Wednesday, October 31, 2007

When It Is Good To Work Individually

There are times when groups may not be as useful as others. It is important to know about that as well. So let’s look at some of these circumstances.

When you have limited time, it may not be a good idea to use a group. As you have already discovered when your plans involve you and several others there is always a problem of coordination and time. When you are worried about a decision and it must be made quickly you’re pretty much stuck with you and if you’re lucky someone you are with who is informed. That isn’t the same as quick decisions are better. Often they are not better. Keep in mind that there are many situations that call for a decision made quickly to avoid disaster. Later, upon reflection you may think of several other possibilities than the one you chose. Put another way, whenever possible anticipate and plan ahead. Avoid backing into situations that call for quick decisions.

When an expert already has the answer, why would you call a meeting to find the answer? Contact the expert and ask for the answer. The suggestion here is simple: the better you are connected and/or networked the more likely you can rely on an expert. Becoming connected is a communication process and it is never too early and seldom to late to build a network of folk you may need in the future. We need each other and often we need experts.

When the information is quickly available from research resources it may not be necessary to tie up a group’s time. Often what we learn in classes tells us where to look for information and we sometimes think that education requires us to remember information. What you remember as being important in life may now have several different answers rather than the one you recall. It may very well be more important to know where and how to look for information than it is to attempt to stay current with all the things you learned in college.

When conflict and tension in a group are unmanageable, at least within the time frame you have to work it may be best to work individually. As long as human beings have the ability to not work toward conflict reduction there is always the possibility that they will fight rather than switch. By the time you persuade them to set aside their conflict it may be too late for an effective decision.

In no way am I suggesting that the standard processes for enhancing groups and their performance is not important. I am suggesting that when we work with people who have the right to make their own choices and they may not choose the way you would like then we should recall that there are times when it is good to work individually.

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