The Art of Survival

By Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant

High quality teams are becoming endangered.

Groups of individuals that are left to their own devices from infancy can quickly become disillusioned and disoriented. The aware leader soon recognizes the need to protect and nurture the group, to help it to transform to become a team.

Good team performance rarely happens by chance: it needs to be encouraged, developed and monitored. Many teams will have formed and reformed over their life span, and may in the process lose the characteristics that make them special and unique.

It is important to support teams through this process to ensure they remain a source of strength to the organization

Building on strengths

We are all different, and yet it is those differences that can make our work teams more efficient and effective.

Heterogeneous teams (those with mixed behavioural, thinking and learning styles) can reach far more creative and superior solutions to problem solving than homogeneous teams. The key is in managing these differences so they become strengths.

To optimize team performance, it is essential that mixed teams learn to build a climate that not only tolerates differences but also celebrates them. If left unmanaged, differences often become a threat and hinder progress in teams.

Coping with change

The greatest challenge for teams is to learn to manage these differences in the face of change. Good teams must learn to adapt and cope with any changes brought about by internal and external circumstances.

Market forces, for example, constantly redefine what teams must learn to deal with. Team players must keep pace with technological progress and learn to embrace the social and psychological implications of those changes.

The survivors are those that learn to function as an effective team, supporting each other through change, constantly readapting to grow through the challenges. They learn that a team is dynamic, not static

© Andrew & Gaia Grant


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