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Collaborate or Eliminate ?


Collaborate or Eliminate ?

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Loner
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Group Dynamics Says - The efficiency of a team can only be as efficient as the inefficient members of the team", would your team collaborate with weak members providing them with an opportunity OR would your group prefer to eliminate the weak members ?
Collaboration is a better way but then it makes your team slow. The growth/achievement curve of the team tends to be long and flat. But it ensures team member survival and high loyalty rate.
Elimination makes your team respond faster as they achieve their goals faster but also makes the team less stable as members are replaced continuously.
How would you choose, whats the right approach ?
The GD viewpoint is not a suggestion, it is only presenting a situation, How do we deal with it will define our performance. Excluding social groups like a "Family " which is not driven by profitability , the ultimate objective of any team/group, if driven by gain, is to achieve its objective in most efficient manner. Different ways to select/configure group member ultimately leads to one of 2 choices "collaborate or Eliminate" whether in short run or long, temporarily or permanent.
Adrian Nichols-360275
Adrian Nichols-360275
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I try to look at it from an ROI point of view...

Can you get the weaker members up to speed and therefore raising their productivity before whatever product/goal (or any future similar goal) is reached for it not to be of benefit? Basically, if the weaker component of the team still won't be able to pull their weight and produce like the rest then surely it'd be a good business decision to get someone better - as that person (or those persons) have been hired to do a job that is not being completed and therefore aren't adhering to their side of the employment contract?!?

Sadly, being a human being means that decisions are often made with some (if not a lot of) emotional influence and that's when decisions can become 'irrational'. It's at this point where personal preferences and conflicts can cloud the right business decision.



Ade

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Steve Jones
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I'm not sure that you move slower. I think you need to allocate work differently based on the skills of your team. If someone isn't as strong, they might still be valuable, but might get different types of work than someone that is stronger.

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nunYoBidnez
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I have to agree with Steve, it is unusual to have the situation rigid as you describe. Weaker team members are assigned rudimentary work, while the stronger members tackle the challenging work. If team building is in place, the weaker members are given opportunities to work with stronger members, who mentor them. Training is made available and everyone encouraged to participate. Of course as the economy shrinks, training is the first thing out the door, then everyone starts protecting their position. It's like grabbing a handful of sand, the harder you grip the more you lose. So the final answer is, it depends on many influences. Hard and fast answers aren't meaningful. But hear is my attempt. The answer is 3.


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Anonymouse
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Working with a team that might be considered 'weak' can still be beneficial to you. Can you provide training to these individuals without wrecking a time line? Could your role be enhanced to become a supervisory or project management role?

I guess when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. There's always an upside to every challenge - this one might be a few more points on a resume, or some experience that can come in handy when applying for a promotion. Down the road, these weak team members might remember that you helped them out when they were learning and realize that you made a difference in their career. Booting them out of the team would also make a difference in their career - but probably not one that they'd look back fondly on.
Loner
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As I have worked with many technical people, some of them just have trouble to learn.
I tried to teach a lady to write T-SQL, she was a main frame COBOL programmer. After six weeks, she still thought the 'SELECT' statement just returned one row at a time just liked the 'READ' statement in COBOL. She even called me at home on weekend to help her to do her work.
One time I tried to teach a college graduate, she was major in computer science. She complied the program and told me she was done. I had no idea how she could graduate. I tried to teach her but she just had trouble to understand. I had a deadline to meet and I told my manager that she had two choice. One was I spent more time to teach the new employee but she had to extend the deadline, the other one was she had to remove the new employee from the project and I would take over her work but I would meet the deadline. She chose the second one.
Another case my manager hired this guy supposed to have extensive SQL experience. It ended up every time he wrote a procedure or a SQL statement, he wanted my manager to look at it. My manager got very upset. One time during a team meeting, my manager told him to rewrite a SQL statement and he did not know how to do it so I ended up writing the SQL statement for him. The other time he messed up something and he wanted me to help him to fix it but I was in the middle of a big project so I said no. He got so upset and told my manager I was not a team player.

So in the above situation, collaborate or eliminate?
Anonymouse
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Collaborate. I think that teamwork is an extremely valuable skill to have. Maybe during the project work, you could say to the project manager that enough time wasn't allocated to item X, or that deliverable Y was late as the team did not have the skillsets that were desired in the project timeline.

When I was in school, I was working in a team of 2 and complained to my teacher that my partner had just up and left, and I hadn't heard from her in weeks. He basically told me to deal with it myself, that's how the 'real world' works. I was sure he was wrong, but unfortunately, it seems he was right! Hehe

I guess to an extent you need to look out for #1 - but you can't run everything by yourself, and like it or not, you need team members. Having them bring something is better than having them bring nothing. However, I come from a union background so maybe my thinking is way off base!
Adrian Nichols-360275
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Ultimately though, the responsibility of putting together the right team for the tasks set lies with the management. If a deliverable hasn't been delivered on time due to a lack of skills, whoever put the team together should go through a lessons learned cycle for themselves in any debrief.



Ade

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Steve Jones
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You have to try and collaborate, try and help, but at the same time you have to meet your responsibilities.

Management has to see this, perhaps by dividing responsibilities and letting management see that the other person can't handle the load. It is ultimately the responsibility of the manager to find a place for someone or get rid of them. There isn't a great shame in asking someone to move on if they aren't a good fit. Doesn't mean they can't work in the field, just that this might not be the place for them.

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jcrawf02
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Steve Jones - Editor (9/8/2008)
You have to try and collaborate, try and help, but at the same time you have to meet your responsibilities.

Management has to see this, perhaps by dividing responsibilities and letting management see that the other person can't handle the load. It is ultimately the responsibility of the manager to find a place for someone or get rid of them. There isn't a great shame in asking someone to move on if they aren't a good fit. Doesn't mean they can't work in the field, just that this might not be the place for them.

Key to this decision would be the response of the employee when informed that they are behind the curve. Are they willing and anxious to learn more to catch up and add value, or are they just pissed that you're telling them that they suck? You can work hard to bring someone up to speed, but if they're not willing to apply themselves and become a better employee, there's really no point.

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