Team Building Models
I had a conversation with a CEO a few months ago that got me thinking about:
- the value of simple vs complex team building models
- the need to state our company’s philosophy of team building more explicitly in our blog
Turbulence and its Shockwaves
At Executive Oasis International, we specialize in helping teams and organizations thrive even in the midst of tubulence. Turbulence can take many forms including but not limited to:
- economic upheaval and its fallout
- rapid change in the marketplace
- interpersonal and inter-team conflict
At the economic and organizational level, turbulence tends to create confusion as well as a lack of clarity about what’s important and the optimal course of action to be pursued. Interpersonal turbulence generates a lot of “noise” and drama. If left unchecked, turbulence can sap a team’s spirit of innovation and eventually, create a negative and toxic corporate culture.
For this reason, our approach has been to help organizations cut through the complexity by starting engagements with simple tools and models like mind maps, storyboards, force field analysis, grids, and cause-effect diagarams. These and other simple tools are helpful for:
- sizing up a situation quickly
- generating a range of options
Simple models are particularly useful during busy periods and times when a quick response is needed. They are helpful when there is a need to pull together strategies, assess the viability of initiatives and come up with reccomendations in a tight timeframe. The goal of our goal is to facilitate communication, conflict resolution and planning with tools that:
- give team members a common language and frame of reference
- boil situations down to their essential core elements
- help team members perceive situations more clearly
This approach is a good fit for most clients but we have had a couple who have felt it’s too basic.
Simple vs Complex Team Building Tools and Models – What is of more value for executives?
“There is danger in the use of simple models” the CEO cautioned. I take a different view but she did have a point. Some team members will dismiss simplicity as fluff and perceive it as an indicator of a lack of depth and bench strength on the part of a consultant. It can undermine credibility if a new client is left asking “Is that all there is?”.
While I agree that there is a place for complex models, they are often used inappropriately. Here is what I mean. If teams and organizations are avoiding the discipline of rigourous analysis and opting for obvious solutions that fail to create breakthroughs, it is time to go deeper. By contrast, in the midst of turbulence, it’s important to simplify rather than complicate an intricate or emotionally charged situation. It’s time to apply the brakes, slow things down and give team members a chance to develop a clearer picture of the dynamics at play. Why complicate a situation that is already too complicated to the point of creating tension and friction? Once conflict is diffused, a situation more clearly understood by all parties, and some semblance of order and stability restored, there will be plenty of time to engage in deeper analysis.
Is this approach an optimal fit for all teams and organizations? Of course not. That’s why there are many consultants with a myriad of styles and approaches. An approach that simplifies situations and gives clarity is what we have found to be effective for most of our clients. We hope a refreshing alternative to the analysis paralysis that plagues so many organizations.
I am really interested in hearing other points of view about this issue.
– Is there value in the use of simple tools and models for team building, brainstorming and planning?
– What are some pitfalls in the use of simple models and tools?
– Is there a risk of over complicating an already difficult situation through the use of complex models and rigorous analysis?
– What is of more value during conflict and periods of turbulence, simple or complex tools and models?
Please add your comments.