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Friday, October 17, 2008

Bringing Groups Together…What’s it all about?

We assign a mystical quality to bringing groups together. We assign the same magical powers to place, geography, décor and the like. Not unlike a “Field of Dreams” our perception is if we build it they will come to greater solutions and decisions. But different than the fictional plot of the movie, bringing them together does little. So what’s it all about? These occasions, places and accoutrements, while enhancing the occasion, do nothing without defining two key goals: Output and outcome.

Output is the physical representation of work done. It may be a strategy, plan, schematic, vision/mission/goal, schedule and more. It summarizes what was done, to be done and is the communication vehicle for those not present.

Outcome is the energy change that occurs when people brought together are combined with the right kind of activity to address the issues at hand. People enter as individuals (unshared thought, beliefs and attitudes), and leave different - better aligned and capable of putting into play the decisions and solutions they have created. The goal is to create a stronger system, to take the decisions forward. Without it, all the physical signs of the work they have produced will be worthless. They will be just another stack of papers collecting dust or digital files sitting on a computer to no one’s benefit.

Being in a measure-centric world as we are today, output is an obvious goal for a group or team. If we can’t see it, it cannot exist nor should it be sought. However, without a change in how a group interacts and focuses as a team, we lose our ability to ensure the success of all we have created.

What is your view on the energy of a group? What is the value it brings to our work? I value your comments

1 comment:

Jim Cermak said...

Great observations, Mark. However, I believe the most important dynamic comes in having the right people in the group. I have been in groups where one or more people just didn't fit in the group and dragged it down or into an unwanted direction. Many times it's not the expertise of the person, but the personality, work ethic or enthusiasm which can be the negative factor.