We were discussing today the fact that defining clear “roles and responsibilities” seems to get in the way of getting stuff done and is a stumbling block on the way to effective teamwork.
To help solve the problem we looked elsewhere. Where else do teams work well together through choice, necessity or nature? What can we learn from these great teams and how they just “make it happen”?
The interest in roles and responsibilities came out of research we’ve done with teams. We found this was one of the widest areas of dissatisfaction between teams realities and expectations.
It seems especially important now when roles need to relate to goals that change so fast. Teams need to be able to realign and redefine what team members are doing and rely on their team mates to have everything else covered so the whole team delivers. It seems they are struggling at times.
As a group we challenged ourselves with the question “what can we learn from analogous environments about how roles and responsibilities are organised?” After an hour surrounded by post-its these are some of the most interesting spaces we came up with….
In the army teams depend on each other for their lives, and potentially the lives of hundreds of others. There’s little room for error so excellent teamwork is fundamental to survival. How do they make this happen:
As we all know you can’t chose your family, but as a team families make it work, for better or worse…
Government & Justice
Governments are responsible for longstanding, high impact, formal decision making and in many cases responsibility is shared
Throughout the natural world we observe great feats of endurance and survival as a result of teams
It’s interesting to see that we found varying levels of responsibility and team design across these spaces. What we want to know now is which model, or blend of models works best for teams at work.
We’re conducting some small experiments over the next week to see if we can use some of our thinking to improve how teams define and evolve role and responsibilities.
If you’d like to take part — please sign up here.