Team-building & Motivation

The groups benefiting from a positive change need to come together to make change happenand and then team-building and motivation have to be addressed.

Motivation & Team empowerment

Background & context

It is through our team, that we can respond to the challenges of a changing economy and the effective management of performance in our programmes. Hence, the increased emphasis on improving performance through motivation. It is obvious that motivated team members performs better, and that leaders must understand their role and offer support. It can also be assumed that a safe and conducive work environment, fair performance appraisal systems and opportunities for promotion are necessary to maintain a high level of team motivation. Furthermore, team members should be exposed to career development opportunities and motivational talks.

Motivated team members perform at a higher level, making it easy for leaders to motivate them further, thus achieving both individual and programme objectives.


  1. Team member ability
    1. We need to put together a team that has the required knowledge, skills and ability to complete the tasks.
    2. Team members must trust each other and openly communicate, with a willingness to accept conflict.
    3. Have the energy to persevere when the going gets tough.
    4. Virtual team members require great skills. Team members will be challenged to adapt to the new technologies that link the team. Team members must also learn new ways to express themselves and communicate.
    5. Cross-cultural team members require great skills. Team members will be diverse and thus must be able to manage advanced communication skills.
  2. Team composition
    1. Including members with technical skills.
    2. Including members with interpersonal skills.
    3. The team should be a good mix of different types of people. Teams that bring different styles together enjoy many benefits of cognitive diversity.
    4. The team shall be small (4 -6 people).
  3. Positive team atmosphere
    1. Support socialising activities.
  4. Team coordination
    1. Ensure a well-defined team task that engages and sustains team members’ motivation.
    2. Ensure good methods of communication.
  5. Team leadership

Ensure good team leadership

  1. Leaders shall target to motivate, engage and develop individuals
  2. Leaders need to commit to approaching problems methodically; define the real problem and rely on facts (rather than behave instinctively), step back, be asking questions and take time to reflect (rather than jump to conclusions).
  1. Reward teams as teams (not as individuals)
    1. Career and reward system must include incentive to work collaboratively.
    2. Decide carefully which problems to be tackled by the team and choose issues that need a collective, cross-boundary expertise. Avoid issues that could be handled by individual functions, as these can be addressed as part of business-as-usual.
  2. Team training
    1. Training teams helps teams develop, test and run processes such as coordination. It also enables team members to build trust, and share information and knowledge
    2. Training teams develops a shared memory of the awareness and ability of the team to identify and process information. Teams develop an awareness of which team member has knowledge on which topic
    3. Leadership training shall improve our ability to motivate, engage and develop individuals.
    4. Virtual team members need training on the new technologies that link the team and new ways to express themselves and communicate.
  3. Ensuring that teams feel accountable for the success of the whole company
    1. Each individual must have a shared belief in the end goal.
    2. Each individual should have clear understanding about how their actions contribute to the end goal.
    3. Including teams and team members in the process of deciding which problems to tackle, which solutions are best and the actions to be taken going forward.
    4. Benefit from a flat type of organisation, where teams and team members are encouraged to provide advice to the management and the management is transparent regarding their decisions in relation to the team’s advice.
  4. Ensure that our teams have the necessary authority to succeed
    1. There needs to be a careful balance between managerial and team authority.
    2. Managers need to provide direction (where the team is aiming) and set outer limit constraints on team behaviour (things the team must never do).
    3. The team must have full authority for the methods to accomplish their tasks.
    4. Establish team boundaries, giving the team authority to manage their internal processes and their internal and external relationships.
    5. Team members are energised to take risks: this will create an innovative environment, where individuals will learn from each other and outside ideas.
    6. Clear boundaries. Clear and specific expectations of the extents and limits of the teams accountability and authority limits.
  5. Ensure the technology and other requirements
    1. Virtual team requires access to new technologies that link the team. Set clear goals and ensure good communication.
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11. Process for problem-solving.
Openness to talking about problem: It is important to have an openness to problem solving (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014). Great problem solving begins with being able to acknowledge problems without judgement. Hidden problems don’t get fixed and keep organisations from reaching their objectives.

    1. Willingness to see problems wherever they may be: Before you can acknowledge a problem, you have to be aware of it. Identifying problems, particularly before they grow into a crisis, is a skill that can be learned (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).
    2. Understanding that small problems matter: We need to understand that small problems matter as much as large organisational problems (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).
    3. Commitment to approaching problems methodically: (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014). An effective process for identifying and solving problems involves five steps:
      1. Define the problem. Clarify what should be happening and what is happening. The gap between the two is where the problem lies. Defining the problem well ensures that the team has a shared understanding of the real issue.
      2. Identify root causes. Learn as much as possible about the problem, preferably by observing it as it occurs. This step is often skipped, but it is essential; without it there is no way of knowing whether you are solving the real problem.
      3. Develop a solution. Crafting a good solution rests on distinguishing cause from effect. A solution that tackles the root cause will eliminate the symptom that the problem causes; if the root cause has truly been found, removing the proposed solution will lead to the symptom’s return.
      4. Test and refine the solution. The solution must be tested to ensure it has the expected impact. If it solves only part of the problem, further rounds of the problem-solving process may be needed before the problem disappears completely. For validation, conduct a final experiment without the solution to see if the problem recurs.
      5. Adopt new standards. The last step is to incorporate the solution into standards for work, with training and follow-up to make sure everyone has adopted the new method. That should eliminate any possibility of recurrence; moreover, sharing the solution more broadly across the organization allows others to glean insights that might be applicable in seemingly different scenarios.
    4. Recognition that observations are often more valuable than data: Observation and questioning partners and team members provide a powerful and immediate source of insights into processes, work flows, capabilities, and frustrations with current ways of working (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014). Gathering and analysing financial and accounting data is geared toward financial outcomes and cannot replace gathering and analysing information about the operating processes.
    5. Ensure continuous improvement: Problems never cease to arise. Building a problem-solving culture that lasts is not about fixing particular problems but about always striving to do things better (Cook, R and Jenkins, A., 2014).
  • Through having a process, we will generate more ideas faster and select ideas faster. If we find we always get the same results from our problem-solving/innovation meetings – maybe it is time to take a different view (Peacock, G., 2016). Reframing our problem and looking at it from different perspectives or viewpoints can help us to find different solutions – many of them different to the usual raft of solutions.  A change of focus can reveal a solution that was lying just outside our frame of vision (Peacock, G., 2016). 
  • A true problem-solving organisation will have the ultimate goal for everyone in the organisation to own the responsibility and take the initiative to solve the problems that are most relevant to them (Peacock, G., 2016). In these organisations people build capabilities more quickly and collaborate across internal boundaries more effectively.
  • Leaders shall be following a constant problem-solving approach, define the real problem, and rely on facts (rather than behave instinctively) (Peacock, G., 2016). Thus, leaders need to step back, be asking questions and take time to reflect (rather than jump to conclusions). Leaders need to commit to approaching problems methodically.
  • Using a problem-solving process also allows teams to move faster, avoiding competition or conformity (Peacock, G., 2016).
  • When working on complex problems in teams, teams tend to take too much time or too little time (Peacock, G., 2016). Teams take too much time because they do not have an agreed method to generate ideas or to select the best ideas. Teams take too little time because they generate too few solutions and then approve solutions quickly, without exploring all the possibilities. Teams that take too little time rarely challenge accepted ways of doing things.
  • Barriers to innovation are pervasive and predictable, but not that strong (Peacock, G., 2016). The simplest and easiest way to overcome them is to help people notice what they have been overlooking. We shall take a different view and see what is right in front of us.
  • When people compete, instead of looking for ways to develop ideas they actually tend to look for ways to destroy ideas (Peacock, G., 2016).
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