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Team Building In a Culture of I

By James Neils
A !isit to any "oo# store or li"rary in t$is %ountry attests to t$e attention team
"uilding re%ei!es& 'e seem to $a!e no s$ortage of (eo(le telling e)e%uti!es and
managers* if t$ey only did t$is or t$at* "uilding su%%essful teams %ould "e
a%%om(lis$ed& Numerous %onsultants and %onsulting +rms assist large and small
%om(anies* non,(ro+ts* start,u(s and e!eryt$ing in "et-een to "uild su%%essful
es(ite t$e seemingly ine)$austi"le su((ly of "oo#s* arti%les* (resentations*
seminars* -or#s$o(s and %ourses es(ousing t$e need and !alue for team "uilding* it
remains an illusi!e goal for many organi.ations& Instead of "uilding dynami% and
(rodu%ti!e teams* t$e results are often unful+lled e)(e%tations and a sear%$ for
(ossi"le reasons to e)(lain t$e la%# of su%%ess& Ironi%ally* t$e s$ort%omings of one
team/s e0orts may lead to t$e formation of anot$er team to determine -$at -ent
-rong& T$at seems to "e a rat$er (er!erse -ay for an organi.ation to demonstrate
$o- it !alues a team& A%%ording to some resear%$ $ad t$e organi.ation "een
attenti!e and %ommitted to su((ort t$e +rst team t$ere mig$t not "e a need for a
Many aut$ors on t$e su"1e%t $a!e (in(ointed -$at t$ey "elie!e are t$e #ey "arriers
to su%%ess and not sur(risingly* as (art of t$eir -or#* suggested $o- to o!er%ome
t$em& Steins$ouer mentions four reasons -$y team "uilding fails in $er arti%le
Barriers to Team Building & How to Overcome Them, identifying2 34 Ho- (eo(le -or#*
-$i%$ s$e la"eled as 5ro"lems of Style* 64 5ersonality %on7i%ts* 84 La%# of leaders$i( and 94
Indi!idual am"ition& :erguson,5inet identi+ed +!e and listed ideas to mitigate t$ese
o"sta%les2 34 Un%lear %ommuni%ation 64 La%# of trust in t$e (ro%ess 84 Ina"ility to rea%$
%onsensus of o(inions* 94 Not understanding team roles and ;4 A la%# of a %ommon goal&
Brodie o0ered $is solutions in $is -or#* Teams The Five Common Barriers to
Efective Teamwork and listed2 34 Indi!idualism* 64 <Silo t$in#ing=* 84 La%# of trust* 94
Un%ertain goals and ;4 La%# of %onstru%ti!e de"ate& Not to "e outdone 5ell "elie!ed t$ere
-ere se!en* outlined in $is "oo# The Complete diot!s "uide to Team Building*
a((arently "elie!ing any idiot s$ould "e a"le to "uild a team* %iting2 34 Inade>uate
(lans 64 Leaders la%#ing leaders$i( s#ills 84 5oor attitudes among (arti%i(ants 94 5oor training
;4 Communi%ation (ro"lems ?4 Team mem"ers -$o do not -or# -ell toget$er and @4 Ae-ard
(rograms t$at do not re-ard
Ta#ing a slig$tly di0erent a((roa%$* Ja%# Bigon* in $is "oo# #easuring Team
$er%ormance suggests su%%essful teams result -$en t$e organi.ation and team
identi+es and uses metri%s (rior to and during t$e (ro1e%t& 'it$out metri%s* $e
"elie!es teams tend to la%# %larity of (ur(ose and %onsistent dire%tion& Su((orting
ot$er aut$ors* $e %ontends e!en -it$ metri%s teams and t$eir organi.ations may still
fa%e diC%ulty to determine -$en andDor -$et$er (rogress is "eing made&
In t$eir latest "oo# The &ew 'h( teams don!t work what went wrong and how to
make it right aut$ors Har!ey Ao""ins and Mi%$ael :inley (oint out se!eral myt$s
a"out (eo(le on teams and team "uilding& T$ey raise t$e fundamental >uestion of
-$et$er team-or# is a%tually "etter t$an a %olle%tion of indi!iduals and -$et$er t$e
o!er em($asis on team "uilding often $urts more t$an $el(s& T$ey outline t$e need
to $el( (eo(le assess -$y t$ey -ere sele%ted* to learn a"out ot$ers on t$e team*
$o- management !ie-s t$eir tas#s and* 1ust as im(ortant* $o- management s$ould
res(e%t t$e de%ision "y t$ose -$o do not -ant to "e on a team&
T$ey also $ig$lig$t t$e im(ortan%e for management to understand t$e emotional and
(rofessional %$allenges (eo(le on teams en%ounter "efore and during t$e -or#&
Citing t$e -or# of B& '& Tu%#man and $is four stages of team de!elo(ment* t$ey (ose
useful >uestions team mem"ers and management need to dis%uss and resol!e (rior
to any -or#& T$e dynami% nature of t$e assigned -or# may re>uire teams to ma#e
%$anges& A%%ording to Ao""ins and :indley on%e a team "egins it s$ould "e
em(o-ered and res(e%ted to ma#e is o-n de%isions&
T$ere is no denying -$at aut$ors $a!e identi+ed as "arriers may ad!ersely a0e%t a
team/s (erforman%e& '$y "uild a team of (eo(le -$o la%# trust in ea%$ ot$er or t$e
(ro%ess* sus(e%t management may not endorse or follo- t$eir re%ommendations* or
$a!e not "een gi!en %lear goals and o"1e%ti!esE One -onders e)a%tly -$at
management e)(e%ts to a%$ie!e& :urt$er* t$e su%%ess or failure of a team and t$e
res(onse "y management to a team/s e0ort often sends a message to ot$er
em(loyees a"out t$e organi.ation/s %ommitment to "uilding su%%essful teams and
t$e !alue it (la%es on team -or#&
Colle%ti!ely t$e aut$ors/ analyses s$ould not "e dis%ounted gi!en t$e %ontinuing
struggle to "uild su%%essful teams& T$ey $a!e o0ered sound guidan%e to $el(
minimi.e t$e (otential %$allenges teams may fa%e& Fet* -it$ all of t$e assistan%e and
t$e (u"lis$ed -or#s t$at re(eatedly $ig$lig$t t$e !alue reali.ed -$en organi.ations
%reate teams of (ersonnel* for many t$e e0ort fails to deli!er results&
'$y is team "uilding in t$e US so diC%ultE 5art of t$e ans-er may "e in t$e US -e
"uild teams made u( of (eo(le -$o li!e* -or# and %ondu%t "usiness in a %ulture
-$ere t$e I $as greater !alue t$an t$e 'e&
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age 6
James Neils* Jan 6G39
A uni>ue as(e%t of Ameri%an %ulture is our in$erent "elief in our indi!idual a"ility to
"e %reati!e* industrious and to resol!e (ro"lems and issues& As a %ulture* -e !alue
t$e %an do s(irit and identify su%%esses as e)am(les of our industrious nature to
(rodu%e results& T$ose >ualities are enormously $el(ful -$en "uilding teams
e)(e%ted to resol!e issues* dis%o!er ne- te%$nology* e)(lore ne- ideas and meet
deadlines& Fet* t$ere is anot$er as(e%t to our %ulture -$i%$ is not so $el(ful in team
"uilding and may (lay a fundamental role in -$y team "uilding in t$e US is often
'e are also a %ulture -$ere t$e indi!idual* indi!idual a%$ie!ement* rig$ts of t$e
indi!idual and t$e s(irit of t$e indi!idual entre(reneur* in!entor or (ro"lem sol!er are
$eld in t$e $ig$est esteem& E!en more $ig$ly distinguis$ed are t$ose -$o des(ite
(ersonal %$allenges "ettered t$emsel!es* -ere in!enti!e* industrious and im(ro!ed
t$emsel!es and ot$ers& T$is is a %ulture of indi!idual a%$ie!ement and a %ulture of I*
e!en on teams&
Consider in $o- many -ays t$e %ulture of I is (resent in Ameri%an so%iety& State/s
issue (ersonali.ed li%ense (lates* -e order from fast food restaurants -$ere <have it
(our wa(= is e)(e%ted and -e name streets* "uildings* stadiums after indi!iduals and
t$in# not$ing of it& Aesumes s(ea# !olumes of -$at have doneI failing to note it
too# ot$ers* sometimes many ot$ers* to ma#e t$e a%%om(lis$ments (ossi"le&
After "eing %riti%i.ed and ignored "y most US "usinesses e)e%uti!es and general
management for $is stan%e on t$e use of statisti%s in t$e -or#(la%e* 'illiam Ed-ard
eming tra!eled to Ja(an to re"uild t$eir industries follo-ing 'orld 'ar II& After
nota"le a%$ie!ements* returning $ome trium($antly as t$e ne-est guru in
management $e -as as#ed a"out $is e)(erien%es -or#ing -it$ t$e Ja(anese and
-$at t$ey $ad taug$t $im& His res(onse -as no matter t$e tas# or role in a %om(any
(eo(le are im(ortant* es(e%ially -$en t$ey -or# as a team& '$ile t$e need for
num"ers and statisti%s -ere $eralded as t$e missing ingredients to su%%essful
management* and t$ere is no denying measurement is im(ortant* e)e%uti!es often
ignored t$e !ast %ultural di0eren%es "et-een t$e t-o nations&
Many aut$ors -$o -rite a"out team "uilding $a!e fo%used on t$e (ro%ess and not
ne%essarily on (eo(le/s attitudes (rior to t$e sele%ting team mem"ers& 5er$a(s* in
our attem(t to identify -$y team "uilding is so diC%ult and to sim(lify t$e
identi+%ation of a team/s la%# of su%%ess* -e $a!e missed one ma1or %om(onent
-$i%$ is not easily resol!edI a %ulture of I* e!en as a team mem"er& Augged
indi!idualism* indi!idual a%$ie!ement* most !alua"le (layer* most im(ro!ed* t$is
mont$/s "est em(loyee* a-ards* $onors* and on and on e)tols t$e !irtue of t$e
indi!idual and t$eir a%$ie!ements in organi.ations and on teams&
A -onderful loo# at $o- di0erent t$e Ameri%an %ulture of I and t$at of t$e Ja(anese*
-$ere t$e <'e= -as nearly re!ered in t$eir a((roa%$ -or# and teams* %an "e seen in
a lig$t$earted mo!ie entitled )"ung Ho*& T$e mo!ie is a"out $o- Ameri%an -or#ers
and Ja(anese management intera%t as t$ey "uild %ars& It is an interesting
(ers(e%ti!e at t-o %ultures a((roa%$ team "uilding* team -or# and t$e !alue of t$e
indi!idual& In t$e end* t$e Ameri%ans %ome to !alue t$e team %on%e(t and Ja(anese
managers %ome to res(e%t t$e s#ills and talent of t$e indi!iduals -$o ma#e u( t$e
Team "uilding in t$e US is not li#e -$at $a((ens in ot$er %ultures and (arti%ularly in
Ja(an t$at -e so easily found a need to %o(y& Ty(i%al of US attitudes a"out "eing
a"le to ta#e from someone else and use it $ere* -e too# team "uilding from Ja(an as
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age 8
James Neils* Jan 6G39
a means to res(ond to t$eir as%enden%y in manufa%turing and (rodu%tion& If it -or#s
t$ere it %an -or# $ere& But Ja(an/s %ulture of 'e* is -ell suited for team "uilding& In
t$e US and its %ulture of I* regardless of -$at management gurus or leading aut$ors
may %laim* team "uilding %an often run %ounter to t$e re%ognition t$at many of t$e
I/s see#&
:or at t$e last si)ty years t$ere $as "een re%ognition and a%%e(tan%e in t$e US of t$e
%reati!e talents and results (rodu%ed "y teams of (eo(le& T$is -as es(e%ially true
for t$e generation -$o e)(erien%ed t$e e(ression and t$en -or#ed t$roug$ 'orld
'ar II& As a nation atta%#ed* t$ey mo"ili.ed* rationed* set a %lear %ourse -it$ -ell
de+ned o"1e%ti!es t$en formed small and large teams and ultimately a%$ie!ed
dominan%e o!er t$eir enemies and all ot$er nations& T$at generation of -or#ers*
managers and organi.ations t$en turned t$eir attention to (ro!iding itself and t$e
-orld -it$ t$e goods and ser!i%es it needed andDor ultimately -anted&
T$e lessons learned a"out t$e !alue and (rodu%ti!ity of team -or# -as not lost on
t$at generation* (arti%ularly "y t$ose -$o li!es literally de(ended on anot$er&
Turning t$eir attention to "uilding a more (ros(erous nation* t$e a%%e(tan%e of teams
in t$e -or#(la%e "e%ame more %ommon& T$en %om(etition* +rst "et-een t$e US and
t$e former USSA* t$en later e%onomi%ally -it$ Ja(an (layed out a%ross t$e glo"e
furt$er instilled in later generations t$e re%ognition and (er$a(s ne%essity for teams
in t$e -or# setting&
T$ere are ($enomenal e)am(les of -$at team -or# %an do -it$in t$e %ulture of I& In
t$e early 3K?Gs 5resident Jennedy set t$e goal for t$is nation to (la%e men on t$e
moon "y t$e end of t$e de%ade& NASA de!elo(ed t$e -ill* t$e talent and teams to
ma#e it a reality2 anot$er +rst for Ameri%a& Unfortunately* on t$ree ma1or o%%asions
NASA management failed to $eed t$e re%ommendations and ad!i%e from s(e%i+%
teams t$at -as later %ited as a %ontri"uting %ause for a +re t$at #illed t$ree a"oard
an A(ollo s(a%e%raft on its laun%$ (ad and t$e destru%tion of t-o S$uttles and deat$
of all %re- mem"ers&
E!en -$en teams do su%%eed* too often t$e %ulture of I returns& Ho- many times
$a!e (eo(le mo!ed from a su%%essful team to anot$er -$ere t$e results are less
t$an e)(e%tedE 5layers* e)e%uti!es and sta0 in!ol!ed in su%%essful teams as# for
greater %om(ensation* greater res(onsi"ility or sim(ly loo# else-$ere touting t$eir
most re%ent su%%ess& '$en teams are su%%essful management often re-ards a team
leader* t$e <I=* t$roug$ re%ognition andDor (romotion or ma#e erroneous assum(tion
t$at t$e leader* t$e <I= -as t$e (rimary fa%tor for t$e su%%ess of t$e team& T$e
%ulture of I remains and often is often more im(ortant t$an t$e 'e& If re-ards are
o0ered -$y not let t$e team de%ide if it is e!en ne%essary to %om(ensate one and
-$o t$at mig$t "eE 'ouldn/t t$ey "e t$e "est to identify -$o %ontri"uted t$e most
and -$o $eld t$e team toget$erE Better t$an one -$y not re-ard t$e entire team* if
team "uilding is truly im(ortant&
Team "uilding is mo!ing furt$er into organi.ations t$at are learning $o- %om"ining
multi(le de(artments and restru%turing %an im(ro!e a -ay t$e %om(any res(onds to
%rises and %$allenges or to "e %reati!e and inno!ati!e& T$e aim is to remo!e t$e
<silos= -$ere de(artments and %reati!e t$in#ing is isolated from t$e larger <%ulture=
or an organi.ation& Fet* regardless of t$e alignment* t$ere remain %ore elements
-$ere t$e %ulture of I %ontinues to li!e2 my "udget* my team and my de(artment&
T$ere is not$ing -rong -it$ "uilding teams from multi(le de(artments as long as
t$ose -$o in!est in team "uilding* teaming and multi(le team stru%tures understand
$o- t$e %ulture of I %an im(a%t and a0e%t t$e e0orts of any team&
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age 9
James Neils* Jan 6G39
es(ite all of t$e indi%ators to demonstrate t$e $ig$ in%iden%e of (oor (erforman%e*
teams do ta#e on signi+%ant and %om(le) (ro"lems t$e (ro%ess %an and does -or#&
'e need to re%ogni.e team "uilding is su%%essful -$en it %reates a %ulture of <'e=&
T$at re>uires indi!iduals -$o a((re%iate and li#e t$e %ulture of I to ada(t& But may"e
not e!eryone %an do t$at as easily as -e t$in#& It may not "e sim(le and may not "e
easily "ro#en do-n into a fe- (arts so t$at diC%ulties are resol!ed -it$ a fe-
im(ro!ements& '$at may "e needed is re%ognition of t$e dynami%s of indi!iduals*
t$e I/s -$o "uild a team of 'e&
5atri%# Len%ioni* -$o $as aut$ored a num"er of "oo#s on team "uilding* (u"lis$ed a
%olle%tion of $is essays on management and leaders$i(* $at!s $oint o% +iew, As a
%oa%$ for yout$ so%%er and not #no-ing all t$e te%$ni%al as(e%ts of t$e game* $e
de%ided on a di0erent sele%tion (ro%ess to identify $is team& Aat$er t$an t$e so%%er
s#ills* $e admitted to #no- little a"out* $e e!aluated t$e (ros(e%ts* all of -$om -ere
in t$e t$ird grade* on2 $o- t$ey treated ea%$ ot$er* -$at t$ey t$oug$t of s%$ool* $o-
t$ey intera%ted -it$ t$eir (arents* -$et$er t$ey -ere a%ti!ely engaged in t$e game
and $o- t$ey res(onded to (ra%ti%e and menial tas#s* li#e gat$ering t$e so%%er "alls
after a game&
Using t$is a((roa%$* t$e result -as a team -$o li#ed -$at t$ey -ere doing* li#ed
ea%$ ot$er and $el(ed one anot$er& 5er$a(s as im(ortant* t$eir (arents en1oyed
ea%$ ot$er and t$e -ay t$e team -as (erforming& T$ey may not $a!e "een in +rst
(la%e* "ut may $a!e "een t$e "est team& At t$at age* -inning mig$t not "e t$e
%orre%t o"1e%ti!e to a%$ie!e& Instead t$e em($asis mig$t "etter "e (la%ed on
learning $o- to fun%tion on and "e (art of a team&
Loo# at t$e !arious reasons %ited as to -$y teams fail and many are not t$e fault of
teams or team "uilding at all& Some of t$e reasons t$ey %ited in%luded 34 Un%lear
%ommuni%ation* 64 La%# of trust in t$e (ro%ess* 84 A la%# of a %ommon goal* 94 <Silo t$in#ing=*
;4 Inade>uate (lans* ?4 Leaders la%#ing leaders$i( s#ills* @4 5oor attitudes among (arti%i(ants*
L4 5oor training* K4 Ae-ard (rograms t$at do not re-ard& T$ese are not (ro"lems found
uni>uely among teams& Management seminars* "oo#s and s(ea#ers %onstantly
identify t$ese as organi.ational s$ort%omings to o!er%ome for any %om(any to
su%%eed& It is $ardly sur(rising t$at teams fail to fun%tion in an en!ironment
featuringI a la%# of a %ommon or un%lear goals* (oor training* (oor leaders and
re-ard (rograms t$at fail to re-ard&
Team "uilding in t$e US may re>uire a ne- (aradigm -it$ %om(le) sets of solutions
es(e%ially regarding t$e attitudes and !alue of (eo(le sele%ted for a team& In a
%ulture of I* (er$a(s team "uilding s$ould fo%us more on t$e %$ara%teristi%s of t$e
(eo(le -$o -ill ma#e u( t$e team& T$at is not to deny t$at t$e %$allenges on%e t$e
team is assem"le are formida"le* for t$ey are& But gi!en t$e em($asis and t$e $ig$
!alue (la%ed on t$e indi!idual* team "uilding in t$e US s$ould re%ogni.e t$e
%$allenges t$at o%%ur in t$e sele%tion of t$e indi!iduals -$o -ill %om(rise t$e team&
'$ile most -riters $a!e fo%us on t$e dynami%s of t$e team as it -or#s on a (ro1e%t* it
mig$t "e "etter if -e fo%used on t$e %$ara%teristi%s needed to "uild a su%%essful
team (rior to its formation& To identify* as Len%ioni did* t$ose (eo(le -$o -ould "e
"est for a team& T$is is not to dis%ount t$e s#ills needed for a team (ro1e%t* "ut in
team "uilding* t$e s#ills mig$t %ome se%ond to -$et$er t$e I/s %an su%%essfully
fun%tion as a team and -$et$er t$e <I= %an "e se%ond to t$e <'e=&
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age ;
James Neils* Jan 6G39
In late S(ring 6G38* t$e Gallu( organi.ation* in its ongoing e0ort to measure %$anges
in em(loyee attitudes and "e$a!iors* released t$e +ndings from its re%ent sur!ey&
T$eir +ndings suggest t$at out of a 3GG million -or#ers* 8G million are a%ti!ely
engaged in t$eir -or#* ;G million are not engaged and 6G million are a%ti!ely
disengaged& T$e re(ort noted t$e o!erall +ndings $a!e not %$anged signi+%antly in
t$e (ast de%ade& '$at im(li%ations does t$e re(ort $a!e for team "uildingE
Loo# at t$e (er%entages e)(ressed as a "ell s$a(ed %ur!e and (onder -$et$er t$e
+nding is t$at unusual&
oes t$at seem out of t$e ordinary for -$at you mig$t e)(e%t from a (o(ulation of
3GG million -or#ersE It a((ears to follo- a normal distri"ution -it$ t$e greatest
num"er in t$e a%ti!ely engaged and not engaged %ategories& Consider also t$at
em(loyees mo!e from 1o" to 1o" (er$a(s s$ifting -$ere t$ey end u( on t$e s(e%trum
and also t$at em(loyers $ire from t$is general (ool& 'ould -e li#ely +nd similar
results among (ersonnel in many %om(aniesE 5er$a(s* es(e%ially sin%e in t$e last
fe- years t$e US e(t of La"or $as found em(loyee dissatisfa%tion $ig$est in years&
'$at $a((ens -$en a de%ision is made to form a teamE Is t$e %ommitment of t$e
(erson to t$e %om(any* let alone t$e team %onsidered in t$e sele%tion (ro%essE It
%ould also mean s$ifting a a%ti!ely engaged em(loyee to not engaged or -orse
a%ti!ely disengaged "e%ause of t$e team e)(erien%e&
'$at* if any* %riteria is "eing used to sele%t indi!iduals to "uild a teamE oes anyone
a%tually #no- -$o is a%ti!ely engaged* not engaged or a%ti!ely disengagedE It
(ro"a"ly -ould $el( a team if most of its mem"ers* if not all* -ere a%ti!ely engaged*
rat$er t$an e>ually distri"uted a%ross all t$ree %ategories and es(e%ially t$ose*
regardless of t$e >uality of t$eir s#ills -$o -ere a%ti!ely disengaged from t$e
%om(any& Ho- many %om(anies or managers %onsider em(loyee attitudes* t$e
(er%e(tion of em(loyees regarding t$e %om(any/s %ommitment to im(lementing
team re%ommendations* or (re!ious re%ognition for team-or# %om(leted earlierE
5ro"a"ly not enoug$&
'it$ so mu%$ em($asis (la%ed on -$at $a((ens on%e teams are formed* on t$e
(ro%ess of t$e -or#* most %om(anies (ass o!er t$e initial and im(ortant ste( to
assess t$e im(a%t of t$e Culture of I& Current resear%$ %ondu%ted "y He(ler and
Al"arra%in on -$at t$ey term <dis(ositional attitude= mig$t re!eal ne- -ays to sele%t
-$o mig$t (erform "etter on teams& As (art of $is do%toral t$esis* Hel(er un%o!ered
e!iden%e t$at a (erson/s general li#es and disli#es often frame t$e (erson/s res(onse
to seemingly unrelated issues& :or e)am(le a (erson -$o $as a strong li#ing for t$eir
daily routine to remain t$e same and t$at t$ey %ontrol* may not "e a good %andidate
for a team -$ere ot$ers mig$t %ontrol t$e routine* e!en t$oug$ t$at (erson/s s#ills
mig$t "e -ell suited for t$e tas# assigned& Alt$oug$ t$eir study is t$e +rst of its #ind*
it is re%ei!ing (arti%ular attention es(e%ially from %om(anies t$at use (ersonality
testing as (art of t$e $iring (ro%ess&
Until so%ial s%ientist* organi.ational "e$a!ior s(e%ialist and ot$ers "egin to
a%#no-ledge and in!estigate $o- a Culture of I a0e%ts team "uilding (erforman%e
t$e li#eli$ood t$at team "uilding in t$e US -ill %ontinue to "e a struggle seems
%ertain& Nor is it safe to suggest t$at e!en "y e)(loring a (erson/s !ie- of t$eir role*
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age ?
James Neils* Jan 6G39
!alue and -ort$ on a team t$at team "uilding -ill "e%ome easier& :a%tors su%$ as
gender di0eren%es* attri"utes of su%%ess* age and -or# et$i% may also %ontri"ute to
a team (erforman%e or la%# t$ereof* all of -$i%$ is a0e%ted "y t$e Culture of I& T$e
Culture of I is* $o-e!er* >uite e!ident on e!en su%%essful teams and t$e Culture of I
-ill (ro"a"ly retain a dominant (osition and in7uen%e* es(e%ially so in a %ulture
-$ere :a%e"oo# and T-itter and ot$er Internet o(tions $ig$lig$t -$at t$e I is doing or
T$at is not to say t$at organi.ations and e)e%uti!es s$ould sto( trying or t$at
"uilding teams is im(ossi"le& Ho-e!er* unless management its failures to
(ro!ide teams -it$ %lear dire%tion* a%%e(t and im(lement t$e re%ommendations from
a team and res(e%t t$e e0orts indi!iduals and t$e entire grou( ma#e to %ontri"ute to
t$e organi.ation/s greater su%%ess* "uilding su%%essful teams may remain a 7eeting
goal for many&
One additional %omments from a -ell res(e%ted (rofessional may $el( to frame t$e
dire%tion management needs to mo!e to ma#e team "uilding yield greater su%%esses
and to $el( im(ro!e t$e 'e %om(onent of t$e team& A"ra$am Maslo-* -$o "e%ame
famous for $is so%ial s%ien%e $ierar%$y of needs* later -or#ed as a %onsultant to
%om(anies see#ing to im(ro!e >uality (erforman%e and (rodu%tion& An entry in t$e
1ournal $e #e(t from $is o"ser!ations (oses an interesting >uestion for management
es(e%ially -$en team "uilding2
-most o% us would argue that we .elieve in the potential o% people and that
people are our most important organi/ational assets, % that is the case, wh(
then do we %re0uentl( design organi/ations to satis%( our need %or control and
not to ma1imi/e the contri.utions o% people2*
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age @
James Neils* Jan 6G39
Barriers to Team Building & How to Overcome Them, Betty Jean Steins$ouer* EHo-*
"ung Ho* Mo!ie* 5aramount 5i%tures* Aon Ho-ard* 3KL?
Journal of 5ersonality and So%ial 5sy%$ology Hol 3G9 (( 3G?G,3G@?* He(ler
issertation* He(ler and Al"arra%in* C$i%ago Tri"une Se(t 33* 6G38 ((3* ;4
#easuring Team $er%ormance, Ja%# Bigon* Bigon 5erforman%e Grou(* Media 5A* 3KKK
Top 3 Barriers to Efective Teamwork, Lynn :erguson,5inet, Internet (osting* Fa$oo*
Blog (ost July 3G* 6GGK* Building Teams One Conundrum At a Time
$at!s $oint o% +iew* 5atri%# Len%ioni* Jossey Bass* A 'iley Com(any* San :ran%is%o*
4tate o% the 5merica 'orkplace6 Emplo(ee Engagement nsights %or 7,4, Business
8eaders, Gallu( In%& Internet*
workplace.aspx* 6G38
Teams The Five Common Barriers to Efective Teamwork, un%an Brodie* E.ine*
Internet http://e!"#eams---#he-$ie-%ommon-&arriers-to-'ffectie-
The Complete diot!s "uide to Team Building, A&A& 5ell* Al($a Boo#s* C$a(ter 6*
(( 3;,6L* Internet sour%ed*
The &ew 'h( teams don!t work what went wrong and how to make it right * Har!ey
Ao""ins and Mi%$ael :inley* Berrett Joe$ler 5u"lis$ers* San :ran%is%o* 6GGG&
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age L
James Neils* Jan 6G39
Mr& Neils/ %areer in%ludes management and e)e%uti!e (ositions in for,(ro+t and not,for,(ro+t organi.ations&
Early in $is %areer* $e returned to a%ademia and "e%ame interested in resear%$ing organi.ational goals*
(erforman%e measures and +nan%ial returns on non,(ro+t organi.ations& Alt$oug$ $is (u"lis$ed -or#s are
often dire%ted to-ard non,(ro+ts* $is %on%e(ts and analysis are e>ually a((li%a"le to for,(ro+ts as -ell&
As $is %areer (rogressed* Mr& Neils re%ogni.ed t$e day,to,day demands on e)e%uti!es* es(e%ially
managers/* -ere most often at t$e ta%ti%al de%ision le!el* lea!ing little time to im(ro!e or de!elo(
strategi% s#ills& As a result* $e de!elo(ed a #een interest in strategi% t$in#ing&
His +rst -or# -as 7sing Conceptual #odels to mprove an E1ecutive!s 4trategic Thinking, T$is (a(er -as
a t$eoreti%al e)(loration of %on%e(tual models and strategi% t$in#ing& Ada(ting A"ra$am Maslo-/s
<Hierarch( o% 4ocial &eeds= Mr& Neils e)amined $o- internal and e)ternal for%es a%t on organi.ations and
:ollo-ing t$at* $e "egan to in!estigate $o- e)e%uti!es mig$t integrate %reati!ity as a -ay to im(ro!e
strategi% t$in#ing s#ills& T$is se%ond arti%le Creativit(, 4trategic Thinking and 4tatistical #odels >uestions
$o- %ommonly used statisti% models and %reati!ity mig$t aid an e)e%uti!e/s and sta0/s s#ill to t$in#
Be%ause of t$e interest generated from t$ese arti%les* $e "egan to in!estigate $o- managers and
e)e%uti!es learned to t$in# strategi%ally& His resear%$ found most em($asis to "e on attri"utes of strategi%
t$in#ing (eo(le and t$e need to t$in# strategi%* "ut little on tea%$ing met$odology& T$is (rom(ted*
9eveloping the 4kill o% 4trategic Thinking in -$i%$ $e suggests 7o-%$arting as a (ossi"le met$od to tea%$
sta0* managers and e)e%uti!es to "e%ome strategi% t$in#ers&
Mr& Neils -rote 'hat non:pro;ts can learn %rom the O.ama Campaign in res(onse to an engagement
-$ere $e argued t$e need for non,(ro+ts to im(ro!e t$eir use of data and data analysis&
His -or# Team Building n a Culture o% "egan after attending a %on!ention of Human Aesour%e managers
and re%ogni.ed t$e strong interest in team "uilding& Mr& Neils e)(lores $o- %ultural for%es in t$e US* t$at
em($asi.e t$e !alue of t$e indi!idual is a uni>ue %om(onent and $as yet %onsidered "y aut$ors -$o study
team "uilding and "y management as t$ey identify (erson to "e%ome (art of a team& t$e im(a%t t$e Internet $ad on "usiness and t$e !ast amounts of data t$at it (ro!ides Mr&
Neils $as turned $is attention to -$at organi.ations do -it$ t$e data t$ey %olle%t or %ould %olle%t& His -or#
mproving a &on:pro;t!s Collection and 7se o% 9ata attem(ts to redu%e t$e an)iety a"out data* data
%olle%tion and analysis&
Currently* $e is -or#ing on a follo-,u( (ie%e t$at e)(lores fund raising and -$y non(ro+ts need to "e
using on,line %ro-dfunding a((li%ations& T$is "rief essay* 5re <ou 4till 7sing a and 5 'orm to Fish
%or Funds -ill "e (u"lis$ed soon&
Mr& Neils "elongs to se!eral Lin#edIn grou(s on non,(ro+t management* strategi% t$in#ing and
(erforman%e measures as -ell as in!ol!ed in organi.ations fo%used on de!elo(ing im(ro!ed management*
measurement and te%$nology a((li%ations for non(ro+ts& He %an "e rea%$ed at James&neilsMgmail&%om&
Team Building in a Culture of I 5age K
James Neils* Jan 6G39

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