Becoming “Il Team Giusto”
When we discussed the #therightteam building phase we mentioned some critical aspects to consider. Among them is diversity, a topic that fortunately has become central in the vast majority of modern organizations.
With @StefanoSusani we have cultivated an extremely broad concept of diversity, with the aim of maximizing in this way the character of inclusion, the true catalyst element of “different” energies. With this post, we would like to emphasize the function of “antidote” that diversity exercises with respect to some typical team dysfunctions.
The homogeneity of profiles, in the context of teamwork, can have advantages. In general, research indicates that working groups with a high consistency of characteristics tend to reach consensus more quickly and require, always on average, fewer intermediate steps when it comes to communicating. Nothing surprising. They develop strong cohesion and trust and thus tend to become apparently very compact units. One could say in the first instance that they have a better chance of becoming the “Right” Team.
As often happens, the greatest strength nevertheless risks becoming the greatest weakness. In fact, when the “limbic” side of groupthink is allowed to use a “Friend or Foe” classification with excessive ease, we see “Us vs Them” patterns towards anyone is not part of the team, with often devastating results. We want to recall how Team science has moved from ultra-compact and isolated team models to more systemic models, where in addition to the relationships between group members, external relationships with other teams and with the whole constellation that inevitably includes the team also matter a lot same.
At a systemic level, therefore, we recommend “diluting” the excessive uniformity of views with the antidote, diversity as we said. Diversity, intrinsically, predisposes the team more to reflect the other elements of the system, therefore to find more creative strategies for collaboration and resolution of problems and conflicts, without referring to conflict dynamics. In addition to this “Systemic” advantage, inclusive and varied teams will clearly have a greater ability to face innovative tasks, self-learning and mediation in internal conflicts.
Taking up Tuckman’s model, teams that are not very “different” will more easily overcome the “storming” and “norming” phase, supported by their own identity of views. At the same time, they will probably struggle to unleash a full “performing” phase, having little propensity for critical thinking, innovation and antifragility. The leader of a very “different” team will instead have to pay particular attention to the above phases, precisely to avoid being trapped in the “norming” phase on the way towards the “Justice” of the Team.
Speaking of a relatively little-treated form of diversity, but in the present and in the future, we would say vital for the success of businesses, we point out “Harnessing the Power of Age Diversity” published in March 2022 in the online edition of Harvard Business Review. A very interesting cross-section of how personal diversity can be an exceptional strategy to become #ilteamgiusto