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Katzenbach and Smith Essay

Introduction

For this essay I will be explaining what I might do to encourage team performance by using Katzenbach and Smith’s Article as a scaled directive/guideline. The discipline of teams has been useful to show how to encourage team performance and this I will explain I will explain in the first part of this essay.

Main Body

According to Katzenbach and Smith, there is an importance to distinguish between Teams and Groups. Why? Because it is believed that Teams are different from Groups because they use collective working whereas Groups are based around individual performance.

8 things that Katzenbach and Smith said about how to encourage Teamwork are:

‘Establish urgency, demanding performance standards, and direction’. – Katzenbach and Smith: ‘All team members need to believe the team has urgent and worthwhile purposes, and want to know what the expectations are.’

I can use this to encourage team performance by setting standards, rules and directions so the team will know their purpose and what goals they are aiming for.

‘Select members for skill and skill potential, not personality’. – Katzenbach and Smith: ‘No team succeeds without the skills needed to meet its purpose and performance goals. Yet most teams figure out the skills they will need after they are formed.’

You can choose the people to be team leaders, purely based on their skills. This people will need to have good skills most especially the ‘Leadership skills and Motivational Skills’ in order to take charge of the team in absence of the manager.

‘Set some clear rules of behaviour’. – Katzenbach and Smith: ‘All effective teams develop rules of conduct at the outset to help them achieve their purpose and performance goals.’

To encourage team performance I would make sure I have the team’s attention with no distractions from phones etc., make sure everyone gets a clear chance to speak with no interruptions and constructive confrontation, agree that the only things to leave the room is what is agreed on, always make sure that everyone has an analytic approach while doing research and last of all make sure everyone gets assignments to themselves and make sure they are done.

‘Challenge the group regularly with fresh facts and information.’ – Katzenbach and Smith: ‘New information causes a team to redefine and enrich it’s understanding of the performance challenge, thereby helping the shape a common purpose, set clearer goals and improve its common approach.’

I can use this to encourage teamwork by always making sure that everyone on the team does research to see defects in the way the team works, and then have sessions where we discuss how this defects can be sorted out.

‘Spend lots of time together.’ – Katzenbach and Smith: ‘Common sense tells us that team members must spend a lot of time together, scheduled and unscheduled, especially in the beginning.’

This can be used to encourage teamwork as it will create creative insights and personal bonds between the team members as they will slowly star to develop a work relationship between each other.

‘Exploit the positive feedback, recognition, and reward.’ Katzenbach and Smith: ‘Positive reinforcement works as well in a team context as elsewhere.

This will help encourage team performance as it allows people in the team to get a sense that yes they are being shown gratitude for all the hard they’ve show. One other way you can encourage team work it to use ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (Goleman) this is needed to improve a team as it brings concepts of love and spirituality: bringing compassion and humanity to work and ‘Multiple Intelligence’ theory which illustrates and measures capabilities people possess, and also help show that everybody has a value in the team.

But Teams may also have many risks attached and in this part of essay I will be analysing these risks.

For example ‘Conformity’, this is the action of always acting in accordance to prevailing social standards, attitude, and practices etc.

An example of this type of behaviour can be seen in Solomon Asch’s ‘Studies in Conformity’ – in one of Asch’s experiment which was design to show how perfect normal human beings can be pressured into unusual behaviour by authority figures, or by the consensus of opinion around them. The experiment was.

Eight subjects were seated round a table to prevent suspicion. Only one participant was actually a genuine subject while the others were just actors to give already selected responses.

The experiment was each participant was in turn asked to answer a series of question, such as which line was the longest or which matched the reference line. The results came out as ‘over one third of the subjects also voiced an incorrect option.’

Asch’s experiment gives us a slight insight into how conformity affects a team. Another risk team work is ‘Groupthink’. Groupthink is when groups of people in a team harmonise in a decision making group override a realistic alternative as it differs from their group’s alternative.

An example of group think can be seen ‘Group Decision Fiascos Continue: Space Shuttle Challenger and Revised Groupthink Framework’. The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger is the worst disaster in space flight history and it crippled the American space programme. The NASA managers knew about the faults if they launched the space craft, but despite a huge amount of warnings from their engineers about the dangers if launching posed by the low temperatures that morning. The NASA managers also failed to adequately repost the problems to their superiors and this was what actually caused the catastrophic disaster.

And this is why groupthink is a risk of Teamwork. As people can be shut out and made to look as it they didn’t know what they were talking about or being made to look as if they were outcasts.

Conclusion

But all in all we have to give credit to Katzenbach and Smith for their work in finding ways in improving team work as they have given us a great insight in to improving performance in a team by setting showing how and what it takes to make a team function properly. But as highlighted teams can be risky as they can cause ‘conformity’, and sticky situations like ‘groupthink’ which cause cost lives and not on lives, in a business environment it could cost sales to drop etc. Teamwork has lots of risks but if team work is carried out properly then it is most like nothing will go wrong for the people in the team.


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