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Solving Problems in Groups and Teams

In chapter 10, I learnt why groups are important in providing solutions. Teams are equipped with different resources, they are committed, they are more likely to spot inaccuracies and benefit from the diversity of working with different people to come up with better solutions fast. I learnt that not all problem-solving requires group work. Some solutions even do better when individuals do them on their own. A problem solving group is only important when there is bound to be a disagreement between different people, when the project is too big or the work cut out for each member relates to another member and they need to coordinate. A group also comes in handy when there is more than one decision to be made.

I also learnt that if the group is not cohesive no amount of tips can salvage it. A good group communicates on similar goals, roles; they discuss their problems and performance.  To be able to develop a cohesive group, the group needs to understand their main goals, how they will track progress, have common values, minimize hostility between members and make it clear that you need each other to complete the project. It is also important to protect the group from external forces that want to tear them apart, cry and laugh together and most importantly group members should be friends.Solving Problems in Groups and Teams

A group follows a pattern before they are eventually successful. In orientation, they will be testing the waters with different ideas. In conflict stage, the members disagree a lot. In emergence stage, members begin to agree and combine the best ideas and finally in reinforcement stage they have an idea of what the group is all about and they become the ideal group because they now agree on similar goals. In group discussion formats, problems are solved in various ways. If the group is too big, a breakout group is created to find a solution. Problem census helps the quiet people in the group to provide solutions anonymously. Focus groups solve the problem of understanding the bigger population. Parliamentary procedure has specific rules on solving problems. Panel discussions provide solutions in an informal way by having team members brainstorm on solutions.  Forums allow the input of non-group members before a final decision is made. A group can form the format that works best for them. Talking to each other without particular aim may be even more effective.

Members in virtual groups need to use technology to communicate as much as possible, observe video etiquette by using appropriate body language, be enthusiastic and because team members are far, they can try to connect by sharing their lives online. Finding solutions for problems is a step by step process. Identifying the problem is the first step. It is followed by problem analysis, brainstorming for solutions, picking the best solution, plan and follow up the plan. When picking up a solution, the group can listen to an expert, use majority wins, reach consensus, form a smaller group to solve the problem or simply accept the solution provided by the leader.

Susie Wee is very successful because she understands working with multicultural people. She understands their culture and norms and applies it. Factors that shaped her approach to team work is the opportunity of working in different countries, her background and the fact that she has technology and solve problems virtually with teams around the world. The video titled ‘The walk from No to Yes’ talks about a third side. People respond to the third side because it is the neutral point and has no bias. A ‘balcony’ perspective during a conflict is achieved by thinking about what is most important, calming down the warring parties and focussing on finding a solution instead of criticizing each other. Ury’s remarks are about hospitality and accommodating others ‘the Abraham way’ which brings cohesion among disagreeing groups. In 12 Angry men, one man dominating the group led others to disagree with him and choose not to listen. Their response was effective and would work in situations where one person is trying to dominate a group. The juror that speaks on prejudice is an effective communicator. This is because he manages to bring the disagreeing jury back together.Solving Problems in Groups and Teams

Chapter 10 will affect the way I communicate during a team conflict. Instead of piling on the anger, I will work towards being on the third side and taking the group to the balcony. In virtual teams I will dedicate myself to learning from each person as much as possible to create cohesion. In group works I will try to make new friends to promote team cohesion. I will spot dangers in the team and try to get the team to address them before they explode to bigger issues. I will try to convince team members to use the structured problem solving approach in problem resolution.

The readings apply to me as a student because in my student life it is a requirement for me to be part of a group always. I am in discussion groups, assignment groups and even a social group where our common goal is touring places. In all these groups, problems are bound to arise because we all have different personalities. I am glad that now I have the skills to help my team when problems arise and we are better for it now.Solving Problems in Groups and Teams