Chapter 9: Building and Leading Teams: Producing Conversations For Managing Commitments

This essay was originally named “Building and Leading Teams” only.  This essay was recently rewritten for Pluralistic Networks, with the theme of “producing conversations for managing commitments” coming to the forefront in discussions between Maria, Javiera, and Gloria Flores.

Building and leading teams are considered essential skills for effective managers.
The large number of courses, seminars, work shops and retreats offered to develop these competences demonstrate the importance of teams to the business community. At the same time, the demand for such programs, and their abundant variety, indicate that real competence in building and leading teams is uncommon, and there isn't a generally accepted way to teach it. The lack of competence in building and leading teams and lack of agreement about how to arrive at competence comes from a short-coming in our common sense understanding of teams. Common sense tells us that a team is a group of individuals interacting to achieve particular objectives. Our principal concern with this understanding is that it does not allow us to gain competence in building and leading effective teams because it fails to take into account how teams are effectively constituted and maintained. We have met many managers who are resigned to never becoming leaders of an effective team. In these notes we will propose an outline for a new understanding of what a team is. This will open the possibility of designing and leading teams as a domain of permanent learning and innovation.


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