Teams exist at all levels of an organization, they can be the Executives sitting in the C-Suite, or the new product development team, the maintenance team, or a crew running a production line. All the members of these teams need to work together to achieve the goals of the organization.
Why is it then that so little time is spent working with the team to ensure they are working together as a common unit. We all know from experience that there is a synergy or emergence that appears when teams are aligned. The power of the team is infinitely greater than that of the individual. Despite this, members of teams very often resort to “defensive routines” when faced with conflict in the team in order to protect themselves from embarrassment or threat. Conflict situations are either smoothed over or become winner takes all wars because of the powerful nature of the defensive routines. Imagine how powerful the forces of defensive routines can be if we are able to unlock them and harness them in a positive way.
Team learning is the 4th discipline and involves learning how to deal creatively with the forces opposing productive dialogue and discussions in working teams. It is introduced at this stage because the tools learned and vision shared in disciplines 1 – 3 are integral to the openness, trust and honesty required to create aligned teams. The team needs to be able to seriously examine if and how their own actions are part of the problems they are trying to deal with and practice applying the tools continually. As the old adage clearly puts it, “practice makes perfect”