Teamwork : What chickens have taught us!

Select the best candidates, put them together and you have a super teamwork! True? Perhaps, but the equation is not that simple, especially if one looks at the recent results of a study on the issue, one that included chickens.

Focusing on the notion of productivity, William Muir, a scientist at Purdue University in the United States, decided to conduct a little experiment. He brought a group of chickens together and observed them for six generations. He then selected the best performing chickens and created a sub-group of ‘super chickens.’ The result? Over time, the average group is in top physical condition and continues to produce a good amount of eggs. As for the ‘super chickens’ group, they are almost all dead, having killed each other. Several companies rely on the model of competition and performance to build their teams, which, as research clearly demonstrates, can be a big mistake.

Here are some strategies to put in place for the ultimate group!

The diversity of individuals. Homogeneity that does not compromise the diversity or individualism of each member is what makes a strong group. A difference in personalities in addition to various working and living experiences will contribute to a more creative and inspiring environment. For example, if certain people naturally seek power and leadership, others much prefer the roles of research and writing. We must therefore consider all these factors when forming a team. Even conflicts between colleagues may lead to great ideas and alternative solutions! We must therefore build on complementarity as well as seek diversity in backgrounds.

Clearly defined roles. Defining roles and objectives, whether individually or in groups, is the key to effective teamwork management. Developing a group policy helps to reduce confusion and motivates workers to achieve goals. Without objectives, less proactive teamwork members may feel resentful of those who they feel work harder, which can lead to serious conflicts.

Reduced teams. Teamwork management experts each have their own idea of the perfect number of people in a team. Although there is no consensus, most agree that a figure between 4 and 9 is best. By adding members to a team, it may enhance performance but at the risk of conflict and inefficiency.

Good communication strategy. Whether through daily or weekly meetings, or through written reports distributed to all team members, a strong team requires a transparent and effective communication strategy. Employees must be comfortable to communicate among themselves but also with superiors in case of problems.

Even record producers will tell you that the biggest superstars in music, which can be thought of as the ‘super chickens’, last much less time in the industry than those artists who know how to surround themselves well and seek the best in each member of the team, creating positive and lasting results!

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