Teams in the Workforce
The working environment in the United States and in many other countries is undergoing tremendous change. The global marketplace, international trade, and the Internet have brought about a new way of looking at business. Competition has risen to levels never before attained. In order for businesses to succeed in such a competitive market, they must change their organizational structures and the way they conduct their work processes. However, change is difficult. People are the heart of any organization and in order to change people, it takes time. Collaboration is one of the new constructs that will replace hierarchy as the new inter-relational model in the workplace. These new work teams have some advantages and some disadvantages. Teams that use collaboration in the true sense are the most effective.
Core Values of Collaboration
The seven core values that are vital to collaboration are consensus, trust, responsibility, ownership, respect, honor, and recognition. The collaborative work ethic is the foundation for the collaborative workplace. It is a set of beliefs that is based on the fact that people come first in the workplace. It is believed that people work best when they "own " their workplace culture and their objectives are in line with those of the organization. In his book Transforming the Way We Work, Edward Marshal discusses how teams use collaboration to succeed and keep businesses competitive in the new economy. He says, " Programs that focus on organizational effectiveness, empowerment, total quality, and or self-directed work teams have been a powerful new tool for change in some companies, In most instances, however, the underlying values by which these organizations are led have not changed, resulting in enormous internal conflict. Management is seen as not
walking the talk, thereby undercutting the value and impact of these process focused programs."
When a team comes together it goes through a natural development process which can be divided into four distinct stages. These are forming, conforming, storming and performing. During the forming stage, team members become acquainted with one another and learn the purpose for the team. Relationships between the members must be established and trust begins to form. Goals for the group are established and rules and expectations are clarified. In this stage, a leader usually emerges.
During the conforming stage, the team focuses on creating a cohesive group. This is when members began to identify with the team and form a commitment to the team and its goals. A shared vision is an important factor at this stage of team development. The leader helps the team create their vision, develop its personality, and agree on its goals.
If the team is progressing normally, it will then move into the storming stage. This can be a difficult time because at this stage, members often are faced with disagreements and...