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Valuable lessons about synergy are learnt from African animals

People's Dynamic Development, in conjunction with Organisational Diagnostics, has just conducted a study to investigate the performance of natural work teams in 150 South African organisations.

The focus was to identify problem areas that exist in teams and learn some valuable lessons from those that are successful.

"The good news is that there seem to be 10 common sets of problems facing teams," comments Niël Steinmann, head of People's Dynamic Development.

"The bad news is that these factors are affecting the majority of work teams in South Africa."

The problems in ranking order are:

  1. Lack of trust between team members and between team members and management.
    Creating it could be the greatest competitive advantage.
  2. Weak task leadership.
  3. Poor implementation - no follow through.
  4. No focus.
  5. Poor interpersonal skills.
  6. Lessons and mistakes not acknowledged or learned from
  7. Poor interpersonal chemistry.
  8. False commitments from team members.
  9. Re-inventing the wheel.
  10. Lack of management support.

Humans have a lot to learn about hunting

People's Dynamic Development is a training and development consultancy that provides innovative training solutions through African analogies.

Its team effectiveness programme, called Synergy, focuses on learning what one can take from animals that live in herds, prides and packs. These are the animals which are used as models for the principles of Synergy:

  • Lion: rituals to strengthen the pack.
  • Cheetah: dedication of individual strengths.
  • Hyena: a trusting relationship.
  • Wild dog; sense-of purpose.
  • Elephant team maintenance.
  • Zebra: territorial harmony.

"It is interesting that from our national survey we as humans seem to have a lot to learn about hunting successfully," concludes Steinmann.

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