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Management Skills and Team Building through Win-Win and Clarity of Communication

If your organization suffers from . . .

  • Too much bureaucracy
  • A "keep your head down" mentality
  • Lack of initiative
  • Reluctance to review what we do
  • Unclear vision and direction
  • "Can't do" attitudes
  • Defensive attitudes - questions and concerns perceived as attacks
  • Lack of clarity of roles
  • My managers/subordinates don't do their job
  • Festering, chronic conflicts

. . . then chances are good that your constraint is related to (or at least exacerbated by) your lack of ability to clearly communicate among yourselves, resolve conflicts and work as a high-performance team.

If a team has had little success in accomplishing its goal(s) due to conflicts (either interpersonal or systemic), then it becomes a habitual situation, where expectations are lowered whenever it faces difficult choices. Without an approach to truly dealing with conflict, the participants fall back on political approaches or compromises. When that's the case, sometimes one side prevails, sometimes the other does, and sometimes there are no real compromises involved. In any event, this quickly devolves into lose-lose situations in which at least one side resents in the short term and both resent in the long term. The resentment festers, making future conflict situations all the more difficult to resolve.

Sometimes this leads to a breakdown of communication, where even if thoroughly justified, people suppress their concerns and reservations about proposals put forth by others. Or if they do come forward, the concerns might be swept aside as the questioned proposal's originator sees the expression of concern as an attack on his or her idea.

The Human Factor

Our organizations are made up of people who have to interact with each other. As much as we try to align the goals of the organization with the goals of its participants, sometimes the "human factor" becomes the toughest obstacle to achieving effective teamwork. Sometimes the conflict invovled in balancing relationships and teamwork with indivduals' need to contribute makes it difficult.

This conflict between our interests and the interests of others in the organization must be addressed if all parties are to "be successful" as a group.

If, however, the team can become proficient in and have success with an approach that helps them deal with conflict through clarification of win-win possibilities, that success alone will help to strengthen the various relationships. Nothing succeeds like success.

The TOC Thinking Processes are a proven set of tools that provide us with systematic (learnable and repeatable) ways of simultaneously addressing our interest and the interests of others. Together they form a problem-solving methodology, but individually, they can be used as for:

Conflict resolution, both day-to-day and chronic

Evaporating Cloud and Negative Branch Reservation

Dealing with "half-baked ideas" without turning off the idea's originator

Negative Branch Reservation

Accepting "constructive criticism" with grace and effectiveness

Negative Branch Reservation

Turning bureaucratic policies into opportunities for independent action

Evaporating Cloud

Giving clear instructions that facilitate empowerment

Transition Tree

Aligning teams on a clear path to their objective

Prerequisite Tree

The collection and presentation of TOC Thinking Processes found in the Management Skills Workshop (developed by the A.Y.Goldratt Institute) provides the appropriate tools to address such issues by turning the situations from "you against me" to "you and me against the problem."

I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up. - Tom Lehrer

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