High Performance Teamwork

High Performance Teamwork

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Groups are defined as two or more people who work regularly with one another to achieve common goals (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2005, Chapter 9). For a group to become a high-performance team, the team needs to be able to use their collective skills and behaviors to become an efficient model working towards a common goal. Having a common goal will make each team member accountable for the success and failure of the team. Since each team member is accountable to the team, each member's behavior will have an effect on the team. Cultural diversity and demographic characteristics affect an individual's behavior. Behavior caused by diversity and demographic characteristics will be a determining factor whether or not a group can be a high-performance team.
Types of Teams
The first step in creating a high-performance team is to determine what type of team is appropriate for a given situation. There are three major types of workgroup teams: teams that recommend things, teams that make or do things, and teams that run things (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 10).
Recommendation teams typically are quick moving teams that analyze a problem created by another type of team, look at that problem from a different perspective and make a recommendation for solving the problem created by the other types of teams. Because this type of team is normally temporary the group must be able to quickly overcome their individual differences to make a good recommendation to other types of groups (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 10).
Production teams are teams that run things and will be long-term groups that are tasked with a constant goal. Members of this team must have a long-term relationship, a solid foundation of operations, and external support to maintain a high-level of performance over a long period (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 10). This type of team is affected by a daily requirement for high output and efficiency.
Management teams are teams that run things and are tasked with the responsibility of leading and coordinating the other types of groups. This type of team will take ideas from the recommendation teams or suggestions from production teams and make a decision whether these will have a positive effect on an organization.

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Team Building
An effective group achieves high-level of task performance, member satisfaction and team viability (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 9). Building a high-performance team requires following guidelines that will help a new group start quickly and successfully and make teams that are encountering difficulties overcome problems and become an effective team.
When forming a new group the group leader must be aware of what the goal of the team is. Factors that must be considered when forming a team: expected longevity of the team, what tasks will be performed by the team, and the ease of substitutability of team members (Mealiea & Baltazar, 2005). When selecting members for a group, make sure that all areas which group decisions will affect are represented within the team. An example representing each type of group having members from management, production, engineering, and sales in a group that is deciding how to improve a production line that will make a new product. Each constituency within an organization is represented therefore; each view of the organization is covered allowing the best decision to be made for the entire organization not a lone part.
There are different methods which can be used to build up a team after forming. Three popular types of team building activities involve the team working together on activities not directly related to the tasks that the team will be asked to solve. The formal retreat style of team building puts the team in an offsite situation where the characteristics of each team member are gathered though activities, interviews and surveys to build a team profile (Mealiea & Baltazar, 2005). This team profile is then used to measure the potential of the team, and what each member of the team needs to be successful in the team environment. The continuous improvement approach is the sole responsibility of the team to manage itself. The team agrees to spend time developing each individual team member so the team becomes more cohesive and each individual is able to understand his or her role in the team better. The outdoor experience forces the team into a variety of physical challenges which must be accomplished through teamwork (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 10). By working together on tasks not related to what will be required as a work team, the group is learning about individual behavior and work habit. Knowing the characteristics of individuals the team will be more effective working together and resolving conflict quickly
Demographic characteristics and Cultural Diversity
Demographic characteristics and cultural diversity will have a deep effect on the behavior and building of a team. There are two types of teams that can be form using diversity. Homogeneous teams are made up of people who are similar in age, ethnicity, culture and race (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 10). This type of group will be made up of similar people who have much in common. With similar types of people there will be minimal conflict as the group forms and begins to find its way. The group behavior will be similar with all individuals thinking alike. Having like minded group will keep the group moving towards a common goal, but will hinder the group in exploring all possible goals because of lack of diversity in the group thinking.
Heterogeneous teams are made up of members diverse in demography, experience, lifestyle and culture (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, Chapter 10). Groups made up of diverse members will typically begin to work together slowly because the members need to learn about each others' cultural differences before setting out to complete assigned tasks. Once these differences are recognized and accepted by the team the diversity will lead to a dynamic behavior within the team. The team will use its diversity to explore different methods to come up with a common solution to the assigned task.
Diversity and demographics will contribute to the effectiveness of a high-performance team if the team is able to overcome the early difficulties associated with being a culturally diverse team. The team must use some method of team building to overcome the different behaviors. These team building efforts will let the members learn the needs and behaviors of the team members, allowing them to embrace the diversity of the group more rapidly. When demographic differences are recognized quickly the group can use its considerable resources to come up with dynamic solutions to assigned tasks.
A group can be formed by placing two or more individuals together in a work environment. Forming this group into a high-performance team must be done in steps to make sure the group is capable of completing tasks efficiently. The team must be aware of what type of group is being formed so the purpose of the team is understood. The group should be made up of diverse individuals to take advantage of different types of thinking that diversity brings to a team. The team must go through team building to make the team aware of its member's individual behaviors and culture. Once the behavior of the individual is understood the team must use each member's strength to operate as a high-performance team.

Mealiea, L., & Baltazar, R. (2005, Summer 2005). A Strategic Guide for Building Effective Teams. Public Personnel Management, 34(2), 141-160.
Schermerhorn, J. R., Hunt, J. G., & Osborn, R. N. (2005). Organizational Behavior (9th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..
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