Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Creating a Group and then a Team

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The point of working together is because the sum of everyone’s work is superior than each individual work. More gets done in a shorter time. The point of working together is to bring together the different skills required for a complex project.

This blog post I will discusses group psychology, which is a field of study that can be valuable to leaders and managers. Software development is about cooperation between humans so this will be an an indispensable section of this book.

No group ever becomes a team until it holds itself accountable as a team.

“The wisdom of teams” by Jon R. Katzenbach

What is a Group?

A group is more than a bunch of people; they have common interests. A group consists of two or more people who are socially related. The more interaction there is within a group, the more influence members have on others, potentially leading to changes in their attitudes and behaviors.  After working together, norms and values are developed within the group. There is something that distinguishes the group from others. Some call it team spirit, a group members could describe it like this group have specific norms and values. Let’s visualize two people (A and B) who have some kind of relation (C).

What is a group?

The more (A) and (B) add to the relation (C) the greater and more important the relationship (C) becomes. If both (A) and (B) think they deserve to get more from (C) than what they each contribute to it, the lesser the relationship (C) becomes.

A friend told me why he broke up with his girlfriend: “I didn’t get enough from the relationship, there was nothing left between us anymore so we had to break up!”. It’s when 1 + 1 equals more than 2 a

than required, the group feels a stronger bond and shares a common vision.
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The Speed of Trust

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Images source: Pierre Beteilles photostream

The single most important factor of speed is trust. If there’s one thing you should focus on as a manager, it should be trust. By winning the trust of others and having trust in others, you can get things done. If you don’t have trust, everything slows down – decisions, procedures and processes. When things go slower costs increase and productivity decreases.

In knowledge-based work, you like to make decisions on getting the work done. If people have to report to their immediate boss and that boss in turn reports to a higher boss, this situation slows down things. Managers shall of course be informed but decisions need to be taken by the ones who actually do the work.

In Stephen R. Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust” a very simple and ingenious formula is used to visualize this. Trust affects two outcomes:  the first is speed and the second is cost. When trust goes down, speed also goes down and costs go up.

When trust goes up, speed will also go up and costs go down.

The Agile manifest acknowledges this with “… we have come to value: … Customer collaboration over contract negotiation”. Focusing more on the contract than on customer collaboration shows that trust is low. One of the parties involved doesn’t trust the other; there is the fear that the relationship will be affected if there is no proper contract.

When taking on an endeavor, team members are anxious. When you take on a project and you’re not sure if you can pull it off, it’s natural to hesitate and be and anxious.. The more that’s at stake, the more energy is lost by the anxiety. However, it is also true that people tend to focus better on what’s important if there are more things at stake.