Thursday, June 07, 2007

Team Problem Solving

James links to a great article on problem solving within a team.

In my bag of management Jedi mind tricks, I refer to reason #1 as "ownership." There's a bunch of ways to get people on board with an approach--most of which involve getting them to take ownership of the idea. In some cases one takes one's own idea X and says "we need to do X" or "we're responsible for X, let's do it." We is the key word here, and for this statement to impart any sense of ownership the leader must already have established oneself as a member of the team rather than as an outsider manipulating the team. This implies ownership by the team, but is still open for debate as to weather it's the best thing to do at the time.

Another approach is to solicit discussion and attempt to guide the group into idea X via suggestion. You state the problem, then listen to ideas, then say "what if we did X?" This is a much stronger technique than simply stating that X is a good approach because the team has a chance to participate in the problem solving process.

The strongest approach, as per this article, is to let the group solve the problem themselves. In which case ownership is a given.

Getting people enrolled in an idea is important. When a team doesn't have a sense of ownership over their work they're resentful, unmotivated, and perform poorly.

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