Lean Consulting and Training Team Building

 

Team Consensus: Goal or Obstacle?

One of the many problems found in teams is the perception that consensus must be reached before any action is taken. Of course, consensus would be convenient; however more often than not, waiting for consensus will prevent action. Actually another obstacle in teams, groupthink, although caused by numerous factors, is often the direct result of seeking full consensus before action will be taken. Team members eventually realize that nothing will be done until consensus is reached. They teach themselves to avoid conflict. The tendency to simply agree continues to evolve until conflict is nonexistent. Team members no longer think critically. Input is extremely limited and the team no longer consists of productive individuals working toward a common goal; but a group of weakened followers who go in any direction with only the slightest push. The result is often bad ideas put into action in order to avoid further conflict.

Seeking full consensus can be damaging in other ways as well; ways that are the exact opposite of groupthink. Teams give up on even great ideas simply because one member does not support the idea. Great ideas are not put into action and tensions also rise.

Great ideas should never be sacrificed for the sake of full consensus. Once a team has been properly trained to function “as a team” and put the needs of the team above the needs of the individuals the sky is the limit.

All members of great teams are leaders. However the team should have one “team leader” that retains final decision-making authority. The team leader must also be disciplined enough to never abuse that authority. The key here is that all members must be thoroughly heard. When people feel they have been heard they are more likely to support a team decision; even if they had voted against the idea. People will not buy-in to a decision if they feel their input is neglected.

Successful teams think critically, do not fear conflict for they realize well managed conflict strengthens a team, they follow through, and develop a great deal of trust and respect for the team as a whole. They challenge one another and themselves to be more productive team members.

Yes teams like this do exist but not without well designed training. If you would like to know more about our team building programs feel free to contact us.
 
   
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