Team Work Skills Development – Action Management Associates
Teamwork skills for effective meetings.
Modern business is placing more emphasis on participation and teamwork skills to increase productivity, improve products, and improve the quality of work life. The “team workplace” is now commonplace. Team development is as important as individual skills development.
Throughout the late 20th century, this emphasis on teamwork led to a dramatic increase in the time business people spend in meetings. It has been estimated that the average manager spends about 40% of his or her time in meetings, many of which are considered unnecessary. The revenue loss that results from unnecessary and/or unproductive meetings is enormous.
In our work with organizations over 28 years, Action Management has determined there are essentially two types of meetings: information exchange meetings, and problem solving/decision making (PSDM) meetings. There are some important differences between the two. Information exchange meetings have as their sole purpose the exchange of ideas and information. The number of people involved is not normally an issue. There is no expectation that everyone will participate. Also, information exchange meetings do not always demand follow-up. Examples of information exchange meetings are a shareholders’ meeting or a briefing on a new program, service or product, project updates and some staff meetings.
Problem solving and decision making meetings are very different. Their purpose is to solve a problem or make a decision. A specific output is required. The number of participants in the meeting is important. Research has shown that the most effective problem solving and decision making groups are composed of seven or less people. Everyone is expected to participate and follow-up is required. Here, teamwork skills are critical.
The differences between the two types of meetings are important because teams can be, and on average are, significantly more effective in problem solving and decision making than individuals working alone. Involving others can lead to better quality solutions and greater commitment. But, involving others successfully requires careful consideration and team work skills.