We have often learnt that every consumer is different with different choices and with that reason the success of our products depend on how flexible our product line is, to manage such expectations and needs with the resources available at disposal.
We spend too much time thinking about the outer environment, customers, product positioning, market analytics, etc., and with the limitation of the span of control the inner environment gets less attention than it deserves. We think it's the market that will define the destiny but we usually forget that the engine (people are part of it) that fight the market competition is our real asset and needs significant amount of attention and optimisation procedures, with a note of classifying the attention weight-ages.
With the changing time of rushing towards entrepreneurship, taking risks, implementing ideas, I would like to share my thoughts on team's dynamics, where the young generation is pushed into the economy, and are getting accountability stuff on their shoulders to work on idea having huge amount of money invested, there are many things that differentiate them from traditional teams, the temp is different, the attitude is different and in totality the culture is different.
Every new member joins the team with an understanding that they digested in previous organizations and institutions, with the evolution of capitalism and simultaneously of the education industry to cope up with the industry requirements, the current education institutions have many kinds of activities like events, workshops, fests, etc. where (like a corporate team) people pitch objectives for a group, prioritize which objective to work upon, suggest alternatives, decide the check points and execute with the limited amount of resources allocated for them, and all this keeping the high adrenalized motivation intact, So we must understand that they have digested a culture before coming to the market or we can say have some colors on their canvas.
Previously, these members carrying new(radical) working thoughts used to get conditioning from the pressure of the culture of the organization they join and either for survival or growth they used to comply with the wishes of the culture and used to get controlled, but now in the new era of startups, the teams have high weightages of new blood coming right from the colleges or few with not such a level of conditioning that they can recall that adrenaline rush and radical business thoughts, also these members are now accountable and with much of investments in their Ideas, keeping that in mind, it's getting important to understand the features that differentiates these new teams and to understand the dynamics for optimized control of the team without compromising the passion that is the key ingredient.
Continuing with this new trend in Business process, the focus has also shifted more to creativity, how creatively we engage with the customer or how creatively we can define the product to satisfy the need in its entirety, the logic of earning rents from few ideas based economic activities has changed a lot and more focus is now on “how quickly you can come with creative ideas that can survive the market competition and are in substantial numbers”, the lifespan of economic ideas(utility) is still long to an extent but the lifespan of the ways to reach those ideas(utility) has fallen.
Also, to address such changes in the requirement. similar changes are observed in recruitment processes where the focus has shifted from bookish content to answering out of box case studies or scenarios, concept of gamification or even the existence of Analytics is based on creativity of how we can connect the dots and make logic that satisfy the current problem, previously, we used to follow the approach of “one man army” or more professional term will be Subject Matter Expert (SME) which even at large organization level were never expert in any iota of professionalism, It's a myth that creativity is a lone thing, it's simply a group activity, for a strong and independent team structure, it’s better to create a team environment, having brainstorming sessions as important as daily reporting and bringing various tacit content in explicit form, which on a whole goes with the web form of team, formation which is more suitable to handle shocks of rejection and failure, which has involvement of every member contributing and in reply to that such acceptance will give each member a substantial level of motivation, which has its own butterfly effect in the organization.
Some years back my manager told me that you have to deal with the team as you deal with a 1 year old baby, the kid is curious about this new world, he want to try new things but he is unaware of the consequences, with accepting that logic, the managers must create flexible environment where members have enough space to speak and instead of the managers the other team members having experience should be the control limits of those thoughts, controlling coming from the similar community has higher level of acceptance and digestion, rejecting a rejection is the start of chaos in any team, let the people share thoughts, there are various formal and informal ways to have that communication, with maturity of acceptance level in the environment, the barriers of asking for help will reduce, will support the serendipitous insights and with this evolution the flow of solutions, the communication and the conversion of tacit knowledge will convert to explicit knowledge, which every organization is trying for, conversion of tacit knowledge to explicit helps in sharing of the expert knowledge gained, cross platform training, smoothing the process, removing the lags and also reduce the financial cost of attrition rate.
Now at team level, such sharing of information, helps each member to feel as part of something common to all of them standing there, and with the time, members start giving attention to such sharing as they start training their thoughts and original ideas with that introduction of the new set of information that they receive in the team communications, it’s not just offering help, it start the trend of positive engagement of suggesting alternatives and in some cases re-frame the problem itself from different perspective altogether, the acceptance level is crucial as there is no point of seeking help in case we are considering it as threat or are not in a mood to use it, the process is called reflective reframing whose one end is help seeking and other is helping the seeker, in totality this collaboration is innovation for team.
The role of a Manager here is to promote the collaborative problem solving environment, where asking for help is not considered as weakness and solving the problems or helping shouldn’t be considered as a superpower, the culture of sharing should be considered as default and existence of such shouldn’t be taken as surprise, but at the same time
Manager for the process of imbibing this culture must celebrate the points where team followed such process and got the problem solved. The evolution of such trend, when the exchanges of information within teams have reached a substantial level, will push the sharing of information at departmental/vertical levels and with that, the strength of web will flow from one team to the whole organization.
I would like to add diversity here or the importance of diversity, it’s a double edged sword, benefits of Diversity can be created only when each individual suggest different alternatives keeping the one common goal as a focus and also with the basic minimum acceptance level, without which its threat to the team integration, without minimum acceptance it can break the team composed due to professional compulsion,
professional compulsion is the first step for team formation, then comes the integration build on the lines of the first brick, hence such free environment helps to generate highest returns from diversity in the team, it allows the space where ideas can come up easily and freely and will be viewed within the importance of common objective, hence maximizing the value of the common objective.
What is common objective, as per John Nash maximum productivity from a group is possible when they consider their as well as the common objective, keeping that in mind, organizations must define the meaning of objective, detach the attention of employees from personal objective by gaining the trust that the organization will do best to take care of it, in return of the output provided by them and try to align the individual objective to organizational objective which should be consumer oriented and focus must be on the experience that consumer gain after using the products or services with minimum friction possible, with collaborative evolution of free environment and this alignment, we will have a fountain of trusts spread across departments.
Often, we observed that the our definition of team is based on the connections between an individual and the common objective, which is very limited and we often forget the connections within the team, it’s easy to assume that the compulsion to align for common objective are sufficient enough to direct the inter-member engagement to the desired level, but most of the times it has been observed that this is not the case. Taking a note from the above, the role of free communication, the acceptance level, the understanding, in other words, the ability of seeing self from outside and others from inside plays an important role in giving a team its formation.
Not limited to startups trend, we are observing that for the introduction of creativity, many settled organization are bringing young people, but there are things that need attention for the proper utilization of such resources, that make them different. Due to adrenaline rushes or dopamine shocks, there are scholarly evidence of high anxiety incidents among younger members for the success, now this is the concern for the manager, if he wants to retain such resources he needs to understand and address the causes of such anxiety while keeping the productivity results intact, youth do have their individual checkpoints aligned with the organizational objectives,
but the speed and the alternatives are the causes to focus upon, the alternatives are the effect of difference in risk-return mapping, there are stakeholders that need attention but due the less exposure or short span of control, the younger members in the teams aren’t fully aware of them or take too much risk that with their point of view is optimized given the information level at their end.
As stated above, communication plays a very important role, keeping in mind the young blood in the organization and the accountability added to their profiles, it's required to communicate the required exposure of the organization and much more than the limits of their work dimensions. Setting expectations is the other most important dimension
for the team, expectations should be communicated properly and must be defined for the young member who are new to corporate atmosphere, further the checkpoints must be defined, we have to be more communicative to manage such teams, due to the attitude of shifting priorities, we have to communicate the path well to them and also simultaneously check the progress, such activities will help to reduce the friction of their transition to the corporate world.
Continuing with the dynamics, the placement of people within the teams also plays a very important role, we should also focus on the weightages of good, average and poor performers in the team, as humans are too influential in both negative and positive sense, the combinations of the team members becomes very important pivot to optimize team structure, the high performers should be placed in such a way that they are seen by all and hence can motivate others also, managers shouldn’t poke too much as the fall of dedication is much steeper than its rise.
These were few thoughts on team management from my side, feel free to share your observations on the above points or any other thing that you want to suggest.