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World Class Teamwork

By Gerry Faust, Ph.D. President of Faust Management Corporation "Can you believe what that guy just said? Is it just me or is Ralph the biggest jerk you have ever seen?" It seems that no matter what we do there are always one or two of these "Ralphs" on our teams. You know who they are: those clever devils whose hard work or brilliant insights are matched only by their amazing ability to be unbelievably aggravating to work with. The obvious solution is to get rid of the "Ralphs." However, this tactic should be the last solution pursued for several reasons. First, Ralph can sometimes be the boss, so getting rid of him (or her) is more than difficult. Second, and more important, the team was put together for a specific reason, and Ralph may have a specialized expertise that is vital to its success. Business periodicals are full of examples where Ralph left the organization to go on and build a wildly successful new company pursuing the identical work he got fired for. Thus, the success of the project, team, the department, or even the entire organization can depend upon our collective ability to functionalize the contributions of these difficult people.

Four Roles of Management

Lets step back from Ralph for a moment. After studying literally hundreds of organizations and managers around the world over a 20year period, Dr. Ichak Adizes (How to Solve the Mismanagement Crisis, Adizes Institute, 1979) proposed that to be successful over time, an organization--whether it be a team, a department, a company or an entire country--must balance four basic roles. The first and foremost role of an organization is to Produce Results (P). All organizations were designed for a purpose. That purpose centers around producing certain results. This role causes the organization to focus on "what" it is supposed to be doing and constantly pressures for continuous progress towards this goal. When well executed, this role ensures that the organization will be effective over the short term. It is, however, not enough to just produce results. To be successful, organizations need to produce results efficiently and consistently. This is done through the second critical role, to Administer (A) the organization. This role has to do with getting things organized, systematized and under control. It focuses on "how" things are being done and pressures the organization to optimize the use of its limited resources. It ensures the efficiency and consistency of the organization over the short term. Organizations and people who are good at this role have two basic qualities. The administering role requires that we be (1) logical, systematic, thinkers, and (2) very meticulous, paying close attention to detail.

The world constantly changes, as do the needs of customers, the technologies we use, the competitors we face and the environments in which we operate. To keep ahead of these changes, an organization must also be constantly changing and adapting. The Entrepreneur (E) role is, thus, the third critical role of any organization. Entrepreneuring focuses the organization on looking forward, proactively adapting to future needs, opportunities and threats to ensure its long-term viability. Successful entrepreneuring requires that we are (1) creative and, (2) willing to take risks. The fourth critical role of management, to Integrate (I), focuses on developing teamwork, synergy and an overall sense of mission in the organization. This role allows a group of individuals to become an organization, a company, and a team. It also reduces the dependency of the organization on specific individuals. Organizations and people who are good at this role develop a sense of mutual interest and mutual trust. To be good at integrating, people must be sensitive to the needs of others and good listeners, facilitators, and communicators. If an organization (team, department, company, etc.) is successful at balancing these four roles, then it will be successful over time. The first two roles focus on what to do and how to do it in the short term. The second two roles focus us on what to do and how to manage over the long term. If any of these roles is missing or is underplayed the organization will be predictably mismanaged. We can build a very useful tool using the acronym spelled by the first four letters of the names of these four roles, PAEI. We can analyze organizations based on the relative strength or weakness in the critical roles. Because weaknesses in a given role result in predictable problems and strengths in predictable successes, a description of an organization in terms of its PAEI personality or culture can allow us to make inferences about organizations. For example, an organization that is strong in Producing and Entrepreneuring and low in Administering and Integrating could be described as a PaEi organization. PaEi organizations are results oriented, hard working and quick on their strategic feet. They can, and often do, change direction and may be a bit disorganized with few policies and systems and a lot of individual rather than team effort. We could give many other examples, but suffice it to say the PAEI language can be very helpful in discussing organizations. This is a high leverage management tool capable of providing significant insight into the analysis of a wide variety of critical aspects of any company such as its culture or organization structure, the desired emphasis for a certain job or the style of people we work with.

Now, Back to Ralph

The Adizes model of management roles has an analogue in the area of personality or work style. Just as you can describe organizations in terms of PAEI, you can also describe people. As individuals, we generally have some capability to fill each of these roles, but people have a tendency to be more capable in or to emphasize one or two of these four roles. This tendency gives each of us a very characteristic work style. It is this difference in emphasis that creates differences of perspective. If we are going to use the concept of work styles to

help us understand and work with people, we first have to learn how to recognize the work styles of others.

The Producer
The producer is driven. Producers want to succeed, to achieve and be admired for their efforts. Their work is their source of pride. They come in early, leave late, and work like crazy in between. They may leave the office late, but even then look at what they take with them. Their briefcase! (just in case they "need it"). By the way, they will carry that brief case back and forth even though they don't get around to opening it evening after evening after evening. The Producers workspace is often a mess. There is work everywhere. If you ask them, "How is it going? They will answer with an extended discourse on how busy they are and how much they have done. But, are they complaining? No, not really. They are bragging. They are pointing out how they live up to the "hard work" standard they set. Producers have a hard time delegating. Remember, delegating is giving away something they love and "need" -- work! When they get frustrated with others, they often "take the work away" from them. Often it appears that they find it more difficult to explain how to do a job than to do it themselves. If you come to them with a problem, don't expect advice; expect them to take over the task, even though you know and they know they are already over committed.

The Administrator
Administrators seek order and consistency. They like to manage "by the book" and they like things neat and organized. When asked to make decisions they are careful in their analysis, consider all the data and certainly don't want to make any errors. Entrepreneurs will accept mistakes to ensure they take advantage of all opportunities. Administrators will miss opportunities in order to prevent mistakes. It has been said that Administrators "would rather be precisely wrong than approximately correct." Being on time is often a commitment, a way of life, for Administrators. They arrive at work on time. They also leave on time. Even if the office is in a crisis, they will leave because it's 5:00. They have to leave then because they have other things scheduled and, of course, they must keep to their schedule. Administrators will delegate clearly with lots of detail. They follow through and follow through and follow through. If there is a policy they stick to it and, in fact, regularly add to the policy manual based on one-time events that indicate we are "out of control."

The Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are creative risk takers. They are not always (or even often) constrained by the limitations of reality. Entrepreneurs strongly believe the dictum "What can be thought can be achieved." Although the Entrepreneur may not know how. The Entrepreneur looks at what is and thinks about what could be. They certainly don't let data stand in the way of great thoughts, theories or even plans. They do not like details, or things or people who interfere with or throw cold water on great thoughts. Entrepreneurs appear to march to the beat of their own drummers. When do they come to work? Who knows? When do they follow up? Who knows? When do they call with an assignment or to share a brilliant insight? Who knows? The meetings of Entrepreneurs are spontaneous. "Everyone into the conference room; it's time for a meeting." And, their meetings keep you on the edge of your seat! In fact, you may not even get completely "sat" before the "big E" starts talking. They talk during meetings. They often think while, rather than before they speak. And then measure the success of a meeting by the number of new ideas they get. People who attend their meetings may have an exciting time but often wonder what was decided or what it was all about. The Entrepreneur uses ideas to shake up the organization. They think outside of the box and are seldom constrained by what is. They generally drive Administrators crazy!

The Integrator
The Integrator constantly tries to improve communication, facilitate meetings, encourage participation, create consensus and build the team. They are generally emphatic, communicative, good listeners, supportive and nurturing. They are constantly gathering input, and doing environmental impact studies. (How did that impact the people in the typing pool?) They like coming to work when everyone else does. They keep their doors open. They are prepared to listen for a long time to almost anything. They like meetings and group process. They may seem wishy-washy in their decision making because they want to be supportive of the ideas of others and like to stay flexible and keep their options open. They like to make decisions in a team environment. They drive Producers crazy!

Working Together
Recognizing a persons work style allows you to predict how they will react in specific situations and can help you decide how to manage, motivate, communicate with or sell to them. You can get clues to someone's work style the first time you meet them and often before they even open their mouths.

Look around the office. Producers decorate their office with work and symbols of achievement. The desk is messy and the shelves and walls hold trophies, awards and certificates. By contrast, Administrator's offices are neat and basic. There may be a few charts and graphs, a company handbook and a diploma or two. If you want an interesting experience look in an Administrators desk drawer. Often you can't because it's locked. But if you could, you would find the paper clips sorted in compartments by size and the rubber bands neatly bound together. Entrepreneurs surround themselves with abstract art, books on hundreds of topics (mostly unread), witty sayings and weird contraptions. Integrators prefer pictures of friends and the team from past company picnics or strategic planning sessions. You can also tell differences in style when you talk to people. If you ask Producers what time it is, they glance at their watch and growl, "9:50," and give you a look that says, "And how dare you interrupt me from what is clearly a very important task. How about Administrators? They will study their watches and say "9:53 and a half." If you ask Integrators, they'll say, "9:53, why are you asking?" (And before you know it, you are immersed into an extended conversation). If you ask Entrepreneurs, you can get two answers. A common response is that they don't know because they don't wear a watch. The other is "Oh, about 10:00." Entrepreneurs have a unique relationship with time that is very different than the other styles. You may want to remember this when you are working with "jerks" who habitually show up late to meetings. Why do Entrepreneurs often show up late? Simple, because they don't measure time by an external standard; their clock is inside. To an Entrepreneur it is time when it is time. This is what allows them to show up 20 minutes late for a meeting and say, "Okay I'm here, let's get going" and then be absolutely shocked when all the Producers, Administrators and Integrators who got there on time, go nuts. Each style represents both strengths and weaknesses. The Producer, for example, may force us to focus on results, will keep us on track and not let us forget why we're in the meeting. At the same time he or she may not see the long-term problems created by quickly defined solutions or be able to design the announcement so others will accept the decision. It's all right to see and even laugh at the idiosyncrasies of someone elses style as long as we recognize that we have our own style and probably offer lots of opportunities for laughter ourselves. But, it is even more important that we admit our weaknesses and search for the strengths in others. It is often the case that each person on a team or in a meeting has a different piece of the puzzle. Only by bringing our many different pieces to the table and acknowledging the value of other pieces can we ever hope to put the whole puzzle together. Integrating differences of perspectives will result in decisions of significantly higher quality than any single style could make on their own. This was an abstract of the article World Class Teamwork and the Challenge of Working with Difficult People by Dr. Faust and Clark Wigley. For the entire article, visit

Gerry Faust, Ph.D. is president of Faust Management Corp, a worldwide consulting firm specializing in creating methods, approaches, tools and systems that assist companies and their management teams to succeed. He recently co-founded Mentor U., an Internet-driven business mentoring Web site. Contact Dr. Faust at