Employability Skills and Swot Analysis Essay

Employability Skills and Swot Analysis Essay.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) define employability skills as ‘the skills almost everyone needs to do almost at any job’. The employability skills term as UKCES defined in 2008 is most often related with the ‘job readiness’ through demonstration of some elements of the personal characteristics such as (time keeping, responsibility, basic social interaction etc.) but less related with creative thinking and problem solving skills. The term ‘employability skills’ is also connected with other backgrounds, especially with Higher Education.

The employability skills that identify me and my future career can be categorized in nine major groups of skills. The first groups of skills are the communication skills. The communication skills are the set of skills that allow an individual to transport information so that it is received and understood (Schroeder, A, 2010).

The second groups of skills are the team work skills, which can be defined as the process of interacting and working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal (Felder, R.

M., & Silverman, L. K., 1988). In addition another group of skills are the organization and planning skills. Those types of skills can be defined as the way of working in a methodical approach, prioritizing and using time management, in order to carry out tasks effectively, for either yourself or your team (Felder, R. M. and Soloman, B. A., 2003). Besides the organization and planning skills, another group of skills that characterizes me, are the problem solving skills. We can define those skills as the process by which an individual or a team works through details of a problem, utilizing their creativity, available information and resources, reasoning and past experiences, in order to reach a solution (Gardner, H., 1983).

Another important group of skills are the flexibility and adaptability skills which can be defined as the ability to be adaptable and responsive, to change in any given situation or work environment, or in response to the needs, wishes or demands of others (Honey, P. and Mumford, A., 1986). Additionally another important group of skills are the action planning skills. The action planning skills can be defined as the process which will help you to emphasize your ideas, and to decide what steps you need to take or activities that must be performed, to achieve particular goals (Honey, P., 1992). Moreover another important group of employability skills are the self-awareness skills which can be defined as the ability to know and understand yourself, including strengths, weaknesses, achievements, feelings and behaviors, and what you want out of life (Kolb, 1984). Furthermore another group of employability skills are the initiative skills.

That group of skills can be defined as the ability to act and make decisions without the help or advice of other people (Honey, P., 1992). The last groups of employability skills are the personal impact and confidence skills. This group of skills can be defined as an approach which allows us to have a positive and realistic perception of ourselves and our abilities (Perry, 1968). SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. A SWOT analysis can be carried out for a product, a place or a person. I

t involves identifying the objective of the business project or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are positive and negative to achieving that objective. The technique is official due to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies. In my case I am going to perform swot analysis for each of the nine groups of employability skills that I mentioned above. I am going to highlight the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities and the threats for all the groups of skills that I have mentioned before.

Communication skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

The first of my strengths as far as the communication skills is the process of presenting information in various formats. A strength that I obtained by being a member of my high schools argument team. Another of my strength is the process of motivating and encouraging others, a strength that I gained as a member and a captain in A.S. Aris water polo for seven years. Furthermore by being a secretary at my father’s clinic for the last two years, I gained the strength of questioning, listening, giving and accepting criticism. At last another of my strengths is the process of persuading and negotiating. A strength that I obtained as I was my class president for the last two years of high school.

Weaknesses:

As for my weaknesses as far as the communication skills are concerned I have to point out that the most of them exist due to the lack of my experience in the workplace. Construct coherent arguments and articulate ideas clearly to a range of audiences is a weakness to my communication skills but I will try to improve it in the future through knowledge and experience inherited by a variety of seminars connected to the subject that I am going to take. Another of my weaknesses is the fact that I cannot easily choose forms of delivery, structure and language appropriate to audience. A weakness that I tend to improve through studying about the subject. At last some other weaknesses of me are, understanding the others body language and my lack to articulate.

Opportunities:

I can get help from others or from people via the Internet.I can establish a network of strategic contacts that can help, or offer me good advices. If the customers or vendors of my future workplace complain i can create an opportunity by offering them a solution.

Threats:

I have poor marketing skills.
There is a lot of competition in my field.
A lot of communication may lead to negative results.

Team Work skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

The first of my strengths as far as the team work skills is that I can easily work and cooperate with other people from different cultural backgrounds, as I was a reservation manager for three summers (summer 2009-2011) at Spitaki bar-club. Some other of my strengths are the element of leadership, the process of taking a share of responsibility, the process of accepting and learning from constructive criticism, and the process of understanding role in a team . I obtained those skills as a member and a captain of A.S. Aris water polo team for seven years. At last I gained the process of the analysis of problem or task, and the strength of respecting others, as I worked as a bartender to Goldfish Bar for three years (2009- 2011).

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the team work skills are, that I am not so good at mediating between people, I have weak develop and maintain networks skill, that I am not working with confidence and that I am not being assertive. I will try to improve those weaknesses in the future by finding a role model and read the biographies of people that i admire.

Opportunities:

With my teamwork skills and through cooperation my job becomes easier. New innovative ideas are coming to the ‘’table’’ easier after brainstorming. By treating my team with respect any set of targets are achieved efficiently with accuracy.

Threats:

Differences in the character of the members of the team may lead to arguments and misconducts. My inability of maintaining networks will have a negative result in a team work project. My lack of confidence may lead in a negative result in a team work project.

Organization and Planning Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

To begin with, my strengths as far as the organization and planning skills are the ability of good record keeping, the process of assigning priorities and the ability of undertaking good research. Those skills where obtained by attending several university classes. Some other of my strengths are that I am very good at documentation and attention to detail and at the process of setting clear goals that are achievable and measurable. Those were obtained by me as I worked as a secretary at my father’s clinic for the last two years.

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the organization and planning skills are, that I am not so good at the process of scheduling resources, managing time effectively and developing processes and procedures. Also I need to improve the processes of reviewing progress, and working to deadlines.

Opportunities:
Knowledge of new technology can help in my future work. I keep my knowledge up to date by reading regularly the ‘’Economist’’ magazine. Attention to detail will provide me with better employment opportunities.

Threats:

My lack of experience may lead to mistakes and miscalculations. Since I am not good at time managing i may not achieve my goals on time. Organization may lead to misconducts and arguments.

Problem Solving Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

My strengths as far as the problem solving skills are, my ability of setting goals, the process of using initiative and logical reasoning and the element of evaluating information. Strengths that I obtained as I worked as a secretary at my father’s clinic for the last two years. Furthermore some of my other strength are, the processes of the decision making, planning, implementing, delegating tasks and responsibilities and the ability to identify and analyze situations. . I obtained those skills as a member and a captain of A.S. Aris water polo team for seven years.

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the problem solving skills are that I am not good at experimenting with new methods, negotiations and the process of resolving conflicts. In addition I do not possess the ability to deal with and implement change. I will try to improve those weaknesses in the future by earning experience from future works.

Opportunities:

My elements of setting goals and evaluating information will help me be more accurate and efficient at my workplace. I am responsible and mature, elements that will help me to be successful at my field.

Threats:

My lack of experience may lead to mistakes and miscalculations. The fact that there is a lot of competition in my field.

Flexibility and Adaptability Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

My strengths as far as the flexibility and adaptability skills are the processes of managing multiple assignments and tasks at the same time and working either independently or as part of a team. I obtained those skills as a member and a captain of A.S. Aris water polo team for seven years and as I worked as a bartender to Goldfish Bar for three years (2009- 2011).

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the flexibility and adaptability skills are, that I cannot easily adapt to changing conditions and work assignments and I find it hard to set parameters.

Opportunities:

I have a flexible and adaptable character which is a basic element for a work in field. I gained the ability of working either independently or as part of a team, an element which creates a big advantage for my future carrier. I love to travel so a job that includes traveling seems ideal.

Threats:

Changing work conditions and work assignments can confuse me.
Action Planning Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

My strengths as far as the action planning skills are, the ability of identifying objectives, using lists, setting clearly defined steps and prioritizing tasks effectively. The above were obtained by me as I worked as a secretary at my father’s clinic for the last two years.

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the action planning skills are, I find hard to work to deadlines, to develop a contingency plan and to develop a timetable or work schedule. I intend to improve those weaknesses by earning experience as I will continue to work as a secretary at my father’s clinic.

Opportunities:

The job am willing to follow is in a high growing industry. I am watching networking events, educational classes, or conferences so that I will be ready when the time for an interview comes. I am trying to accomplish a new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations.

Threats:

I find hard to work to deadlines, to develop a contingency plan and to develop a timetable or work schedule, element that create threats for my future work.

Self-Awareness Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

My strengths as far as the self-awareness skills are the ability of receiving and using feedback, the ability to reflect on what I have learnt and the ability of understanding my strengths. The above were obtained by me as I worked as a reservation manager for three summers (summer 2009-2011) at Spitaki bar-club.

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the self-awareness skills are, that I find hard to understand where the gaps in my knowledge and experience are, how to recognize my motives and how to identify my own training needs. Skills that I tend to improve in the near future through university classes.

Opportunities:

I can get help from others or from people via the Internet which creates an advantage for my place at the current market. I have the specific skills (like a second language) that could help my future company or workplace for an expansion or acquisition. I will take advantage of my competitors failing to do something important in order to climb up the hierarchy.

Threats:

I find hard to understand where the gaps in my knowledge and experience are and how to recognize my motives, elements that could risk my potential carrier. My lack of experience may lead to mistakes and miscalculations.
Initiative Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

My strengths as far as the initiative skills are, that I have the ability of giving assistance to others, of finding a solution to a problem quickly and effectively, of taking responsibility and of introducing improvements. I obtained these strengths as I worked as a bartender to Goldfish Bar for three years (2009- 2011).

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the initiative skills are, that I find hard to generate ideas, to challenge perceptions and to be creative. . I will try to improve those weaknesses in the future by earning experience from future works.

Opportunities:

I will try to identify the needs of my workplace that no one is filling. If a colleague is going on an extended leave. I could take on some of this person’s projects to gain experience.

Threats:

My lack of experience may lead to mistakes and miscalculations. There is a lot of competition in my field.

Personal Impact and Confidence Skills SWOT analysis

Strengths:

My strengths as far as the personal impact and confidence skills are, that I own the ability to display a sense of control, to show positive attitude to work, to take responsibility for own learning and reflective practice, and to act as a role model. Strengths that I gained as a member and a captain in A.S. Aris water polo for seven years.

Weaknesses:

My weaknesses as far as the personal impact and confidence skills are, that I find hard to seek advice and support, I am not able to establish boundaries and I do not have awareness of growth, progress and achievements

Opportunities:

I have sense of control, an element that will help me to be a vital employ of my company or industry. I am confident as a person, an element that is very important in order to achieve my goals.

Threats:

My lack of experience may lead to mistakes and miscalculations. The fact that there is a lot of competition in my field. My inability of maintaining networks will have a negative result in a team work project.

References

Schroeder, A., (2010), The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of using social software in higher and further education teaching and learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 26: 159–174.

Felder, R. M., & Silverman, L. K. (1988). Learning and Teaching Styles in Engineering Education. Eng. Education, 78(7), 674–681.

Felder, R. M. and Soloman, B. A. (2003). Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire Available online at http://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html

Gardner, H. (1983) “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences.” New York: http://ebooksfreedownload.org/tag/gardner-frames-of-mind-pdf

Honey, P. and Mumford, A. (1986). Using your learning styles. Maidenhead: Peter Honey

Honey, P. (1992). The manual of learning styles: Revised version. Maidenhead: Peter Honey

Kolb (1984), Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
(available at: http://academic.regis.edu/ed205/Kolb.pdf )

Perry (1968) Patterns of development in thought and values of students in a liberal arts college.

UKCES. (2008). UK Commission for Employment and Skills – Employability Skills Project, Review of Evidence on Best Practice in Teaching and Assessing Employability Skills, ( available at: http://www.ukces.org.uk/assets/ukces/docs/publications/employability-skills-project.pdf)

Employability Skills and Swot Analysis Essay

Creating the Guiding Coalition Essay

Creating the Guiding Coalition Essay.

Major transformations are often associated with one highly visible individual. Consider Chrysler’s come back from near bankruptcy in the early 1980s, and we think of Lee Iacocca. Mention Wal-Mart’s ascension from small-fry to in­dustry leader and Sam Walton comes to mind. Read about IBM’s efforts to renew itself, and the story centers around Lou Gerstner. After a while, one might easily conclude that the kind of leadership that is so critical to any change can come only from a single larger than life person.

This is a very dangerous belief.

Because major change is so difficult to accomplish, a powerful force is required to sustain the process. No one individual, even a monarch-like CEO, is ever able to develop the right vision, communicate it to large numbers of people, eliminate all the key obstacles, generate short-term wins, lead and manage dozens of change projects, and anchor new approaches deep in the organization’s culture. Weak committees are even worse.

A strong guiding coalition is always needed-one with the right composition, level of trust, and shared objective. Building such a team is always an essential part of the early stages of any effort to restructure, reengineer, or retool a set of strategies.

1. Going It Alone: The Isolated CEO

The food company in this case had an economic track record between 1975 and 1990 that was extraordinary. Then the industry changed, and the firm stumbled badly. The CEO was a remarkable individual. Being 20 percent leader, 40 percent manager, and the rest financial genius, he had guided his company successfully by making shrewd acquisitions and running a tight ship. When his industry changed in the late 1980s, he tried to transform the firm to cope with the new conditions. And he did so with the same style he had been using for fifteen years that of a monarch, with advisors. “King” Henry had an executive committee, but it was an information-gathering/dispensing group, not a decision-making body.

The real work was done outside the meetings. Henry would think about an issue alone in his office. He would then share an idea with Charlotte and listen to her comments. He would have lunch with Frank and ask him a few questions. He would play golf with Ari and note his reaction to an idea. Eventually, the CEO would make a decision by himself. Then, depending on the nature of the decision, he would announce it at an executive committee meeting or, if the matter was somehow sensitive, tell his staff one at a time in his office. They in turn would pass the information on to others as needed.

This process worked remarkably well between 1975 and 1990 for at least four reasons: (1) the pace of change in Henry’s markets was not very fast, (2) he knew the industry well; (3) his company had such a strong position that being late or wrong on anyone decision was not that risky, and (4) Henry was one smart fellow.

And then the industry changed.

For four years, until his retirement in 1994, Henry tried to lead a transformation effort using the same process that had served him so well for so long. But this time the approach did not work because both the number and the nature of the decisions being made were different in some important ways.

Prior to 1990, the issues were on average smaller, less complex, less emotionally charged, and less numerous. A smart person, using the one-on-one discussion format, could make good decisions and have them implemented. With the industry in flux and the need for major change inside the firm, the issues suddenly came faster and bigger. One person, even an exceptionally capable individual, could no longer handle this decision stream well. Choices were made and communicated too slowly. Choices were made without a full understanding of the issues. Employees were asked to make sacrifices without a clear sense of why they should do so.

After two years, objective evidence suggested that Henry’s approach wasn’t working. Instead of changing, he became more isolated and pushed harder. One questionable acquisition and a bitter layoff later, he reluctantly retired (with more than a small push from his board).

2. Running on Empty: The Low-Credibility Committee

This second scenario I have probably seen two dozen times. The biggest champion of change is the human resource executive, the quality officer, or the head of strategic planning. Someone talks the boss into putting this staff officer in charge of a task force that includes people from a number of departments and an outside consultant or two. The group may include an up-and-coming leader in the organization, but it does not have the top three or four individuals in the executive pecking order. And out of the top fifteen officers, only two to four are members.

Because the group has an enthusiastic head, the task force makes progress for a while. But all of the political animals both on and off this committee figure out quickly that it has little chance of long-term success, and thus limit their assistance, involvement, and commitment. Because everyone on the task force is busy, and because some are not convinced this is the best use of their time, scheduling enough meetings to create a shared diagnosis of the firm’s problems and to build trust among the group’s members becomes impossible. Nevertheless, the leader of the committee refuses to give up and struggles to make visible progress, of­ten because of an enormous sense of dedication to the firm or its employees.

After a while, the work is done by a subgroup of three or four mostly the chair, a consultant, and a Young Turk. The rest of the members rubber-stamp the ideas this small group produces, but they neither contribute much nor feel any commitment to the process. Sooner or later the problem becomes visible: when the group can’t get a consensus on key recommendations, when its committee recommendations fall on deaf ears, or when it tries to implement an idea and runs into a wall of passive resistance. With much hard work, the committee does make a few contributions, but they come only slowly and incrementally.

A post-mortem of the affair shows that the task force never had a chance of becoming a functioning team of powerful people who shared a sense of problems, opportunities, and commitment to change. From the outset, the group never had the credibility necessary to provide strong leadership. Without that credibility, you have the equivalent of an eighteen-wheeler truck being propelled by a lawn mower engine.

Meanwhile, as this approach fails, the company’s competitive position gets a little weaker and the industry leader gets a little farther ahead.

3. Keeping Pace with Change: The Team

The central issue in both of these scenarios is that neither firm is taking into account the speed of market and technological change. In a less competitive and slower-moving world, weak committees can help organizations adapt at an acceptable rate. A committee makes recommendations. Key line managers reject most of the ideas. The group offers additional suggestions. The line moves another inch. The committee tries again. When both competition and technological change are limited, this approach can work. But in a faster-moving world, the weak committee always fails.

In a slow-moving world, a lone-ranger boss can make needed changes by talking to Charlotte, then Frank, then Ari and reflecting on what they say. He can go back to each of them for more information. After making a decision, he can communicate it to Charlotte, Frank, and Ari. Information processing is sequential and orderly. As long as the boss is capable and time is available, the process can work well. In a faster- moving world, this ponderous linear activity breaks down. It is too slow. It is not well enough informed with real time information. And it makes implementation more difficult.

Today’s business environment clearly demands a new process of decision making (see figure 4-1). In a rapidly moving world, individuals and weak committees rarely have all the information needed to make good non routine decisions. Nor do they seem to have the credibility or the time required to convince others to make the personal sacrifices called for in implementing changes. Only teams with the right composition and sufficient trust among members can be highly effective under these new circumstances.

Decision making in today’s business environment

This new truism applies equally well to a guiding change coalition on the factory floor, in the new-product development process, or at the very top of an organization during a major transformation effort. A guiding coalition that operates as an effective team can process more information, more quickly. It can also speed the implementation of new approaches because powerful people are truly informed and committed to key decisions.

So why don’t managers use teams more often to help produce change? To some degree, a conflict of interest is involved. Teams aren’t promoted, individuals are, and individuals need unambiguous track records to advance their careers. The argument “I was on a team that … ” doesn’t sell well in most places today.

But to an even greater degree, the problem is related to history. Most senior-level executives were raised managerially in an era when teamwork was not essential. They may have talked “team” and used sports metaphors, but the reality was hierarchical-typically, a boss and his eight direct reports. Having seen many examples of poorly functioning committees, where everything moves slower instead of faster, they are often much more comfortable in sticking with the old format, even if it is working less and less well over time.

The net result: In a lot of reengineering and re strategizing efforts, people simply skip this step or give it minimum attention. Then they race ahead to try to create the vision, or to downsize the organization, or whatever. But sooner or later, the lack of a strong team to guide the effort proves fatal.

4. Putting Together the Guiding Coalition

The first step in putting together the kind of team that can direct a change effort is to find the right membership. Four key characteristics seem to be essential to effective guiding coalitions. They are:

I. POSITION POWER: Are enough key players on board, especially the main line managers, so that those left out cannot easily block progress?

II. EXPERTISE: Are the various points of view-in terms of discipline, work experience, nationality, etc.-relevant to the task at hand adequately represented so that informed, intelligent decisions will be made?

III. CREDIBILITY: Does the group have enough people with good reputations in the firm so that its pronouncements will be taken seriously by other employees?

IV. LEADERSHIP: Does the group include enough proven lead­ers to be able to drive the change process?

This last concern, about leadership, is particularly important. You need both management and leadership skills on the guiding coalition, and they must work in tandem, teamwork style. The former keeps the whole process under control, while the latter drives the change. (The grids in figure 4- 2 depict various combinations of leadership and management that may or may not work.)

Profiles of four different guiding coalitions

A guiding coalition with good managers but poor leaders will not succeed. A managerial mind-set will develop plans, not vision; it will vastly under communicate the need for and direction of change; and it will control rather than empower people. Yet companies with much historical success are often left with corporate cultures that create just that mind-set that rejects both leaders and leadership. Ironically, great success creates a momentum that demands more and more managers to keep the growing enterprise under control while requiring little if any leadership. In such firms, much care needs to be exercised or the guiding coalition will lack this critical element.

Missing leadership is generally addressed in three ways: (1) people are brought in from outside the firm, (2) employees who know how to lead are promoted from within, or (3) employees who hold positions requiring leadership, but who rarely lead, are encouraged to accept the challenge. Whatever the method chosen to get there, the end result-a team with leadership skills-must be the same. Never forget: A guiding coalition made up only of managers­ even superb managers who are wonderful people-will cause major change efforts to fail. The size of an effective coalition seems to be related to the size of the organization. Change often starts with just two or three people. The group in successful transformations then grows to half a dozen in relatively small firms or in small units of larger firms. In bigger enterprises, twenty to fifty may eventually need to be signed up.

5. Qualities to Avoid-or Manage Carefully

Two types of individuals should be avoided at all costs when putting together a guiding coalition. The first have egos that fill up a room, leaving no space for anybody else. The second are what I call snakes, people who create enough mistrust to kill teamwork. At senior levels in most organizations, people have large egos. But unless they also have a realistic sense of their weaknesses and limitations, unless they can appreciate complementary strengths in others, and unless they can subjugate their immediate interests to some greater goal, they will probably contribute about as much to a guiding coalition as does nuclear waste. If such a person is the central player in the coalition, you can usually kiss teamwork and a dramatic transformation good bye.

Snakes are equally disastrous, although in a different way. They damage the trust that is always an essential ingredient in team­work. A snake is an expert at telling Sally something about Fred and Fred something about Sally that undermines Sally and Fred’s relationship.

Snakes and big egos can be extremely intelligent, motivated, and productive in certain ways. As such, they can get promoted to senior management positions and be logical candidates for a guiding coalition. Smart change agents seem to be skilled at spotting these people and keeping them off the team. If that’s impossible, capable leaders watch and manage these folks very carefully.

Another type of individual to at least be wary of is the reluctant player. In organizations with extremely high urgency rates, getting people to sign on to a change coalition is easy. But since high urgency is rare, more effort is often required, especially for a few key people who have no interest in signing on. Jerry is an overworked division-level CFO in a major oil company. Conservative by nature, he is more manager than leader and is naturally suspicious of calls for significant change because of the potential disruption and risk. But after having performed well at his corporation for thirty-five years, Jerry is too powerful and too respected to be ignored. Consequently, his division head has devoted hours over a period of two months attempting to convince him that major change is necessary and that Jerry’s active involvement is essential.

Halfway through the courtship, the CFO still makes excuses, citing his lack of both time and qualifications to help. But persistence pays off, and Jerry eventually signs up. It can be tempting to write off people like Jerry and try to work around them. But if such individuals are central players with a lot of authority or credibility, this tactic rarely works well. Very of­ten the problem with signing up a Jerry goes back to urgency. He doesn’t see the problems and opportunities very clearly, and the same holds for the people with whom he interacts on a daily basis. With complacency high, you’ll never convince him to give the time and effort needed to create a winning coalition.

When people like Jerry have the qualities of a snake or big ego, a negotiated resignation or retirement is often the only sensible option. You don’t want them on the guiding coalition, but you also can’t afford to have them outside the meeting room causing prob­lems. Organizations are often reluctant to confront this issue, usu­ally because these people have either special skills or political sup­port. But the alternative is usually worse-having them undermine a new strategy or a cultural renewal effort. Afraid to confront the problem, we convince ourselves that Jerry isn’t so bad or that we can manoeuvre around him. So we move on, only to curse ourselves later for not dealing with the issue. In this kind of situation, remember the following: Personnel problems that can be ignored during easy times can cause serious trouble in a tougher faster-moving, globalizing economy.

6. Building an Effective Team Based on Trust and a Common Goal

Teamwork on a guiding change coalition can be created in many different ways. But regardless of the process used, one component is necessary: trust. When trust is present, you will usually be able to create teamwork. When it is missing, you won’t. Trust is absent in many organizations. People who have spent their careers in a single department or division are often taught loyalty to their immediate group and distrust of the motives of others, even if they are in the same firm. Lack of communication and many other factors heighten misplaced rivalry. So the engineers view the salespeople with great suspicion, the German subsidiary looks at the American parent with disdain, and so on. When employees promoted up from these groups are asked to work together on a guiding coalition during a change effort, teamwork rarely comes easily because of the residual lack of trust. The resulting parochial game playing can prevent a needed transformation from taking place.

This single insight about trust can be most helpful in judging whether a particular set of activities will produce the kind of team that is needed. If the activities create the mutual understanding, respect, and caring associated with trust, then you’re on the right road. If they don’t, you’re not.

Forty years ago, firms that tried to build teams used mostly in­formal social activity. All the executives met one another’s families. Over golf, Christmas parties, and dinners, they developed relationships based on mutual understanding and trust.

Family-oriented social activity is still used to build teams, but it has a number of serious drawbacks today. First, it is a slow process. Occasional activity that is not aimed primarily at team building can take a decade or more. Second, it works best in families with only one working spouse. In the world of dual careers, few of us have enough time for frequent social obligations in two different organizations. Third, this kind of group development process tends to exert strong pressures to conform. Political ideas, lifestyles, and hobbies are all pushed toward the mean. Someone who is different has to conform or leave. Groupthink, in the negative sense of the term, can be a consequence.

Team building today usually has to move faster, allow for more diversity, and do without at-home spouses. To accommodate this reality, by far the most common vehicle used now is some form of carefully planned off-site set of meetings. A group of eight or twelve or twenty-four go somewhere for two to five days with the explicit objective of becoming more of a team. They talk, analyse, climb mountains, and play games, all for the purpose of increasing mutual understanding and trust.

The first attempts at this sort of activity, about thirty years ago, were so much like a kind of quick-and-dirty group therapy that they often did not work. More recently, the emphasis has shifted to both more intellectual tasks aimed at the head and bonding activities aimed at the heart. People look long and hard at some data about the industry and then go sailing together.

A typical off-site retreat involves ten to fifty people for three to six days. Internal staff or external consultants help plan the meeting. Much of the time is spent encouraging honest discussions about how individuals think and feel with regard to the organization, its problems and opportunities. Communication channels between people are opened or strengthened. Mutual understanding is enlarged. Intellectual and social activities are designed to encourage the growth of trust. Such team building outings much too often still fail to achieve results. Expectations are sometimes set too high for a single three day event, or the meeting is not planned with enough care or expertise. But the trend is clear. We are getting better at this sort of activity.

For example: Division president Sam Johnson is trying to pull together a group of ten people into an effective change coalition for his consumer electronics business. They include his seven direct reports, the head of the one department in the division that will probably be at the center of the change effort, the executive VP at headquarters, and himself. With great difficulty, he schedules a Week-long meeting for all ten of them , start with a two-day Outward Bound type of activity, in which the group lives together outdoors for forty-eight hours and undertakes strenuous physical tasks like sailing and mountain climbing.

During these two days, they get to know one another better and are reminded why team­work is important. On days three to five, they check into a hotel, are given a great deal of data about the division’s competitors and customers, and are asked to produce a series of discussion papers on a tight time schedule. They work from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., mostly in ever-shifting, but not randomly chosen, subgroups. From 7:00 to 9:30 each evening they have dinner and talk about their careers, their aspirations, and other more personal topics. In the process, they get to know one another even better and begin to develop shared perspectives on their industry. The increased understanding, the relationships built on actual task achievement and the common perspectives all foster trust.

Recognizing that this successful week-long activity is just the beginning of a process, Sam hosts another three-day event for the group a few months later. Two years after that, with turnover and promotions changing the makeup of his group, he puts together yet another carefully planned retreat. Just as important, in between these very visible activities, he takes dozens of actions designed to help build the trust necessary for teamwork. Rumours that might erode goodwill are confronted with lightning speed and accurate information. People who know each other least well are put together on other task forces. All ten are included as often as is prac­tical in social activities. Q: Was this easy to do?

A: Hardly.

Two of the ten in this case were very independent individuals who couldn’t fathom why they should all go climb mountains together. One was so busy that scheduling group activities seemed at times impossibility. One had a borderline big ego problem. Because of past events, two didn’t get along well. Yet Sam managed to overcome all of this and develop an effective guiding coalition.

I think he succeeded because he wanted very much for the division to do well, because he was convinced that major change was necessary to make the business a winner, and because he believed that that change couldn’t happen without an effective guiding coalition. So in a sense, Sam felt he had no choice. He had to create the trust and teamwork. And he did. When people fail to develop the coalition needed to guide change, the most common reason is that down deep they really don’t think a transformation is necessary or they don’t think a strong team is needed to direct the change. Skill at team building is rarely the central problem.

When executives truly believe they must create a team oriented guiding coalition, they always seem to find competent advisors who have the skills. Without that belief, even if they have the ability or good counsel, they don’t take needed actions. Beyond trust, the element crucial to teamwork seems to be a common goal. Only when all the members of a guiding coalition deeply want to achieve the same objective does real teamwork become feasible. The typical goal that binds individuals together on guiding change coalitions is a commitment to excellence, a real desire to make their organizations perform to the very highest levels possible. Reengineering, acquisitions, and cultural change efforts often fail because that desire is missing.

Instead, one finds people committed to their own departments, divisions, friends, or careers. Trust helps enormously in creating a shared objective. One of the main reasons people are not committed to overall excellence is that they don’t really trust other departments, divisions, or even fellow executives. They fear, sometimes quite rationally, that if they obsessively focus their actions on improving customer satisfaction or reducing expenses, other departments won’t do their fair share and the personal costs will skyrocket. When trust is raised, creating a common goal becomes much easier. Leadership also helps. Leaders know how to encourage people to transcend short-term parochial interests.

Creating the Guiding Coalition Essay

Tuckman’s model and team work Essay

Tuckman’s model and team work Essay.

Introduction

            People live and work within the framework of some kind of organization, a context that provides written and unwritten, formal and informal rules and guidelines about how its members should conduct themselves. Individuals belong to different families and each family has distinct religious beliefs that differ from another family.  This paper is anchored on the theoretical viewpoint of Bruce Tuckman referring to how groups are formed whether these groups can be seen in formal or informal organizations and set-ups of all kinds.

This is especially applied on the teamwork and/or teambuilding.

Discussion

  1. Description of the model

            Tuckman introduced his theory of how groups emerge and better known by the concepts that he ascribed to the stages. His theory arose out of years of scientific observations and research in various types of groups (Tuckman, p.1).

            The forming stage is described as consisting of orientation, testing, and dependence that are usually present in almost all of the groups studied. The second phase or stage is more seen by the type of characteristic behaviors or attitudes manifested by the people or individuals of a particular group where concepts such as conflict and polarization arise which in the process characterize more the resistance that is being experience by the group’s immediate scope of influence.

This second stage is called the storming stage (Tuckman, p.2)

            The third phase is known as norming when eventually most of the conflicts and/or resistance has been resolved giving way to an “in-group feeling” or “group cohesiveness. More often at this stage, individual members are more open, expressing themselves more and have shed their guardedness (Tuckman, p.2).

            The fourth phase is called the performing stage which is more known by the characteristic traits manifested by individual members where they become more yielding to the roles and they become more cooperative to the functions whatever they may be. In addition they also are able to let their energies be directed to the tasks that are supposed to be responded to in the first place (Tuckman, p.2).

            The last stage is an addendum or an additional stage to the four stages mentioned, which is adjourning and is described as the implied achievement or attainment of goals (usually) where dependency is at a minimum, where the tasks were already completed and the roles are no longer necessary and functional hence the group most likely must be dissolved (Tuckman, p.2).

  1. Application to Teamwork and Teambuilding

            Understandably, before teamwork is effectively put in place and in operation, the first three stages or phases should have taken place. People adjust to new things and new situations and as Tuckman describes it, it is inherent in the process that progression from non-cohesiveness to more cohesiveness; which also implies that people cooperate less and then if the norming is achieved, will exhibit cooperativeness among themselves. This is also the process of teambuilding.

            Sadly, many organizations have not manifested teamwork or have not acgieved the performing stage where tasks become important to everybody but not only that, all contributions from all members are crucial and necessary. What are the salient factors within the first two to three stages that need to be addressed?

~Team Conflicts

            Disagreements with how one sees life situations are just a few of the reasons that conflicts happen so ordinarily. Just as conflicts are also integral parts of daily existence so does negotiating through them (Amason, 1996; Amason, Thompson, Hochwarter, & Harrison, 1995). Studies reveal that there is “no one size fits all” when it comes to navigating the disagreements and weather through storms where conflicts are concerned. However, there are principles that are observed when successful conflict management has taken place.

Managers, group leaders or any person who handles a team must have the abilities to handle people problem before this proceeds or develops into a team problem or before this affects performance. Conflicts therefore must be confronted and understood at the individual level where a person experiences inner personal struggles at varying degrees. However, this short study tackles in detail a much larger picture as it attempts to provide a succinct look at conflict resolution strategies in the area of team dynamics by examining, describing and explaining various concepts as to the understanding of these significant concepts.

            Individual personal conflicts are inevitable occurrences that are usually taken for granted because of its “ordinariness.” Unless people undertakes a formal study on conflict management, he/she goes through life hitting and missing (at most) at ways of resolving issues and inner conflicts and in all probabilities, somehow manages to escape conflicts. The following important features in team dynamics are specifically indicated and described because these are crucial points in developing effective management of conflicts and developing efficient team dynamics.

            Defining conflict, it is the “state of disharmony brought about by differences of impulses, desires, or tendencies” (Rayeski & Bryant, 1994, p. 217). There are benefits as to the presence of conflicts but definitely when these are worked out.

  1. Benefits of working teams in relationship to conflict resolution strategies

            Working teams in relationship to conflict resolution strategies provide benefits including personal and team growth as team members acquire insights with relationships and how these relationships are utilized to better reach worthwhile goals. In addition, working teams have optional choices rather than solitary attempts at confronting conflicts, such as higher possibility arriving at the solutions of the problems, promoting cohesiveness among the team, and increasing the involvement or participation of members.

  1. Types of Conflict

            Based on the study presented by Johnson (2005), few researches actually “describe how to identify conflict.” There are seven types of conflicts depending on “who is in conflict with whom” (Fisher et al, 1995; in Johnson, 2005). These are:

            ~an individual with inner conflicts totally unrelated to the team but whose best performance for the team is not achieved due to the personal problem, thus influencing the whole team

            ~two distinct members are in direct conflict with each other

            ~one against all members

            ~all against one member

            ~a lot of members against a lot of others as well

            ~one whole team as against another team

            ~all of the team as against one person not a part of the team.

            Another type of conflict focuses on two kinds of conflict existing in a team: task (Jennsen et al., 1999) and affect (Amason et al., 1995) types of conflict. The first type is usually beneficial as it relates to objectives and goals that are to be achieved essentially in a group. The second involves relationships which entails personal preferences and the like. Most conflicts boil down to the level of affect type and more difficult to deal with especially when people really do not want to cooperate. This can also occur at the same time.

  1. Managing Conflict

            Since conflict and disagreements are integral to the growth and performance of teams, it is therefore necessary that individual members and as a group, go through an education process to understand the nuances of conflict. They necessitate the learning to distinguish what healthy debates are, brainstorming and normal exchange of ideas which are important to team achieving corporate goals (Johnson, 2005). Studies by Tjosvold and colleagues (1999) show that when disagreements are brought into the open and talked about, conflicts are minimized and feelings of frustration, anger and doubts or suspicions are abated.

  1. How to prepare or prevent conflict

            The presence of a team facilitator can help prepare people in conflict in confronting their fundamental disagreements and/or prevent conflicts to escalate at alarming levels. A good or excellent team facilitator can be the team leader, supervisor or an outside who knows very well the dynamics of conducting team resolutions. He/she aids everyone involved into the process and assists them to air out their grievances in a careful, non-violent manner much like in a healthy debate (Bens, 1997).

  1. Team agreements

            Team agreements start off with ground rules to be able to achieve or attain at something. Coordination in any given work must take into careful account that everyone starts at somewhere and concur at a particular set of guidelines to direct the group to definite goals. Uncoordinated teams will still definitely go somewhere but perhaps not where they or someone in charge of them would want them to be.

What are involved then in team agreements? Team agreements develop, protect and help preserve unity and the aspects this specifically takes on are the responsibilities and expectations, communication, participation, decision making and problem solving, managing those disagreements, conduct of participants or “cooperators” during and between meetings and consequences. The baseline agreements like these are different when management of conflict is the issue. Research reveals that whenever teams utilize this strategy, difficulties and even conflicts are reduced to a minimum (Davison, 2003).

  1. Solutions to conflict

            Preparation to any eventuality tops the list when it comes to coming up with a solution to conflict. This means that understanding of the whole gamut of team dynamics including potential destructive behavior is important and essential to preventing and providing solutions to conflict. Skills by any member towards conflict resolutions, facilities to allow participants to express or ventilate themselves without threat or fear of censure are also vital. Of course, per advices by experts, those techniques and approaches that increase enhance task-related conflict and reduce affect-related conflict help reduce the presence of conflict and even remove its threat from the group. Effective planning is also a good strategy as it minimizes the conflict from escalating to a point that it becomes hard to manage already. Employing a conflict checklist can be an excellent ingredient as well in resolving and minimizing the incidence of conflict.

~Team Communication

Organizations in whatever form or state thrive fundamentally on communication. Inherent in the understanding of progress, development and growth of any institution is the reality that in order to be ahead, its members should be able to know what its goals are and are united towards accomplishing those goals. As expected, team communication is a must for this to occur. It is very important that communication is always flowing and open to everyone involved. Without effective communication, an organization as teamwork, like a human body, will experience atrophy at some point and eventual deterioration of the whole system if the problem is not addressed early on.

However, overdoing the system of communication or doing little for crucial areas can also become detrimental for the overall organizational health (Guffey, 2003). It is then important to consider the (1) Nature and timing of communication, (2) the Methods or technology necessary for implementation and effectiveness, and (3) the Various functions or placements of individuals and team members within that communication network (Kimball at http://www.groupjazz.com/pdf/matrix,accessed Feb.15, 2007).

Many more can be added on the list except that these three are the most important when it comes to building a strategic structure on team communication. It is precisely through this rationale that a team is able to survive or flourish in the context of a bigger organization. When its individual members have highly developed communication skills then the whole team will enjoy the benefits of its resources which include the achievement of its goals.

  1. Nature or Timing of Communication

            This means firstly, that the team leader knows what he needs to communicate. It is to establish a clear goal or inspiring purpose statement that can jumpstart as well as sustain all team members in the process of achieving the team’s overarching objectives. Bear in mind also that constant change is the only thing that anybody can expect in this technology – oriented society.

The team must be constantly updated and able to cope and compete in such a milieu. Because of this a sensitivity to change is a must for a leader and for the rest of the team to be on the cutting edge and never waning in the process of time. Again, what is crucial here is the identification of who will be involved, what are at stake, what limitations should be imposed so as to provide focus and measurable steps for the team (Kimball at http://www.groupjazz.com/pdf/matrix,accessed Feb.15, 2007).

  1. Methods and/or Technology

            To develop a communication strategy, the determination of different kinds of work need to be dealt with at the outset and constantly reinforced so as to align and create an effective network of team players. This portion precisely gears toward the understanding of the nitty gritty of the whole system.  Details of the job become easier to comprehend and implement when every member is placed strategically based on their known skills, abilities and interests.

There is of course, a need for apparatuses or tools other than the human resource that are provided to enhance and speed up the process. Also important is the classification of what is routine, what are the usual problems encountered on a regular basis, and also whether there are new patterns that come into view and perhaps need to be addressed in the soonest possible time (Kimball at http://www.groupjazz.com/pdf/matrix,accessed Feb.15, 2007).

  1. Various functions or placements of individuals or team members within that communication network.

            In a sports game like basketball, the positioning of players is critical to the winnability of the team. It is not to be taken for granted.  The accurate placement of the players’ capability and ability ascertains, to a large extent, the possibility of the team’s becoming the champion in the duration of the game.

The coach does not leave to chance their aim to win the game; rather, he sees to it that his team is positioned to such a degree that winning is not only a probability but a surety. On the other hand, imagine that the players are all misplaced. A supposed “guard” has been placed to the center role, and the center player plays as a “forward”, the latter then plays as a “guard.” Obviously, this kind of team is a total mess. Being in that position guarantees the team a loss and not a victory.

The human resource is unpredictable and complex. Effective communication strategies between and among team players on their specific functioning on how they perform and relate should be made and reinforced constantly. According to Lisa Kimball, “The nature of communications among the team about different parts of the work – including the frequency, the volume, and the degree of interactivity – is different depending on where that work falls in the matrix” (Kimball at http://www.groupjazz.com/pdf/matrix,accessed Feb.15, 2007).

As stated above, to avoid information overload, there should always be only a right measure of communication because to overdo it will diminish the interest of team members either to listen or to communicate.

Conclusion

            Vital to the life and continuity of a team or organization is the proper dissemination of information. This includes enough knowledge of those things and people that are involved in the whole set-up. When team communication is prioritized, teamwork is enhanced and the achievement of goals is within reach. There are many more qualities that can enhance team communication; nevertheless, this paper limits its approach to only three strategies. However, the smallness of amount of strategies in this thesis does not mean lack of comprehensiveness in dealing with the need for effective communication. The points herein discussed are generic and therefore applicable to any given situation and can be expanded to cover other details necessary to secure good communication in a team.

Reference:

  1. Amason, A. C. (1996). Distinguishing the effects of functional and dysfunctional conflict on strategic decision making: Resolving a paradox for top management teams. Academy of Management Journal, 39(1), 123-148.
  2. Amason, A. C., Thompson, K. R., Hochwarter, W. A., & Harrison, A. W. (1995). Conflict: An important dimension in successful management teams. Organizational Dynamics, 24(2), 20-35.
  3. Bens, I. (1997). Facilitating conflict. In M. Goldman (Ed.), Facilitating with ease! (pp. 83-108). Sarasota, FL: Participative Dynamics.
  4. Davison, Sue Canney. 2003. Creating Working Normas and Agreements. Accessed April 26, 2008< www.genderdiversity.cgiar.org/CreatingWorkingAgreementsDavison3.doc >
  5. Kimball, Lisa. Developing the Team’s Communication Strategy accessed Feb.15, 2007 at http://www.groupjazz.com/pdf/matrix.
  6. Guffey, Mary Ellen. 2003. Business Communication. Thomson learning, Mason Ohio, Ch.1, p.3.
  7. Fisher, K., Rayner, S., & Belgard, W. (1995). Tips for teams: A ready reference for solving common team problems. NY, NY: McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  8. Jennsen, O., Van De Vliert, E., & Veenstra, C. (1999). How task and person conflict shape the role of positive interdependence in management teams. Journal of Management, 25(2), 117-141.
  9. Johnson, Debbi-Wagner. 2005. Managing Work-Team Conflict: Assessment and Preventatve Strategies. Center for Collaborative Organizations, University of North Texas.  All rights reserved.
  10. Rayeski, E., & Bryant, J. D. (1994). Team resolution process: A guideline for teams to manage conflict, performance, and discipline. In M. Beyerlein & M. Bullock
  11. Tjosvold, D., Morshima, M., & Belsheim, J. A. (1999). Complaint handling on the shop floor: Cooperative relationships and open-minded strategies. International Journal of Conflict Management, 10(1), 45-68.
  12. Tuckman, Bruce. “Forming, storming norming and performing in groups.”file:///C:/DOCUME~1/ew_tuckman-forming,storming,normingandperformingingroups.htm

Tuckman’s model and team work Essay

Tuckman’s Model in Understanding Team Effectiveness Essay

Tuckman’s Model in Understanding Team Effectiveness Essay.

Tuckman’s group development model focuses on the distinct phases that small groups go through in order to achieve maximum effectiveness of team work. Initially, only four phases were identified (1965) before adding a fifth one, in conjunction with Mary Ann Jensen (1977).

Tuckman debates that being conscious of the phases of developments, groups can move to the final stage in a more swift process as compared to subconsciously going through the motions. This argument gives rise that the effectiveness of this model can be ascertained through educating the group – perhaps through a briefing prior to the group convening and working together on projects.

To study effectiveness, it is best to break down the model into its respective phases.

Phase 1: Forming

Getting acquainted with one another is not an unusual first meeting between individuals. At this stage, getting to know one another works at a superficial level, whereby disclosure of personal information is limited. Serious issues that could give rise to controversy or conflict are avoided to maintain as much amicability as possible between individuals.

Hindrance to effectiveness – communication apprehension

At this point, members of the group may experience communication apprehension – a drawback to effective communication (Multimedia University, 2007). This is probably due to tension and anxiety in the need to be accepted by the group. As insecurity normally relates to wanting to assimilate quickly into a new environment, the formation of a group will take place at a perfunctory level.

This is not a comfortable stage to be in as at this point in time, group members require the need for esteem – they are here to gain the respect and acceptance of others (Maslow, 1943). By keeping arguments at bay, no work is accomplished at this stage of time.

Leadership spearheads group’s movement

Different personalities are also seen in this first stage. Since the formation of a group usually denotes that a leader has to be sought, initial qualms of leadership can be overcome by extroverts. Extroverts who feel they are natural leaders within their disposition, may assume the role subtly. Those who are inclined to shyness or general lack of initiative will relinquish their rights to request the role of a leader (Mallot, 2007).

Group direction within the first meeting – a different model

The Punctuated-Equilibrium Model on the other hand, argues that groups do not develop in a universal sequence of stages (Multimedia University, 2007). This theory argues that the first meeting sets the group’s direction and the first phase of a group activity is one of inertia. This stage awaits a transition that will initiate major changes.

Phase 2: Storming

Storming, as it suggests, brings along a wave of conflict. After the stage of formation where niceties are exchanged, more important issues need to be addressed. This may relate to the project or task at hand or plain clashes of personalities and ideas.

General arguments convey that in this stage, groups are more focused on working together. The initial stage of shyness has dissipated and teams look forward to becoming more pro-active. Since expectations about roles and responsibilities begin to surface, conflict, struggles and even competition will follow suit (Mallot, 2007).

Conflict can be detrimental to group effectiveness

Conflict is defined as a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affects, something the first party cares about, (Multimedia University, 2007). For a conflict to exist, it must be perceived by those involved.

It is worthy to note that this definition of conflict covers disagreements to acts of violence.

Organisational culture, a determinant of effectiveness in second stage

Tuckman relays that the range of conflict is determined by the organisational culture and how strong it is in effective communication. In a strong culture where openness to ideas is adamant, many may perceive that conflicts cease to exist. This stage however, as in the Punctuated-Equilibrium Model suggests, will consist of at least an element of conflict, no matter how subtle it is. As the latter model describes, this is the transition where major developments occur (Multimedia University, 2007).

The whole process of conflict is lengthy. However, conflict is necessary for a group to progress to the next phase. The Storming phase therefore must end with an outcome of the conflicts at hand. Outcomes can be divided into two.

The first one would be functional outcomes. This is known as a positive outcome. A functional outcome increases group performance, usually resulting from low or moderate levels of conflict (Multimedia University, 2007). A group that can persevere to a functional outcome encourages interest and curiosity among group members. Arguments can be aired, discussed, understood and accepted in a professional manner. No offence is taken nor are arguments taken personally. Constructive groups like these stimulate creativity and innovation.

Secondly, a threat to a group’s continuous progress to the next stage would be a dysfunctional outcome. A group that comes to this type of outcome is running the risk of a decreased group performance. Strong opposition will breed discontent and destruction of the group. Groups like these normally operate at myopic level where low tolerance levels for differences in opinions exist (Multimedia University, 2007).

Dysfunctional outcomes are actually products of dysfunctional behaviour within the group. This barrier is known as the weak behavioural barrier, where teams fail to find common grounds on the basis of conflicting perspectives (Rickards and Moger, 2000).

Behavioural barrier exists at this phase

In this case, Tuckman’s theory may be nullified if the group has to be dismantled for the betterment of the company. Confining discontented individuals within a realm of a working group may be detrimental to the firm in the long run.

However, Rickards and Moger (2000) argue that most teams do past the weak behavioural barrier and do move on to the norming stage. This does not suggest that such a barrier rarely exists in a group function or conflicts are to be perceived as elementary nuisances. The reason for this argument is that the behavioural barrier is deemed as weak as compared to the second barrier found in the performing phase (Rickards & Moger, 2000). This barrier is known as the strong performance barrier.

Phase 3: Norming

After “weathering the storm,” groups begin to reach the phase of a norm. Individuals have begun to gel together to work effectively as a group and come up with reasonably favourable results that will have positive effects on the firm.

Here is where, arguably, Tuckman’s theory falls flat. Norming will be able to happen if functional outcomes of their recent conflicts had taken place. It is most likely that a team would dissolve should a dysfunctional outcome overshadow any success in the forming phase.

Working teams are more effective than working groups

Here is where there may be a more effective alternative to having working groups. Teams are similar but different to the constituents of a group.

A group is defined as two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent who have come together to achieve particular objectives (Multimedia University, 2007). A team comprises of individuals who are able to generate positive synergy through coordinated efforts. We can assume that this means different individuals of work teams demonstrate different skills and abilities and do have the experience and education that be able to complement each other in working towards the given goal.

Teams are generally more structured than groups. They can either be problem-solving teams, self-managed teams, or cross-functional teams. Members are required to have technical expertise, problem-solving and decision-making skills and effective interpersonal skills. In a survey carried out in 1995, results indicated that 78% of companies in the USA had some employees working as teams, (Training Magazine, 1995).

There are plenty of advantages of forming teams as opposed to groups as the formality of work-teams rides complementary skills and mutual accountability (Multimedia University, 2007). Synergy also arises from teams, rather than groups.

Group effectiveness at the norming stage – a developmental milestone

Arguably though, it is not possible for all working groups to be transformed into teams. Some tasks and projects require only groups – especially those that are short-run in nature. It may be too costly to collate a team of people, especially if they are higher up in organisational hierarchy.

Having said that, it is also possible for a group to move through the storming stage and begin forming amiable relationships with each other. A benefit of successfully reaching the norming phase is a group of motivated employees. Motivation refers to the initiation, direction, intensity and persistence of human behaviour, (Geen, 1995).

Reaching the norming stage will also elude members of the group to deter from causing disruption within the working group in the future. Disruptions could cause the group falling back into the phase of the storm. This may dampen hope of further constructive improvements. However, it is more likely that group individuals would have mastered negotiation skills.

Negotiation skills – vital to sustaining norming status

There are various types of negotiation. What is important though is the outcome. Negotiations generally, should result in a win-win situation. However, when it comes to group work, the outcome of a negotiation should be most beneficial to the group rather than any particular member of the group.

There are five stages of negotiation. The convening, the opening, the communication, the negotiation and the closure stage (Krivis 2007). It is probably wise for a negotiation process to be facilitated by a neutral party in order to come up with an unbiased result.

Effective negotiation skills would allow the team to develop a consensus about task and behavioural expectations (Mallot, 2007). This would lead to a constructive work plan to attain goals of the group. Strong consensus leads to an effective identity formation of the team (Mallot, 2007).

Phase 4: Performing

In this phase, roles and responsibilities change according to need in a seamless way. A group identity has been strongly conceived. Individually, group members hold high morale, trust and loyalty towards each other. This work group has opportunities to reconvene in the future – with positive recommendations towards fellow colleagues, supervisors and subordinates.

At the point in time when the group reaches the performing phase, members are set to perform the task at hand. The group is now extremely task-oriented; they have resolved conflicts and look forward to coordinating their actions, (Mallot, 2007).

Another barrier to effectiveness – strong performance barrier

A serious barrier surfaces here. Rickards and Moger, 2000, identify their second barrier in the Tuckman and Jensen Model. Two questions arise here: (1) what mechanisms are at play when a team fails to exceed expected performance, and (2) what mechanisms lead to outstanding performance. This second barrier known as the strong performance barrier is a difficult one to surpass. Failure to do so may have teams regress into the storming phase, where conflicts and disagreements will reappear.

Working groups that do surge on past the strong performance barrier indicate exceptional creative performance (Rickards & Moger, 2000). The majority of teams only display moderate performance at this stage.

In a case study, teams of MBA students received creative training and were engaged in a business task supervised by a business executive. All tasks were realistic and simulated under experienced facilitators. Fourteen teams took part in this study. After a year of simulation, six teams were rated as dysfunctional; eight teams were able to produce acceptable quality results and none yielded any outstanding results (Rikards, 1987).

The following year, another test was carried out with improved decision making influences. Twenty-three teams took part. Eighteen teams produced standard quality results and five yielded outstanding results.

Over a period of several years, dysfunctional teams only appeared up to 15% of the time.

The question is how do groups overcome this barrier and avoid the risk of moving backwards into the stage of conflicts? Creativity in leadership and group development is a criterion for a working group to overcome this obstacle and dissolve in the last stage on amiable terms.

Creativity enhances group effectiveness

Firstly, effective leadership is a core ingredient for a group to persevere as a creative body through the performance stage. Observation indicates that leadership usually is attained at the earlier phases of this model – the forming and norming. Should a group overcome the weak behavioural barrier, as indicated by Rikards and Moger (2000), this should not surface as a problem during the performance stage.

The rationale of facilitative leadership is to provide creativity-enhancing structures (Gordon, 1961) as a means of challenging assumptions and mindsets (Parnes, 1993).

An effective work-group that is able to exceed performance expectations is based on seven creative leadership and team factors, (Rikards and Moger, 2000).

Firstly, would be a Platform of Understanding. This platform would actually act as an avenue for all creative ideas to be gathered. This would be initiated by the creative team leader. There is no dispute as to what ideas can be suggested. Shared knowledge, beliefs and assumptions can be thrashed out at this platform.

Secondly, is a having a Shared Vision. After ideas go through the gruelling process of debate and discussion, those that fall under a Shared Vision are those that are dominantly agreed upon.

Thirdly, is the Climate of the team. The creative leader has to creative a positive climate that surrounds the team. It does not only motivate the team to work together or to work effectively in achieving their goals, it accentuates the camaraderie within the team, creating a sense of belonging and openness at a personal level. However task oriented people are, the stems of personalities and characters have to be taken care of before work gets done.

Fourthly, Resilience is important for a team that is set to exceed expectations. It is not unusual for a team to fail (at their tasks) the first few times. It is important though, that teams are able to see their plans through, no matter how demoralised they feel. Keeping positive is important and there is nothing more recommended that taking to alternatives when performances do falter. At this stage of performing, finger-pointing or the blame-game must be avoided at all costs.

Group work is team effort and a closely-knit team that take responsibility collectively would have built up strong resilience against adversity.

An effectively performing team are Idea Owners, as factor number five indicates. If team members own the ideas they advocate, there is a higher chance of success. Parasites and copy-cats will never survive the performing stage.

Factor number six is Network Activators. Teams with stronger networks are more likely to succeed. Networking plays an important role in any business model since skills and ideas are interlinked from one individual to another. Importing knowledge into a team not only brings a breath of fresh air but can advance the team to the next level. This can be seen especially through the transfer of technology know-how.

Lastly, it is important that teams Learn from Experience. Experiential learning never goes to waste. Curbing mistakes and dealing with unwarranted circumstantional issues is easier when there are cases that take precedence to the problem at hand.

Total Quality Management – a catalyst of effectiveness

Another factor, besides creativity leadership and group work that can determine a successful performing stage is Total Quality Management.

Total Quality Management (TQM) is mostly an organisational behavioural mindset that requires employees to become customer focused in their undertakings. TQM will allow generate a fair amount of consideration in a working group to concentrate on customers’ satisfaction rather than the short-term goal of the task at hand (Multimedia University, 2007).

TQM, founded by the Japanese, believes that “work is never done.” TQM can be perceived as a continuous cycle of seeking improvements. Implementing this into the mindset of a group can act as bolster for the working members to focus on continuously improving their work standards in order to finally attain the successful performing phase. It is not a surprise that TQM encourages group and team work as a basket of skills complementing one another would work more effectively than one employee working on his or her own.

Phase 5: Adjourning

Adjourning is the final disengagement of the team after a successful performing stage has been accomplished. Adjourning suggests that completion of the task at hand has been reached. Preferably, members of the groups would have enjoyed the journey as a family. In some papers, this stage can also be described as the “deforming and mourning” stage, since proximity between members throughout the process has been close and many groups that show strong behavioural and achievement patterns can be perceived as a close-knit family.

Management responsibility in creating and effective adjourning phase

Adjourning is part of an organisational change and like the other phases of this model has to be managed (Multimedia University, 2007). It is insufficient to assume that this phase does not require the attention that the other phases enjoy as a team that is disengaging from each other must leave on good terms in order to regroup for future projects.

If a group has spent a significant amount of time together, there may be elements of resistance to change. This is mainly due to the habit, security, economic factors, fear of the unknown and selective information processing, Multimedia University, 2007).

It is important for managers or leaders to facilitate the dismemberment of a project with sensitivity. Feedback from the group members also allow for closure that will end the relationships they conjured up together on a positive note.

A reward for a successful team can also be recommended in order to boost morale and reinforce the message that a successful task has been completed. At the same time, a creative leader would be able to assure group members that opportunities to work together in the future will also exist.

Conclusion

Tuckman’s model is rather general when relaying group effectiveness. The understanding of the model has to be synergised with other managerial concepts, such TQM, in order to be realistically implemented in a group’s ability to develop.

Group effectiveness is seen as low in the forming phase where communication apprehension exists. Alternative models suggest that this phase is insignificant and effectiveness can be initially commences during leadership selection.

Group effectiveness can break during the storming stage where conflict begins to arise – whether they be task or personality-oriented. A strong culture is able to weather the storm and allow effective functional results carry the group into the next phase.

Should a group never weather the storm, the norming stage will never be accomplished. Group effectiveness takes a backseat to team effectiveness whereby different constituents of a group may result in more amicable results at this stage. However, within a group, the norming stage would be effectively sustainable should the working members develop effective negotiation skills.

The performing phase has the stigma of a high performance barrier. Tuckman’s general model should be questioned as to the effectiveness of the group in overcoming this barrier. Scholars insinuate that creative leadership and group factors will allow groups to excel at this phase.

Group effectiveness, or even future group effectiveness, can be inseminated in the adjourning phase where a positive conclusion of the group is drawn. The more comfortable the team members are with the adjourning stage will allow space for regrouping in the future.

References

Boeree, C. George. Abraham Maslow, Personality Theories, www.webspace.ship.edu, (1998, 2006)

Distance Education. BOB2028 Organisational Behaviour, Multimedia University Malaysia (2007)

Gordon, W.J.J.. Synetics: The Development of Creative Capacity, Harper & Row, New York (1961).

Kirvis, Jeffrey. Can we Call a Truce? Ten Tips for Negotiating Workplace Conflicts , (2007).

Mallot, Mary. Tuckman’s Group Developmental Model, Computer Skills for Administrators , http://socrates.uhwo.hawaii.edu.

Parnes, S.J. (ed.). Sourcebook for Creative Problem-Solving, Creative Education Foundation Press , Bufallo, New York (1992).

Rikards, Tudor & Moger, Susan. Creative Leadership Processes in Project Teams Development: An Alternative to the Tuckman’s Stage Model , British Journal of Management Vol 11 (2000).

 

Training Magazine, October 1995 issue, Lakewood Publications, Minneapoliis, MN

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Tuckman’s Model in Understanding Team Effectiveness Essay