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You’ll find the 20% of leadership information that produces 80% of leadership results in this newsletter. This is well-researched leadership information that, when consistently implemented, will produce bottom-line results.

Teams and Solitude

The quiet revolution has begun and it’s well called for. This is particularly true in extroverted America where the Team, Team, Team mantra took business by storm for over 30 years—based on missing pieces of information. As often happens, qualifiers were lost between the research on teams and the popularized version.

What Businesses Heard

  • Teams make better decisions than individuals
  • Brainstorming produces more creative options
  • Teams are more productive

What the Research Said
  • Teams make better decisions than individuals-- under specific circumstances. When problems are of a general nature, medium difficulty and a subject expert is not available, then teams make better decisions. We’re probably all familiar with the old moon landing scenario in which individuals, then teams were asked to prioritize items to carry for survival. In general, teams made better decisions than individuals, except when an individual with somewhat more knowledge (or a lot more) was involved. If such a person were on the team, the leadership of the team determined whether the expert made the group smarter or the team marginalized the expert. When teams marginalized the expert (the egg head) teams performed worse than that individual.

  • Brainstorming produces more creative options—rarely. First brainstorming is rarely done properly. Yes, there are rules for brainstorming. Second, even when done properly, big breakthroughs are not likely. Big creative breakthroughs often come in quiet reflection, not in the cacophony of voices

  • Teams are more productive—for some people, some of the time. Many teams are not well managed and spend a considerable time re-hashing that which has been said. Many team members fail to police their own talk and talk to be seen as “contributing team members” even when they have nothing in particular to contribute to moving the team forward. Only teams and team members with self-discipline are generally more productive on tasks which require multiple people with mixed backgrounds and authorities.

As it turns out, some people are a good deal more productive if they are left in solitude to concentrate and work. But then, every introvert reading this already knows that. . . .

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