Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Symptoms of Ineffective Team or Organization

“The only things that evolve by themselves in an organization are disorder, friction, and malperformance. ”  Peter Drucker

Change is never for its own sake. The true reason behind the change is either due to the ineffectiveness of teams/organizations or the inefficiency of processes or practices. There are many common success factors in an effective team or organization; perhaps every failure has its own causes but generally speaking, what are the symptoms of dysfunctional management?

Lack of communication: Communication is the string that binds team members together, and allows them to focus on the common goal. The most important guarantee of having an ineffective team is to fail to communicate. If your team members are not informing the group they represent and are not representing their group's interests effectively, or if the team is not backing up their personal communications with a structured communication channel, then the project will get affected, failure is within your grasp

Ineffective management practice: When senior management allows ineffective project/program management practices to become the norm, people at all levels often become complacent and ineffective. After all, most people have come to believe it's easier and safer to adapt to a culture rather than promote or initiate change. Thus, the use of ineffective project/program management practices which eventually becomes norms for a company culture leaves devastating impacts. Even successors have no choice rather just to fill in their predecessor's shoes in a hard way.

Inefficient process: The group has taken very little time to explicitly discuss group process -- how the group will function to achieve its objectives. The group does not have a clear, mutually agreed-upon approach: mechanics, norms, expectations, rules, etc. There is often much discussion after a meeting of what was wrong and why, but this is seldom discussed at the meeting itself. Effective and proactive change and improvement can originate routinely from the staff level as well as through specific change mandates from senior management. The key issue is whether management recognizes a need for improvement and will support both the changes and the necessary change management and training/orientation.

Productivity decrease: When productivity is low, further analytics is needed for an understanding of the cause whether it is due to the change curve, inefficient practice/ process, or the culture complacency. The key factor is to maintain acceptable productivity during any potentially disruptive change process. Incremental changes to improve team effectiveness can be relatively easily managed and highly effective. 

Poor behaviors or inertial team culture (the collective attitude, habit): Trace down the poor behaviors or lower-than-expected performance, understand the causes behind it. Some of the indicators could be re-stated as the desired behavior and included in a kick-off meeting to establish additional expectations. Regular updates (reports) and identifies individual team member's strengths and weaknesses, this enables timely intervention where and when challenges are identified. What underpins the change process and methodology is the genuine valuing of people. When people feel valued they contribute significantly.

Do not just fix the symptom, but dig through the root cause of team or business ineffectiveness, and make continuous improvement through enforcing  3 Cs - Communication - Commitment - Conceptual understanding of the cause and effect, It takes both the strategic guideline and tactic methodology to fine-tune a high-performance team or organization.


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