Coaching HPT Teams Team Concepts Return to Main Page

Diversity of Perspective

To a casual observer, a team may appear to be culturally homogenous. Yet each team member brings their own set of communication values that transcend gender, nationality, ethnicity, role, or socio-economic status. W. Shabaz Associates, Inc. of Holland, Michigan takes a clear approach to affirming the communication style diversity that is required in each team that aspires to High Performance.

A team may agree in early meetings that they share and support a vision that they want to achieve, and yet each team member carries a different picture of what success for the effort will look like. Later meetings may be filled with conflict and accusations that clear communication does not take place, as each team member or sub-teams are heading in different directions.

To achieve High Performance a team needs diversity in the orientation of its individual team members:

  • Some team members will be needed who are primarily oriented towards task and target date accomplishment.
  • Other team members will be needed who hold process, planning, organization and methods in the highest regard.
  • Teams also need members who nurture, encourage and provide communication nodes. Otherwise, anarchy and intense frustration can result as individuals demand that "their way" is "the only way."
  • Teams will certainly need some members who are creative and innovative. This quality is helpful when product design, inspiration, optimism or humor is needed.
  • The last type of team member needed by a High Performance Team is a floater-someone who is capable of identifying with all of the above orientations and can fill in when one of the viewpoints is missing.

It important to understand that the above orientations are not something that is learned or a role that is assigned. People naturally tend to oriented their thinking along one of the first four views of what is important, while a smaller proportion of the population is more or less evenly balanced and can assume any one of the four views.

A good understanding of the above orientations and the value each brings to a team provides much needed guidance for team selection. High performance teams are sensitive to each others viewpoints and recognize that all viewpoints are needed.

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Copyright (C) 1996-2002 Donald J. Bodwell. All rights reserved.