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Problem Solving in High-Performing Teams

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  • 0:02 A High-Performing Team
  • 1:04 A Problem
  • 1:32 Solving the Problem
  • 3:32 Conflicts
  • 5:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

In this lesson, you'll see how high-performing teams solve problems and learn what makes a good team member. You'll see how they work together and how they solve any personal differences they have with each other.

A High-Performing Team

Companies that want to create and introduce new and exciting technologies and products to the marketplace need high-performing teams to come together to solve problems. A high-performing team is a team composed of individuals who share a common vision and goal who challenge each other to accomplish great results. A high-performing team has individuals with different strengths. These different strengths work together to achieve the final goal of a great new product or technology.

Let's look into the fictional company, You-Tech Inc. You-Tech Inc. has always released the latest and greatest technologies and gadgets. Their latest release is a weather forecasting umbrella with waterproof fabric that changes patterns based on the weather. This umbrella beeps when the forecast is rain for the day. It only beeps when the owner gets near it. It doesn't beep if a stranger gets near it. People love this feature, as it reminds them to take their umbrellas with them as they leave if rain is forecasted for the day. This product was the result of the company's high-performing team getting together to come up with the idea and then figuring out how to make it.

A Problem

Now the company is at it again. It is working on a top secret product that will be released next month. With just one month to go, the high-performing team must finish the project and get it produced before the release date. The team has a problem to solve. The top secret product is a dog-walking robot. The product is halfway done. The robot is created, but now they need to figure out how to make the robot programmable so that the robot knows the route it should take and what to watch out for when it is taking the dog out for a walk.

Solving the Problem

One key characteristic of high-performing teams is that they all share one common vision and goal. Everybody on the You-Tech Inc. high-performing team knows that the ultimate goal is to finish the dog-walking robot and to get it produced before the release date next month. Everybody on the team works hard to reach this goal. Everybody shares the same high level of enthusiasm that drives them to work happily at this project until the very end. The meetings the team holds are all productive. No one is asleep or day-dreaming during these meetings. Everybody participates and all the meetings go by quickly. Each person on the team is responsible for his or her specific part of the project. There is no double work. Everyone knows and trusts all the other members that what they are doing is their best.

As you can see, as the weeks pass, the dog-walking robot is taking shape. The team tests the robot and sees that it's working as it should. It then moves to production, and now they have hundreds of robots ready for sale the day before the release date. Hooray!

Problem solving in high-performing teams is very systematic and very organized. There is one clear leader who communicates with all the various smaller teams. Each team is given its own task to complete. The team leader is the one that knows what the project needs and how much more is needed from each team. Once each team is given a task, the task is then divided further so that each team member is given a sub-task that focuses on his or her strengths.

For example, for the dog-walking robot, to finish the project, numerous parts and tasks need to be completed. To make the hands for example, the team needs to make each individual piece of the hand, then it needs to connect all these little pieces so they are able to move about like a real hand. Then it needs to make sure that all these connections are able to connect to the central computing system so the computer can tell the hands how to move. There are numerous parts, and each team member is given a task that each individual is good at. One team member might be given the task of connecting all the parts to the computer because she is good at this level of detail and difficulty.

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