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Reut Schwartz-Hebron
Reut Schwartz-Hebron
President and thought leader of KeyChange Institute ( Key Change Institute is a national organization that provides groundbreaking performance improvement and business execution consulting services rooted in brain science and experience-based learning.


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Dr. Seuss and Team Dynamics

Jan. 14, 2011 4:45 am
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In Horton Hatches the Egg, the amazing Dr. Seuss talks about the bird Mayzie who’s way too lazy to wait for its egg to hatch. The lazy bird asks Horton, the elephant, to take her place for just a little while… "you've nothing to do and I do need a rest. Would you like to sit on the egg in my nest?”

Well, the bird goes away for a long time as Horton sits on the egg through storms and bad weather. Horton holds on to his position, responsible and committed to his promise (and to the future of the egg): “I meant what I said and I said what I meant, an elephant’s faithful one hundred percent…”

The dynamics of controlling and the controlled are one example of compensating dynamics in teams; both sides need to play their role in order for the specific dance to take place. Sometimes these compensating dynamics are effective, but most of the time effectiveness and the interests of the organization pay the price for interpersonal relationships.

Client review: A few people in the QA department of a large medical technology corporation manipulated the rest of the team. The department was compensated for quantity of testing so the controlling individuals found a way to count other people’s quota as their own. This dynamic shifted the focus of the team from quality to arguing about the “ownership” of test quotas, which naturally damaged quality control.

“Everyone knew what was going on in the team. The problem is the team works at all hours, most of the time without supervision, so we needed other team members to take a stand and stop this bullying effect. Once the KCI Solution Assessment was taken by the leaders, the KCI process led to great results. People changed and as a result the dynamics changed.”

Team dynamics are the way they are because people are programmed a certain way through life experiences. It can be like dance partners trying to dance to two different tunes. Both may feel that their interpretation is the correct one, but ultimately it is the dance that suffers. Change their programming and you’ll give people more effective strategies to get exactly what they want, instead of being stuck in an unwieldy dance.

Do you know Hortons and Mayzies? Are there other compensating team dynamics where both sides are contributing to less than effective results in your organization? Wouldn't it be great to know exactly which strategies would resolve this two sided dynamic and allow both sides to cooperate effectively?

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