LEARNING TO WORK TOGETHER: DEVELOPING SKILLS TO WORK EFFECTIVELY IN TEAMS
The entire department of HEWLETT PACKARD P-RCO recently completed two of a three-part team building workshop. It was as necessity that was long overdue in keeping with the continuing evolution of out transition towards total involvement teams. Everyone has been insistent on this type of class since the self-managed team concept was approved. The lack of trust, the feeling of inequality, and the general confusion as to where each employee fit in was obvious. The only thing that everybody could agree on was that we needed a formal class on ways of working together as one unit.
Susan Wehrspann's class LEARNING TO WORK TOGETHER: DEVELOPING SKILLS TO WORK EFFECTIVELY IN TEAMS was a greatly appreciated step in the right direction. The first step was to remove old barriers that had been built up by the years of working in a conventional setting. Only through a commitment by everyone involved were the participants able to transform from "me" to "we."
It was a serious process that was presented in a comfortable setting through well-placed moments of light heartedness. All aspects of the classes were invaluable, particularly the hands-on exercises. In one exercise, we built newspaper towers that were designed to highlight the different roles each of us plays and how these roles constantly change. In another, we instructed each other on building blocks to help identify the importance of effective communication to reach a common goal.
Of particular interest was the chocolate, vanilla, strawberry analogy. This section taught us about our individual differences that make us dependent upon each other for success. It was quite an eye opener that helped us to understand why we think and do the things the way we do.
Through all of this, Susan kept the class continuing at an even pace without seeming forced. The resulting mixture of learning and working together made for a pleasant experience.
It is now up to the business unit to continue to practice what it has learned and build a stronger foundation upon which to grow and prosper. It is also up to management to allow the team to stumble and at times, fall in its effort to achieve self-management. This is an aggressive process that cannot succeed with out the encouragement and nurturing of managers at every level.
Congratulations and good luck to all involved in this worthwhile endeavor!
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