Design Team Dynamics

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Motivation and goals

Sketch-pad of my thoughts:

-How critical are goals to productivity: is it possible to have a good team with mediocre goals?

-How does a team form around goals?

-How do goals change in the storming phase?

-The role of the team leader: ostensibly to keep the team aware of its broader goals. How the &%# are you supposed to do this?

-Is a goal ever impossible? Are unrealistic/idealistic goals good or bad for the team?

1 Comments:

Blogger Mel said...

How critical are goals to productivity: is it possible to have a good team with mediocre goals?

Yes. It's possible to have a good team with mediocre goals if they believe that their goals are good. It's impossible to have a good team that believes its goals are mediocre; good teams will jump on mediocre goals and transform them into good ones. (You've got to have something worth working for.)

How does a team form around goals?

The team as a whole has a goal. Ostensibly, you're on a team to accomplish a goal (financial, performance, educational, social, whatever). In order to get a good motivated team, the process of achieving the team's goal ought to provide for fulfilling the members' individual goals - that's the reason teams form in the first place.

How do goals change in the storming phase?

I don't think they change so much as they're exposed and clarified. Individual goals come to light ("You were here to build a fast car - I came to build an environmentally friendly one, and Chuck wants one that's really safe for kids...") and the team goal sometimes has to undergo revision to account for that new information.

The role of the team leader: ostensibly to keep the team aware of its broader goals. How the &%# are you supposed to do this?

Uh... let me know if you figure that one out.

The best stab I can give at it is that the team leader should always remember their own goals, and make their individual goals transparent, in the hopes that others will do the same. But honestly, I have no idea.

Is a goal ever impossible? Are unrealistic/idealistic goals good or bad for the team?

Oh, yeah.

They're good for the team if everyone knows they're impossible; it's a way of blowing off steam, even if you take the goal semi-seriously and know you have almost no hope of reaching it but will try anyway. It's like brainstorming; crazy ideas loosen you up.

The important thing is that the team knows it's impossible but wants to try anyway. If they don't know it's impossible, they're going to be crushed. If they know it's impossible and want to give up, let them give up because a team won't do real well on a task they believe is hopeless. But if you can keep the slightest spark of hope alive, and the whole gang goes at it with gusto and good humor (and the knowledge that it might flop, and the guts to not care), then... wow.

8:34 PM  

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