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
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
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.