I used to think the sum of one and one was two…
There’s a reason we work in teams. We’re not that lonely, we don’t really need to make others feel included, and we’re not not-good-enough on our own. But we can be better. When individuals face a common problem (or opportunity!), they can produce results that reflect the combined strengths of everyone involved. Broadening not just the potential for production, but the set of benefactors of success. More goodness from more people for more people – synergy.
But, if you’re working as a team, and the results you’re coming up with are not better than could be achieved by your single most capable team member, something is broken. You’re not achieving synergy.
There are many reasons why this may not be happening for your team – but the result of all teamwork comes first from team decision making. If there are problems with your decision-making process, your implementation will suffer. Every decision has consequences – choosing to embark down the wrong path can effect each decision that follows, and setbacks can amass exponentially.
In training, it’s important to acknowledge that group decision making can be much more difficult than individual decision making – especially when the decision at hand needs to be made under pressure. Circumstances that require high-pressure decision making are times of uncertainty, in which people tend to reach for the familiar. They may rely on comfortable ideas and not consider all available possibilities. They may be too eager to agree with other group members to preserve relationships, rather than fully sharing their own perspective – unintentionally denying the group their own individual expertise.
Keeping your group decision-making process at its best is no easy task, especially if there is no opportunity to objectively assess the solution while it’s in progress. Simulations can provide a non-threatening environment for experiential learning and decision-making assessment.
HRDQ’s Black Bear (part of the Team Adventure Series) highlights a variety of soft skills required by teams, and focuses on consensus decision making under pressure. Providing a detailed and exciting scenario, Black Bear transports participants into a life-or-death situation in which their individual and group decision-making skills are put to the test. Specific to teams working under pressure, Black Bear sets out a model for consensus decision making that touches on all aspects of teamwork and improves results and relationships for participants.