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Groups & Teams

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Groups and Teams

Group and Teams

Alexander Dumas in his book The Three Musketeers wrote: "All for one. And one for all." This philosophy is what high-performance teams is all about. It is better to belong to a group or team when an organization needs to organize a major event. I was involved in a special team project at my organization to plan a parent involvement retreat with other community liaison in my school district. This essay will examine the teams' cultural diversity and demographic characteristics in impacting the goal or outcome.

The Project

I belong to a public school district and one of my responsibilities is to increase parental involvement in my elementary school. I was assigned to a special task force of many community liaisons in my area in East Dallas to plan a parent retreat. The team consisted of eight liaisons in my area. The project was to come up with a timeline, assignments of duties, and goals for this parent involvement event. The team decided we had to partner with the director of parental involvement to assist us in evaluating what topics needed to be presented for the workshops according to the parent survey data he had on our area schools.

Effective teamwork equals successful school improvement. There was a cross-function in our team with a diverse mix of players that brought in their expertise and collaborated in a professional manner. What made the group a high-performance team was its diversity. According to Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn "membership diversity offers a rich pool of information, talent, and varied perspectives' that can help in the improvement of solving problems and increase its creativity (2005, Chapter 10, pg. 8). We had all worked together at different projects throughout the years in the school district and knew each others talents and also who will lead this project.

Characteristics of the Team

In his book, The Key to Continuous School Improvement, Mike Schmoker points out that "schools would perform better if teachers worked in focused, supportive teams" (1999, p. 10). Schmoker notes that when teachers work and teach in isolation, learning through collegiality does not take place. The type of demographic characteristics that will be explored in this team is occupation, personality traits, and differences in skills and abilities The majority of occupations in the team were of community liaisons except for the director of parent involvement.

Our goal was to have parents attend the parent retreat to listen to workshops that will foster motivated parents to be involved in our schools. It was a very good idea to have the community liaisons of the area schools become a team to effectively organize this event. The team's personality traits were that of very social, motivated, and creative individuals. They were all leaders in their parent involvement component in their schools. It took a great deal of collaboration and the meetings were very efficiently conducted. All the team players were all experienced in planning parent retreats. The 'Firo-B' Theory suggests that groups with many different personalities are more likely to be more effective to foster creativity and diverse collaboration and ideas. It also suggests that if there are too many strong personalities that the group will only focus on interpersonal conflicts instead of accomplishing the task at hand. (Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn, 2005, Chapter 9, pg. 13).

There were members of the team that were expertise in facilitating meetings, others in presenting parent workshops in PowerPoint, others in planning the logistics, others in recruitment and others in resources for door prizes. All these were components of what is needed to plan such events. As noted, technology plays a major role in how teams are high-performing. Many of the communication tools were that of emails, PowerPoint presentations, flyers and maps created in Microsoft Publisher format. Technical expertise is a key to highly effective teams because they have the ability to link team members to communicate effectively to themselves and the parents. Technology is used to get the job done fast and efficiently according to Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn (2005,

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