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Competition and Collaboration Creates High Performing Teams

Competition and Collaboration Creates High Performing Teams

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Many of us have heard the story about the classical race between the tortoise and hare but did you know that there is a version 2.0 of that metaphor? In essence, there was a re-match as the rabbit wanted to prove that being the fastest and ergonomically conducive animal, it would win the second race. Here, the tortoise was obviously left behind but the hare came to a major roadblock in their race track i.e. the bank of a river. How could it possibly transcend this obstacle when it has no mechanics to swim and isn't designed by Nature to even glide over water? The tortoise eventually caught up and in seeing the hare; offered to carry the hare on its back so that they could both cross the river bank and reach the finish line together!


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How To Optimise Team Size In Uncertain Environments

wolfpack terrain.pngImage Source: Wolf Pack Explains 'Alpha' Behavior

The law of requisite variety (a term originally rooted as the first law of cybernetics) states that "If a system is to be stable, the number of states of its control mechanism must be greater than or equal to the number of states in the system being controlled" . In enterprise contexts, this means that that teams and organisations need to nurture their ability to handle dynamic and complex changes stemming from the external environment and have enough structured capacity to react with collective resources in the face of these stimuli so as to not fail and become a 'un-viable system'.


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The Prisoners Dilemma, Trust, Cooperation and Effective Teams

The Prisoners Dilemma, Trust, Cooperation and Effective Teams

PrisonersDilemma.jpgImage Source: Chalkdust Magazine

I have been reading Lord Sacks daily thoughts "Celebrating Life" and was impressed by his piece on "The Prisoners Dilemma". The Dilemma in a nutshell is that 2 prisoners are given the chance to do a deal and betray each other. If you want more background I have written about the dilemma previously and it also features heavily in my new book.

Lord Sacks is the UK's chief Rabbi and highlights one vital aspect of the dilemma which I had not previously paid enough attention to - the fact that the two prisoners are not allowed to speak to each other!


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High Performing Teams Video Course launched by Ken Thompson

High Performing Teams Video Course launched by Ken Thompson

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High Performing Teams and High Performing Virtual Teams are topics very close to the heart of almost every leader irrespective of the size of their organization.

In this new course Ken Thompson blends material from his four books on teams into a modern and totally up-to-date course on how to successfully build and sustain High Performing Teams in today's virtual 24x7 world.



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Instant Team: Game-Based Learning for Accelerated Team Development

Instant Team: Game-Based Learning for Accelerated Team Development

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Sadly, you cannot create a High-Performing Team in a day or afternoon or even over lunch. However, if you are put in the position where you, as a leader, simply must get the very best out of a group of your colleagues in very short timescales you can fast-track them towards more effective team-working using 3 simple ingredients:


1. Mechanisms such as competitive business simulation games or other short team challenges.
2. Briefing for the teams on these challenges with specific deadlines and goals but without any instruction about how they are to behave other than that "they are a team".
3. Facilitated team self-analysis sessions at the end of each round or chunk of work in the challenges to let teams review what kind of collaboration they are employing and how they might improve it.


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The Superintelligent Organization: create total competitive advantage?

The Superintelligent Organization: create total competitive advantage?

I have been studying one of the most highly regarded books on the future of AI (Artificial Intelligence), "Superintelligence - paths, dangers, strategies" by Nick Bostrom. Bostrom meticulously reviews the five most likely paths to "superintelligence" which he defines "as any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of (individual) humans in virtually all domains of interest." One of Bostrom's conclusions is totally unexpected and requires immediate consideration within today's major organizations and enterprises!


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A Systematic Guide to Collaboration and Competition within Organizations

A Systematic Guide to Collaboration and Competition within Organizations

I am delighted to announce my new book "A Systematic Guide to Collaboration and Competition within Organizations" which is currently available at a special launch price of £5 for the paperback and £0.99 for the kindle version.


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Launch Offer: Get Ken Thompson's 4 Systematic Guides for the price of 1

 Launch Offer: Get Ken Thompson's 4 Systematic Guides for the price of 1

To celebrate the official launch of my Systematic Guides to Management and Leadership, for a very limited period I am discounting each of the 4 books by 75% off their retail price of £15 (or dollar/euro equivalent).


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The Huffington Post: Biohacking the Organization

The Huffington Post: Biohacking the Organization
An excellent article on Bioteams by Doug Kirkpatrick, US Partner at NuFocus Strategic Group concludes: "The power and elegance of bioteaming is indisputable. Whether organizational leaders will detach themselves from the perceived security blanket of traditional, artificial hierarchy in order to fully experience that power is another question entirely?"

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How to spot an ineffective org. values statement - easy - no conflict!

How to spot an ineffective org. values statement - easy - no conflict!
Organisational Values Statements are very popular these days as a way of lining up the people of the organisation behind a set of values which the organisation wishes to aspire to and be known for. However, in many of these statements the one thing which gives them real power has been left on the cutting room floor - conflict!

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How good is your team? Try the Team Pressure Cooker Exercise!

How good is your team? Try the Team Pressure Cooker Exercise!
Sometimes teams can become quite blind towards some very obvious improvements to their performance. There may be huge elephants in the team room which have somehow become camouflaged. Here is a short team exercise to quickly highlight big improvement opportunities by putting the team into an imaginary pressure cooker.

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How good a team leader are you? Try my Team Leadership Assessment!

How good a team leader are you? Try my Team Leadership Assessment!
As a team leader you have two distinct leadership responsibilities - Managing the Individuals and Managing the Team. Leaders who fixate on managing the individuals tend to have happy teams which unfortunately under-perform in terms of deadlines, quality, customer satisfaction and budgets! Leaders who obsess on managing the team may hit most of these targets but at the expense of team member Alienation, Burnout, Compliance, Disinterest and eventually Exiting (easy to remember - ABCDE!). Great Team Leaders manage both responsibilities. Here is a simple framework with a nice supporting spreadsheet to help you assess and improve your leadership:

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Free questionnaire and software to analyse any team's beliefs versus HPTs

Free questionnaire and software to analyse any team's beliefs versus HPTs
I have written quite a lot about the importance of a team's beliefs on their performance and have published some modest research into the beliefs which differentiate 'high performing' teams from other teams. Until today I have not published the questionnaire which underpinned this research. I am now making this questionnaire available here and also, on request, a free spreadsheet tool to help you 'number crunch' and analyse the results from using the beliefs questionnaire with your own teams.

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Free High Performing Teams Instant Healthcheck Tool Spreadsheet

Free High Performing Teams Instant Healthcheck Tool Spreadsheet

An important free tool which I provide with my new book 'A Systematic Guide to High Performing Teams' is a Team Process Health Check Spreadsheet written in Microsoft Excel. The spreadsheet allows you to rapidly assess each of 16 important team process elements on a scale of 0-3 ranging from 'totally absent' to 'present and effective'.


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The evolution of effective team working and how you can accelerate it!

The evolution of effective team working and how you can accelerate it!

By observing newly formed and existing teams playing business simulations I have learned some important insights into how team-working 'evolves' and offer here some specific ideas on how you might accelerate this evolution in your own organizational teams.

On the road to Effective Team Collaboration there seems to be two intermediate phases of 'naïve collaboration' which many teams seem to go through - Hyper-Communication and Over-Delegation.

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The Importance of Team Game Plans and RAPPORT

The Importance of Team Game Plans and RAPPORT

Team Game Plans are essential when your team is faced with a new and challenging task, such as a business simulation game. To formulate a Game Plan the team must quickly look at their goals and targets and then, based on a shared set of priorities, values, mental models and working practices, come up with a plan for achieving them.

The word 'RAPPORT' is an excellent mnemonic for remembering the 7 key elements of a great Team Game Plan as RAPPORT is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as: 'A close and harmonious relationship in which the groups concerned understand each other's feelings or ideas and communicate well.'

So to have RAPPORT in your team you need to quickly agree your team's:

ROLES
AGREEMENTS
PROCESSES
PRIORITIES
ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES
RESULTS
TARGETS

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