02 Jan 2013  What Do YOU Think?

Should We Rethink the Promise of Teams?

Summing Up: Teams that are properly structured and managed can support innovative thinking that depends on contributions from both extroverts and introverts, according to Professor Jim Heskett's readers.

 

Summing Up

Under what conditions do teams, introverts, and innovation go together?


Properly structured and led, teams can support innovative thinking that depends on contributions from both extroverts and introverts. That's the consensus of respondents to this month's column who described their successful and unsuccessful experiences with teams.

Improper uses of teams were cited. Phil Clark said that "Often teams are formed to 'look good' but truly are not teams… Ownership of the outcome is directly related to the success of a team." Stan was concerned with "freeloading" in teamwork and the importance of measuring the quality of the contribution that individuals make to a team. Tom Dolembo pointed out that "Teamwork isn't about falling backwards into a mattress, it is about a specific skill… Unless teaming is approached as a process that includes those who form the team and who will benefit from it, we are discussing a hostage situation."

Limits to the use of teams in the innovation process were suggested by Adetola, who commented that "in the field of technology/science and other spheres where deep disruptive creative thinking is required, we might find that we truly need to identify and encourage introverts … I wonder if Einstein's creative unconventional thinking was suppressed what the world would have lost."

Most respondents offered advice for insuring the effective use of teams. Much of it concerned team leadership.

As Jack Slavinski put it, "Nothing beats first hand leadership observation … Part of that guidance needs to be providing coaching and mentoring to the more dominant members of the team … and most importantly knowing when and how to step in (to) provide guidance or intervention." Yadeed Lobo suggested this measure of effective team leadership: "Can team members dole out and respond openly to constructive challenges to ideas and solutions? … Strong principled leadership recognizes this dynamic and addresses it before it makes teaming structures self destructing." Ravindra Edirisooriya suggested that the "team leader should (among other things) … listen objectively … (be) willing to learn continuously …. Not be afraid to fail … accept responsibility for failures as a team leader and accept credit for success as a team."

Regarding the use of teams in the innovation process, Vimi Jain suggested that "(Innovation) Teams are formed based on relevant strengths each individual possesses for the problem at hand. As a result, there is a good mix of introverts and extroverts… Introverts (including myself) are not people-phobic. They just want to be in their comfort zone of known people."

Heidi Gardner, an HBS faculty member, cited the importance of context in determining the appropriate deployment of teams this way: "Asking a simple question about teamwork's outcomes is akin to querying, 'Is surgery good or bad?' Obviously, the answer is, 'it depends.'… Clearly, there are many … factors relating to the context, the people, the problem, and so on that one needs to consider when deciding whether to implement teamwork …"

This comment suggests what may be a better question: Under what conditions do teams, introverts, and innovation go together? What do you think?

Original Article

We live in the age of transparency, open workspaces, co-location, and collaboration. An entire generation is being prepared to enter workplaces like this, organizations that reward extroverts who show initiative in stepping forward to shape the nature of the conversation of work and the ideas it generates.

The work they do will be carried out in groups ranging from assigned teams to fluid groups engaged in what Harvard Business School Professor Amy Edmondson, in the recent book Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, calls "teaming," defined as "coordination and mutual adjustment during episodes of interdependent work."

Teaming is a process by which participants and entire organizations learn and innovate while carrying out day-to-day assignments. Increasingly, Edmondson maintains, coordination and collaboration are occurring in temporary groups requiring teaming skills, rather than in traditional stable, well-designed teams that rely on managers' abilities to form and lead them.

Leading business schools honor such behavior. At Harvard Business School, one of the first things new MBA candidates experience is introduction to their pre-selected Learning Team, whom they will work on an almost daily basis through much of at least one year. It's an essential element of a program that places special emphasis on, and rewards, verbal contributions to classes as well as leadership of teamwork both inside and outside the classroom. It is not an environment that rewards introverts. (Most conversations between faculty and failing MBA students are about helping the students overcome their fears of engaging in classroom discussion, to improve the frequency of their classroom contributions.)

These are all points made in a new book by Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking. Cain cites ways in which teamwork can suppress the most important kinds of creativity and innovation. Overbearing team leaders, the desire to conform in face-to-face relationships, free riding team members, the dominance by articulate extroverts of more creative introverts, all restrict a group's creativity. Even techniques such as brainstorming have been shown to be much less effective in advancing creative solutions than they are satisfying to those who engage in them. She excludes from this criticism the kind of teamwork that often occurs in open systems on the Internet, which she believes accommodates contributions from both extroverts and introverts and reduces the influence of the former.

Teams comprising both extroverts and introverts, particularly those with diverse backgrounds, have been shown to have a lot of creative potential if managed properly. But Cain's argument is that, as a society, extroversion is encouraged, developed, and recognized in so many ways that introverts—with their abilities to work alone, sometimes focusing on complex problems, not relying on feedback from others—may have fewer opportunities to shape creative solutions.

It is perhaps too soon to know just how teamwork is affecting creativity and innovation in organizations. But based on your own experiences, do the ideas cited above ring true? What can or should be done to encourage both extrovert and introvert behaviors? How will the trend toward work in teams affect US innovation? Should we rethink the promise of teams? What do you think?

To read more

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, Crown Publishers, 2012.

Amy Edmondson, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy, Jossey-Bass, 2012.

Maggie Starvish, Teaming in the Twenty-First Century, Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, 2012.

Comments

    • Phil Clark
    • Clark & Associates

    I read an excellent book several years ago, the author I do not now remember, title "No More Teams". That has been amplified in practice for many years. I have found "teamwork" highly overrated. Often teams are formed to "look good" but truely are not teams. As reflected in Susan Cain's book, personality often overrides creativy and real problem solving. One major misuse teams that aggravates and alienates a workforce is when a team is formed to "alleviate the agony of a leader or manager making a decision they should make".

    Is teamwork bad. Absolutely not. When everyone on the team is "directly" involved in the results of the outcome, it can be paramount to success. But when people do not even know why they are on a team or actually are not directly involved in the outcome, it is a waste of time. Ownership of the outcome is directly related to the success of a team. Every members success should hinge on the outcome.

    When I hear a manager comment, "We need a team." My first, and everyone's first response should be, Why?"

     
     
     
    • Sean Kennedy
    • HBSP

    Creating "teams" has become an unquestioned ritual in many of our organizations. All too often, that process involves little more than establishing a list of members, scheduling a standing meeting, and hoping that somehow the desired result will emerge. We've all seen where that can lead.

    Both Edmondson and Cain challenge us to approach teams more thoughtfully: when to use stable vs. fluid structures, how to foster productive team norms, how to capture the best contributions of everyone on the team, etc.

    It puts me in mind of Morton Hansen's work on collaboration from a few years back: another powerful but often misapplied tool.

    For our organizations to be most effective, they have to better enable collective work. Adopting a more intentional approach to teaming is a great place to start.

     
     
     
    • Anonymous

    I have witnessed what Ms. Cain cites in her points and add that "bullying" is not uncommon in these open teams. Or, the open team ruse in order to take work of others for their own credit while sabotaging the creative resources to undermine individual efforts, efficiency and effectiveness because they don't have any creative ideas of their own. However, without teams or individual contributions functional organizations would be chaos. Managers/People must show solidarity and not bow into the aggressive tactics of bullying. Maintaining structure while embracing both attributes and rewarding the true contributors is why great managers succeed. Online collaboration is perfect for the creative introvert. Time well spent actually productively working. I believe the extroverts are actually the insecure people of our society because they don't understand the quietness of introverts, pushing them to become more like them selves and now there is a new revolution operating under a cloak of quietness...

     
     
     
    • Ron Strieker
    • Managing Partner, CMI

    In my opinion, teams will remain essential for organizational life for the immediate and distant future. Having read Amy's book, I agree with a number of her premises regarding the fabric of effective teaming and how these effective teams demonstrate productive social behaviors, increased creativity and problem-solving, productivity and personal awareness and growth. Conversely, teaming that is dysfunctional has devastating effects to both the person and group/culture as a whole. Consequently, a very conscious effort must be placed into the selection of the members of the team and the reason for it's being (i.e., purpose, goals and expected outcomes). This deliberate and selective process alone will add to the effectiveness and likely success of the team. For instance, introverts tend to be "selectively social", not anti-social and can make great contributors given the right team. Of course, there is much more to all this, but as you can see I feel there is a real future for teaming and a clear value add for organizations.

     
     
     
    • Jack Slavinski
    • SVP, Technology Consulting

    This is a very key topic that has a lot of dynamics circling around it. In an effective teamwork environment, the power of many will yield potentially more powerful solutions and a high degree creativity. Astute team leaders (all levels) keep a constant pulse and awareness of the health of their team and its members. Nothing beats first hand leadership observation of team dynamics and behaviors and most importantly knowing when and how to step in the provide guidance or intervention. Part of that guidance needs to be providing coaching and mentoring to the more dominant members of the team so that their persona does not stifle overall team effectiveness. That guidance also needs to be inclusive with team members who are not as vocal or feel inhibited. The art and science of leadership coaching and proper "air traffic control" in those situations will translate to teams operating sub par at either 50% or less of their potential versus "hitting it out of the park" at 110%. We all need to be at 110%!

     
     
     
    • Adetola
    • Technical Management, Telecommunications

    While the power and results from Teaming is well established in an open functional enviroment,my observation is that the typical creative introvert is totally submerged and made to feel inferior and inadequate where the individuality and contribution of diverse personality is not nurtured.In the field of Technology/science and other spheres where deep disruptive creative thinking is required,we might find that we truly need to identify and encourage introverts to feel free to be themselves and for them to know their contribution to the teams performance/achievements is valuable.vocal extroverts will always command the floor but they are not many times the creative engine that deliver innovative results.I wonder if Einstein's creative unconventional thinking was suppressed what the world would have lost.

     
     
     
    • Kapil Kumar Sopory
    • Company Secretary, SMEC(India) Private Limited

    So long as the performance and the outcome is A-one, it matters little whether the performer is an introvert or an extrovert. That being so, it is also a fact that relatively dumb introverts need to imbibe the quality of expressing themselves to groups may be small ones - own teams for example - to begin with. Public speaking has many advantages. It opens you up and you are able to boldly face audiences, say what you are expected to say and face the volley of questions confidently. Introverts have created wonders quietly and hence they must not be shunned.

     
     
     
    • Anonymous

    There are some projects done better as teams and others that can be done by individuals. Managers and leaders must know their people and capabilities before choosing a path. I would submit that in complex environments and where cause and effect are separated by large time gaps, teams are better.

    We also need to work continuously on training people to function in teams and training leaders to ensure fair evaluation and acknowledgment of contributions.

    Why do researchers focus such topics where obviously no absolute answer holds? Are we out of subjects of significance?

     
     
     
    • Piero Rocca

    Everyone should read "Networking for People who hate Networking". It opened my eyes to how introvert, extroverts and centroverts operate and helps you work effectively with the other types while taking advantage of the strengths of your own type. Perhaps the teams the author has studied are sub-optimal not because simply it's a team environment but because the team lacks the skill and the awareness of how to harness the three personality types.

     
     
     
    • Heidi Gardner
    • Assistant Professor, Harvard Business School

    Asking a simple question about teamwork's outcomes is akin to querying, "Is surgery good or bad?" Obviously, the answer is, "It depends." First, teamwork, like surgery, is only effective when used to try curing the appropriate problem. Today's leading authority on teams, Prof. Richard Hackman, argued this point in his 1990 book, "Groups that Work (and Those That Don't)" and responsible scholars ever since - including Edmondson in her recent book - have accepted and built on that fact. Second, both teamwork and surgery depend on the leadership skills of those individuals guiding the effort and on the capabilities and motivation of others who participate. Clearly, there are many other factors relating to the context, the people, the problem, and so on that one needs to consider when deciding whether to implement teamwork; it is not a panacea. For example, my research shows how teams buckle under extreme performance pressure and end up discounting members' knowledge that would have helped them reach better, more innovative solutions. Scholarship on groups and teams has long ago moved away from the "good vs. bad" debate toward the "under what conditions" examination, and as Prof. Heskett points out, it's certainly worth understanding the contingencies that affect the link between teamwork and innovation. Let's hope managers (and researchers, consultants, etc.) take time to consider these nuances before giving up on teams.

     
     
     
    • Stan
    • Owner, Real Property Solutions

    Perhaps, for a moment, we can move the conversation to secondary and post-secondary environments. It is the hope of many that the leaders of tomorrow will emerge from the most competitive academic institutions in this country. With many professors assigning "team" or "group" work and projects, it is important to implement a method of assessment that accurately measures each group member's contribution in an accurate and fair manner. The generally accepted grading system in the majority of academic institutions evaluates a student's work with an individual grade for a specific course. We can debate the merits of this system; let's save that for another forum. We work with what we have.

    What would motivate a professor to: 1) Create a course in which 50% of the student's final grade is weighted on "group work." 2) All groups are pre-assigned 3) Groups remain the same for the entire semester 4) No metric or assessment is put in place to adjust for freeloaders or highly motivated students that contribute more than their expected workload?

    What type of message does this practice send to highly motivated students? To freeloaders? In "The assessment of group work: lessons from the literature," Professor Graham Gibbs points out: "The fairest option is therefore to construct mixed ability groups but to make sure that high ability students who contribute more have their greater contribution recognised in their individual mark so that they are not unfairly penalised by being obliged to work with lower ability students." If, at the beginning of a semester, it is difficult to distinguish the high ability students from the others, all the more need for a reliable metric and system of correction for situations of unequal contribution.

    Furthermore, "Freeloading also causes organisational problems and delays if allocated tasks are not completed. Assessment should be designed in such a way that it results in appropriate student behavior because individuals will see that their effort will be rewarded and their lack of effort punished."

    If we remain committed to assessing student performance with individual grades, how can we rationalize 50% of more of a student's performance outcome be connected to other, possibly less talented or, more importantly, less motivated students? We need highly motivated students. They are the game-changers, tomorrow's leaders, and the people that we rely on for creative solutions. Introvert or extrovert, rewarding the freeloader while simultaneously punishing the motivated is a disastrous.

    If we do not address this practice, I fear that the long-term results of rewarding and reinforcing freeloading will not have favorable impact on business, or on society as whole.

     
     
     
    • Vicki
    • individual contributor

    You cannot "build" a team; teams come together (gel) on their own. Or they don't.

     
     
     
    • Anonymous

    As I understand, team is only a group of individuals with various profiles and personality types, and the group success on a common task depends solely on their individual skills and/or expertise. Each team member contributes to the goal in his/her own way and each contribution should be valued. A good manager/leader should treat each individual member equally, harness their contribution and not push for everyone to behave, communicate, or worse, think the same way.

    Compliance to company rules is one thing, and being expected or forced to adapt one's personality to suit the company "new fancy styles" could be frustrating and repelling for many employees. Introverts in the first place, because, from my experience, extroverts usually "go with the flow" and even enjoy proving that they are ready for a new challenge.

    If a company can afford sacrificing quality to trends, it's a pity, but fine. They'd say, learning is anyway one of the trendy organizational goals, so why not let them learn on their mistakes. Too bad that some great individuals would be made collateral damage before they realize their mistakes...

     
     
     
    • Ravindra Edirisooriya
    • Accountant 01/08/13, Midwestern Small Business

    Teams and teamwork (teaming) are the life blood of most of the things we humans do in life because not many humans may have all the ideas, knowledge and creativity needed for a particular solution of a problem. Every team objective can be posed as a question (problem) needing an answer (solution). For a sport team, the most important question (objective) is how does it beat the opposing teams consistently, in order to win a championship? Using set theory, teams can be can be explained as subsets of a set of individuals with a common bond: humanity, societies, cultures, citizens, intellectuals, professionals, body politic (executive, judicial and legislative branches, senate and congress), governments, organizations, institutions, corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, professions, guilds, worshippers (church, mosque, synagogue, and temple), non-worshippers, universities, colleges, schools, sports, families, extended families, co unties, cities, states, regions, countries, continents, earth and etc ... A professor and students belong to one team and the question (objective) is how to discover knowledge? A professor/master/leader and students/seekers/followers need to form a bond. (Teaching and learning are the two ends of the discovering knowledge continuum.) The parameters of the common bond need to be established at the formation of the team: values, responsibilities, behaviors, rewards and process (or no process).

    What kind of bonds did Steve Jobs set up for his teams? Was he following the principles described in Professor Heskett's article or not? Was he wrong? Do we consider Steve Jobs to be one of the great innovators of our time? (Onetime Bill Gates -Microsoft- gave a loan to Steve Jobs -Apple- to keep it afloat!) What kind of bonds did Bill Gates set up for his teams? Was he following the principles described in Professor Heskett's article or not? Was he wrong? Do we consider Bill Gates to be one of the great innovators of our time? (Can a person be an introvert and an extrovert at the same time? Are they not better suited to be team leaders?)

    I have been a team member/a team leader in many occasions and I have seen most of the team dynamics described by Professors Heskett, Edmondson and Cain. How do teams achieve stellar results (not achieve mediocre results)? The team needs to have a strong and relevant bond between its leader and members. The team leader should show extreme passion, select team members with extreme passion, listen objectively to each team member, allow team members to freely present ideas using any method, willing to learn continuously, have the ability to pick the best solution(s) when a choice has to be made, do the right thing by the team members, not be afraid to fail (astute teams do not fail because they learn from their mistakes), accept responsibility for failures as a team leader and accept credit for success as a team, and a few other qualities.

    I do have the tools (along with a broad skill set) and the frame of mind needed to make a team achieve stellar results and I would entertain an opportunity. Please check my LinkedIn profile for details. I can be contacted by e-mail: rpedirisooriya@netzero.com

     
     
     
    • Tom Dolembo
    • Founder, New North Institute

    Form, storm, norm, perform, adjourn. This process seems to have a high casualty rate. Most corporate teams are formed to affirm a previously conceived solution. Thoughtful members are driven to introversion through fear for their jobs. New product teams with an open objective are rarely diverse enough to bring meaningful breadth of choice because the organizer is scared. Innovation is scary, is a skill in itself, and is subject to a "norming" that destroys creativity.

    I teach teamwork, and the Prisoner's Dilemma is worth a try. A team should first see how it makes choices, how it perceives risk and reward, and how it will trust. Teamwork isn't about falling backwards into a mattress, it is about a specific skill. Most often teamwork, like parenting, is assumed to be a natural human ability. Teams that fail are rarely reformed or debriefed as to how they failed (or even if they really did fail). Who forms the team is as important as the teamwork. Unless teaming is approached as a process that includes those who form the team and who will benefit from it, we are discussing a hostage situation.

    The best teams in my classes have been renegade, ad hoc groups of four to six members who break away from the rest of the class. They are often as not leaderless and change their goals, but are amazingly productive. The best individual (not team) students become very upset, demand that somehow these people be controlled to some sort of rule set, and their teams report dissension. How many corporations would tolerate a team that looks like Occupy Wall Street no matter what the outcome? Don't we educate to a "norm" that makes teams noneffective? Who wants to share an A?

     
     
     
    • Dan Hogan
    • President, Right-Minded Teamwork

    Instead of spending time rethinking the promise of teams, people like us who write about or who facilitate real-world teams, would provide much more worthwhile and usable support by advocating practical solutions such as Work Agreements. When a team, whether they are more independent or more interdependent, creates and lives by a practical Work Agreement, they successfully address this post's implied problems like introverts can't express themselves or explicit problems like bullying.

    Here's a real-world story that attempts to make the case.

    I was the team facilitator for an international and culturally diverse operations team. I began working with the team leaders during the forming stage. There will 11 different cultures, ages and both genders. By the end of the forth year, there were over 300 people in this organization.

    Early on, during a facilitated team building meeting, the leadership team discussed how important it was for them to respect another's culture. All agreed but they also agreed that it would be practically impossible to remember all the cultural nuances of the other cultures. So, they created a simple Work Agreement that said (I'm paraphrasing), "If someone offends your culture, give them the benefit of the doubt. Respectfully tell them and create a new understanding about to work together." I can tell you from first-hand experience that this worked for every teammate who chose to use it.

     
     
     
    • Vimi Jain

    As an innovation champion, I have facilitated 'teaming' for solving business challenges. Teams are formed based on relevant strengths each individual possesses for the problem at hand. As a result, there is a good mix of introverts and extroverts. Surprisingly, I have not witnessed any challenges in introverts being able to contribute towards discussions, because a) they are all passionate to solve the problem and b) in course of time, introverts strike a rapport with the 'small and closed' group, which gives them the security to freely participate in discussions. In my opinion, introverts (including myself) are not people-phobic. They just want to be in their comfort zone of known people. And as the article talks about Learning Teams that "work on an almost daily basis through much of at least one year", concerns about participation from introverts would dissipate eventually.

     
     
     
    • Anonymous

    I am just now reading Susan Cain's book Quiet, and as an introvert am actually shocked at how she portrays introverts being viewed in the world. All I can say is that conversely, I tend to judge extroverts as simple and shallow. Smooth, quick-tongued, forceful, and self-promoting individuals lose my trust in a heartbeat. I am shocked that apparently the majority of our culture not only doesn't have this same view, but that Harvard Business School in all its supposed brilliance is catering to these personalities. Obviously, I am a little tongue-in-cheek here, and don't really think either extreme is good or bad, but I do find it unfathomable that Harvard Business School is so one-dimensional that it actually believes that deep thinking can even occur within a group. Once individual thoughts have been developed, groups are wonderful to perfect and improve individual ideas, or to continue a brainstorming process (but only when the gro up gels). I am also sad to all of a sudden be feeling badly about being an introvert when it has never ONCE bothered me before!

     
     
     
    • Yadeed Lobo

    Can team members dole out and respond openly to constructive challenge to ideas and solutions?

    This is the defining characteristic of high performing teaming structures.

    If we were to take the teaming concept to its highest echelon in a corporate structure, we reach the C- suite and above that the seat of prudence or the governance of that enterprise.

    Truly great organisations are where constructive challenge dominates teaming conversations at and between these two organisation levels.

    The spoke in the wheel of high performing teams is rapid career advancement. This is where the political dimension or perhaps the aspect of taking things personally and getting defensive in teaming conversations comes into play. Strong principled leadership recognises this dynamic and addresses it before it makes teaming structures self destructing.

     
     
     
    • Philippe Gouamba
    • Vice President of Human Resources, Skyline Windows, LLC

    Every successful leader has to have a sharp, loyal and dedicated team to supplement his/her vision and brainpower. Nothing can be accomplished without a TEAM. Engineers can theorize but draftsmen, welders, builders, field hands, laborers and other skilled personnel have to make contributions before a CAR (for example) can be pieced together and made to roll off the assembly line. TEAMS are the way to go but ...with a word of caution. The success or failure of a team depends on the ability of the team leader to listen to his team members and his ability to synthesize the diverse, often opposing, ideas that are presented to him. If the team leader is a good listener, then so much the better. If he is a dictator that is fine too, as long as his team members are aware of it. Inclusion and the free exchange of ideas is a very cool democratic process that has yielded great results for this Nation. It is cool fun to give credit to those that have contributed ideas to move a great project closer to completion. I think teams and teamwork are still the way to go. I am a firm believer that two brains are always better than one. Leaders need to be GREAT listeners, if not, they are wasting everyone's time and talent.

     
     
     
    • Joe Schmd
    • Managing Principal, Oak Leaf Consulting, LLC

    There is an overuse of the word 'team' to the point of abuse. The word is used interchangeably with committee, panel, commission, board, etc. The test of a team: 1.) Is there a common goal which achievement is necessary for advancing each team members personal goals? 2.) Does every member see each other member as necessary and needed to achieve the goal - without one another the team will fail? And 3.) Does the team have a charter with the goals clearly defined and the organizational authority and resources needed to accomplish the team's goals? When all three conditions are met, then interdependency trumps personal attributes (introvert, extrovert, recluse, assertive, etc.). Good things always happen. If one or more of the three are missing you are left with lots of honking, preening and a smelly outcome. The real question is when is the last time you saw a real team? There are an abundance of groups carrying the label, but few that pass muster. And those that don't give the whole concept of teaming a stigma that sticks. A real team elevates individuals - it doesn't suppress.

     
     
     
    • Peter Lee
    • Lead Consultant, CultureLink International

    In my experience, every team has a culture that encourages a certain type of behaviors and suppresses the others. Extroverts vs. introverts is a convenient example, but there are many others - Western vs. Non-western, relational vs. task-oriented, etc. Nobody can or should build a team that values everything and everyone. That would be a disaster. But if you wanted to make it a more level ground for all players in the game, you could add a few more communication platforms - writing, art, etc. - instead of just sticking to an oral platform in teams.

     
     
     
    • Mike Capron
    • Principal Consultant, MC Leadership Consulting

    I may be mistaken but I came away thinking that the authors assume that extroverts are somehow better innovators than introverts. I disagree plus I feel like we're debating a modern topic (teaming in the 21st century), using ancient terminology and assumptions from 40 years ago. Introverts and Extroverts - really? But that's not my main point, but I just wanted to throw that out there. My main point that the problems that modern teams encounter, especially when pursuing innovation challenges, are not related to whether they are extros or intros, but is better explained via the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Theory. Essentially KAI theory divides people into two sets of problems solvers - adaptive or innovative. An effective team mix is dependent on the type of solution desired. For a problem or task requiring innovative thinking, then a team full of adaptives (those who prefer stable, heavily bounded solutions) would be ineffective reg ardless of whether they are extro or intro in nature. The same goes for creating a team that needs to mature or harden existing processes - innovators would not be able to color inside the lines. KAI theory has tests to determine individual makeup, and lots and lots of hard data to back up the theory.

     
     
     
    • Daniel Trujillo
    • Service Manager, Wall Street English

    Hi. I believe teams were originally formed to increase the speed, which is not to be understood as effectiveness, with which a problem is tackled and solved. That increase in speed led us all to believe it is indispensable to work and basically live in teams, but I think this is overrated. Teams do something good, which is fostering brainstorming when a given problem is just too complex. But working around that problem using the ideas brainstormed is better done in solitude, where those ideas can be modified and adapted at will, without the stifling intervention of their authors.