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5大秘诀打造最佳团队

Jennifer Alsever 2014年04月15日

五仁月饼的故事告诉我们,不是把最好的东西放在一起就能得到最好的组合。打造最佳团队也是一样,不是把最有经验、最聪明的人拉到一起就完事了。资深团队领导人的经验告诉我们,打造优秀的团队也要讲究方法。

    最优秀的公司和机构都会鼓励和支持管理高层、部门内部和部门之间的团队合作。优秀团队的秘诀并不是把最有经验、最聪明的人放在一起那么简单。下面是打造优秀团队的五条建议:

    • 努力推广随意性的交流——会议未必有用

    在洛杉矶护肤品公司Beautycounter,公司CEO格雷格•伦弗鲁为了促进团队合作,鼓励五个人的高管团队花更多时间进行一对一的谈话——比如在办公桌前五分钟的简短对话,或者一起喝一杯咖啡。她尽量限制参加对话的人数,避免冗长的电子邮件、事先安排好的电话呼叫和漫长的正式会议。相反,她选择了简短的站立式会议和小组碰头会。

    这与最初的情形截然相反。当初,她发现自己几乎整天都在开会。现在,她的团队配合更默契,工作效率更高。

    她说:“这些做法帮助我们保持同步。人们可以做到果断,也可以保持灵活性,而且不会再被无休止的繁文缛节拖累。”

    良好的沟通是涉及团队合作的标准说辞。但麻省理工学院(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)的研究人员发现,在全部工作时间内,鼓励随意的对话对于打造优秀团队至关重要。麻省理工的研究人员使用带有传感器的徽章,在数十家公司捕捉人们的肢体语言、手势和语调。结果,研究人员可以根据沟通方式,非常准确地预测出一个团队的绩效。表现最差的团队花更多时间坐在一起开会,团队中有一位占主导地位的成员,或者人们只是在说或听,却无法两者兼顾。

    事实上,麻省理工学院的亚历克斯•桑迪•彭特兰表示,在走廊或休息室进行的非正式对话对团队工作效率的重要性甚至超过了团队成员的智商、技能或经验。

    他发现,优秀团队的成员不会只注重内部交流。更有创意的团队会经常与其他部门沟通。而这是许多人都忽视的事情。彭特兰说:“组织结构图显示你应该与这六个人沟通,但如果你仅限于和这六人沟通,那么你最终可能被同样的创意堵住思路,结果无法产生新的想法。”

    • 抛弃等级制度

    卡耐基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon University)的团队合作研究员安妮塔•伍利表示,虽然大多数领导者认为他们应该负责发号施令和制定议程,但实际上,团队需要他们作为促进者,挖掘所有团队成员的潜力。最优秀的团队在外人看来可能并没有明确的负责人。事实上,许多团队根本不需要领导者。

    纽约的俄耳甫斯室内乐团(Orpheus Chamber Orchestra)就是一个例子。40年来,这个乐团举行音乐会从来不用乐队指挥。对于演奏曲目、演奏方式、加入乐团的人选以及巡回演出的地点和时间等问题,乐团的34位音乐家可以各抒己见。

    乐团执行理事克里希那•契亚格拉杰说:“举办一场音乐会无非就是管理一个短期项目而已。”

    乐团会选出一个核心团队,监督每一首曲目的练习和表演,而且每三年选出三位艺术总监。任何人都可以发表意见,同事互相评价工作绩效。

    契亚格拉杰表示,并不是所有决定都能达成共识。但这个乐团有职业乐团最高的工作满意度,并迅速成为全世界最优秀的乐团之一。按契亚格拉杰的说法,乐团独一无二的表演“令人心潮澎湃”。

    他说:“你能看得出,他们呼吸与共,彼此期待,共同进退。它是一股巨大的力量。”

    Some of the best performing corporations and institutions are those that encourage and enable teamwork—in the C-suite, within groups and across divisions. The secret to a great team is not simply about having the most experienced or smartest people on board. Here are 5 ways to build a top-performing team:

    • Push for casual conversations-- not necessarily meetings

    To boost collaboration at her Los Angeles skincare company Beautycounter, CEO Gregg Renfrew encourages her five-person executive team to spend more time talking one-on-one with each other—whether it's a five-minute desk-side conversation or grabbing a cup of coffee. She tries to limit the number of people in conversations, avoid lengthy emails, scheduling phone calls and long formal meetings. Instead, she opts for quick stand-ups and group huddles.

    It's an about-face from her early days, when she found herself booked in meetings all day. Now, her team can be far more collaborative and gets far more done.

    "It helps us stay in sync," she says. "You can be decisive, you can be nimble, and you don't get caught up in red tape."

    Good communication is standard teamwork rhetoric. But casual conversations throughout the day can be vital to top-performing teams, according to researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Using badges with sensors that capture body language, gestures and tone of voice at people at dozens of companies, MIT researchers could predict with eerie precision a team's performance based on the pattern of communication. The worst performing teams sat in more meetings, had a dominant team member or people who talked or listened but did not do both.

    In fact, those informal conversations in the hallways or the break room may be even more important to team productivity than team members' IQ, skill or experience, says MIT professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland.

    Great teams don't just talk amongst themselves either, he found. The more creative groups talked to people outside their own group—a lot. Yet it's something most people forget to do. "The org chart says you talk to these six people," says Pentland. "If you only do that then you get stuck with the same ideas going around and around again instead of new ideas."

    • Throw out the hierarchy

    While most leaders think they must do the talking and set the agenda, teams really need them to be facilitators, bringing out the contributions of everyone, says Anita Woolley, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher who has studied teamwork. The best teams may be those that, to an outsider, it's not entirely clear who is in charge. In fact, some teams need no leader at all.

    Just look at the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra in New York. For 40 years, the orchestra has worked in concert—literally –without a conductor. All of the 34 musicians get to make suggestions on what is played, how it is played, who can join the orchestra, and where and when they tour.

    "Putting on a concert is nothing more than managing a short-term project," says Krishna Thiagarajan, the orchestra's executive director, whose role is akin to a band manager.

    The group selects a core group to oversee practice and performance for each music selection and elects three artistic directors for three-year terms. Anyone can give input and peers judge job performance.

    Not every decision is a consensus, says Thiagarajan. But Orpheus has the highest job satisfaction of any professional orchestra and has catapulted to become one of the best in the world, delivering what Thiagarajan calls unique, "spirited" performances.

    "You can see them breathing together, anticipating each other and working together as a team," he says. "It's a huge rush."

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