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Understanding Ineffective Teams

Recognizing Ineffective Team Practices

The inadequacies of working in groups can be frustrating. To overcome them, it is important to understand the causes of these inadequacies.

The common characteristics of ineffective problem-solving and decision-making groups are:

  • generating an incomplete problem definition, 
  • seeking a limited number of solutions,
  • failing to develop contingency plans.

Generating an incomplete problem definition

Often, team members will disagree because each has a different conception of what the actual problem is. To remedy this situation, you need to aim for:

  • Brevity — problem definitions need to be focused and succinct. Set priorities and concentrate on the most pivotal concerns instead of dwelling on every detail.
  • Clarity — zero in on the precise sector where the problem is; this enables you to keep the problem definition short and clear.
  • Definable performance measurement — set standards by which you can measure progress. For example, you might target a 25% increase in sales over the coming six months.

Seeking a limited number of solutions

Set aside plenty of time to develop potential solutions to your problem. When team members offer solutions, never censor them — take note of each one, regardless of its feasibility. 

This will create an atmosphere that encourages people to volunteer as many solutions as possible. It is much more productive and enjoyable to choose from many viable options than from only a few.

Failing to develop contingency plans

Inefficient problem-solving and decision-making groups fail to develop contingency plans. This is a mistake because solid backup plans enable you to recover from decision failure. You need to know exactly what to do if your primary solution fails to perform as planned.

Once you recognize the characteristics of ineffective problem-solving and decision-making groups, you can take steps to remedy them.