic population it makes sense to have Hispanic employees to cater to the contact with this segment of the market. The presence of a diverse workforce enables…[continue]

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