Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Favorite comments of '13, cont: David Foster

On Is lack of sociability the biggest problem for workplace collaboration?

David Foster said...
I suspect that what "educators" have in mind when they talk about "group work" is something quite different from what exists and will exist in most real-life organizations.

Consider the work that is now going on at Boeing, their Japanese battery manufacturer, and the FAA. It involves collaboration among engineers of various kinds, lawyers, test pilots, software experts, government regulators, and finance people, just to name a few.

How relevant are the kind of "group-work" skills that the educators have in mind to this kind of real-world example? Things I have observed that inhibit group collaboration in real life:

1)Toxic political behavior, often perpetrated by people who are not nearly as good at politics as they think they are and who wind up doing themselves (as well as the organization) great harm.

2)Inability to clearly express oneself orally and in writing.

3)A brittle "self-esteem" that cannot withstand criticism or even challenge.

4)People who are so concerned with keeping everything "nice" that they inhibit important debates that need to occur. (I once observed this behavior from a jury forewoman)

5)Lack of sense of humor

6)Social cluelessness about power and influence relationsips

7)Lack of respect for people whose jobs are different from one's own.

8)In leaders: overcontrolling and micro-managing behavior.

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