28 July 2017

All You Need to Know about Team Building - The Combined Wisdom of East & West

Integrating the latest research from Google and of the West, and the oldest Ancient Chinese Wisdom from the East, we have the complete guide for building high-performance teams.
Management of People is the key subject of study since the ancient of times of by the Chinese. Chinese Philosophies are essentially about how people should live in harmony with one another. So, a very good source of people management and leadership is to study Chinese Philosophies. Western Management has a much shorter history. However, western management has been a subject of serious investigations and research and have come out with much wisdom too; on one hand confirming the teaching of the Chinese philosophies and on another hand, adding details and refinements. We shall combine the wisdom of both in this study about building great teams.

Let's start with the latest discovery from Google. You can do a google search for this topic and you can find many posts on it. Here is a mind-map that captures the essence base on a post referred to in the map.

The Google Research on 5 Dynamics of Effective Teams:
The surprising thing is team effectiveness does not depend on the members' brilliance but rather on how they work together and the relationships. The leader should create the environment where such dynamics of security and love cherish. Google uses new terms like "Psychological Safety", Dependability etc.

The New Science of Building Team:
In this article, Alex narrows now key attribute for the effective team to the ways of how communications take place among members and with other teams. He also disregards the characteristics of members.  Going a step further, Alex gives three communication dynamics as energy, engagement, and exploration.


The 5 Stages of Team Building from Bruce Tuckman:
Google studies did not focus on the stages of development of teams but they did note that new teams need more structure and whereas effective teams were hindered by too many structures. As trust builds up over time, rules can be simplified or become unnecessary. An earlier work by Bruce Tuckman shows the progress of teams over time. Each stage of the development needs a different form of leadership. This is much like the "Situational Leadership" work of Ken Blanchard et al.

The Work of Gui Gu Zi Strategic Alliances and Persuasions
Going back to China and in the time of 2500 years ago, to the teaching of Gui Gu Zi, and in Chapter 3 内揵 Inner Bonding, of his book, he taught on how to about partnering for long term success. He talked of three types of partnership, no partnership, superficial partnership in form but not in heart, and close-partnership of form and heart. The key for long term partnership is a bonding of hearts and minds or desires and thoughts. Partners must share the passion about the mission, visions, and values of the partnership. These are the number 4 and 5 of the Google Effective Teams Dynamics. Google themselves have the excellent practices of leaders 'advertising' their projects and have interested colleagues to apply to join the projects. The leaders and the members can choose each other for the partnership. It is already a good starting point.  More on Inner Bonding can be found at Progress Comes from Getting Your Proposals Adopted.
Team Work from I-Ching:
Let's go back another 500-1000 years, to the book of i-Ching, the Book of Change. I have written the book "i-Ching for Success in the VUCA World". It is a book of wisdom teaching us how to navigate this complex and uncertain world for success and escaping the misfortunes. A search for "team" in the mind-map knowledge base is shown in the slide below:

You can find many similarities with the google effective teams dynamics and Tuckman's stages of team development.

Building High-Performance Teams
Putting the wisdom of East and West, Ancient and Present, together, we can get the following guidelines for building high-performance teams.

One More Thing ...
Never hope to solve a fundamental problem, such as lack of leadership, insecurity, poor communications, by going outside for some magical answer. External team building often doesn't work if you do not follow the above guidelines. Do a google and you will find articles about this. For example, see http://help4nonprofits.com/NP_PRSNL-TeamBuilding_Art.htm. If you do follow the above guidelines, may be you will see you have no need to have special team building programs at all.

Lim Liat (c) 28 Jul 2017

No comments: