Team breakthroughs require a combination of skill and expertise,  constructive interpersonal behaviour and rational thinking.

The size of your breakthrough depends on the quality of the decision, multiplied by the degree to which the decision is accepted by those who must implement it.  Quality and Acceptance are brought about through consensus decision-making.

Skill and expertise of participants:

Before a Team can develop a breakthrough solution, it must have people who have knowledge and intuition about the problem at hand. Usually, it is the people who are closest to the problem that will have the necessary knowledge, intuition and experience.

Once you have the right people (or access to them), a breakthrough relies on them achieving consensus.  True consensus decision-making requires constructive interpersonal behaviour amongst the participants and rational thinking processes.

Constructive inter-personal behaviour:

How a team of people behave toward each other will determine the level of synergy between them.  The higher the synergy, the more likely the team will achieve consensus and deliver a breakthrough result.

There are many ways to teach a team the skills required for constructive interpersonal behaviour.  Workshops usually involve training in listening skills, how to support each other, how to differ from others and the keys to participation.

However, in adult learning, the most effective way to teach constructive interpersonal behaviour is through experiential learning rather than training.  A combination of two types of tools can create that experience.  The first is through fun simulations, where many external variables that typically impact team dynamics can be controlled.  The second is using a behavioural assessment that enables the team to see for themselves the styles or patterns of behaviour that they adopt when trying to solve problems.

Once a team understands the behaviour styles, they are in a position to identify, initiate and implement changes to improve the amount of constructive inter-personal behaviour and synergy that occurs.  Note: Facilitating a team to develop a plan to improve their interpersonal behaviours is an excellent means to introduce systems thinking.

Rational Thinking

Rational thinking helps to translate people’s intuition into a format that can be discussed rationally, questioned without offence, and modified to more fully reflect the understanding of the situation. Logical “thinking tools” help with that. They can be used in standalone situations, or together they can form a coherent problem-solving and change management system.

They also facilitate communication, collaboration, and consensus among those involved in its resolution.  This is perfect for bringing a group to consensus and breakthrough solutions.

Interest-Based Problem-Solving (IBPS) and the Theory of Constraints Thinking Processes (TOC TP) are both forms of systems thinking I use.  Together, they are learnable and repeatable ways for teams to solve complex problems within a team setting efficiently.

With practice and experience, teams can apply these methodologies and find breakthroughs by themselves without the need for external facilitation.  This means constant breakthroughs in performance.

In summary:

In summary, if your team shares their knowledge through constructive interpersonal behaviour and applies systems thinking to their problem solving, they will achieve a consensus that ensures both the quality and the acceptance of a solution.  That also means fast implementation.

This is a recipe for breakthrough results!

“Air New Zealand is working towards being a more collaborative workplace. As part of this change a number of steering groups have been put in place with multiple (union/employee/employer) team members, and a number of new ways to problem solve issues have been introduced. One of these is an interest-based problem-solving technique.

Karl was engaged to provide facilitation to enable stakeholders to work through an employment issue that had been around for some time. There are a limited number of facilitators endorsed to provide assistance with collaborative problem solving within Air New Zealand. Karl brought to the table a range of frameworks and methodologies to tussle with the issue, managed the inputs and interests of the stakeholders, resulting in a successful outcome. I would confidently re-engage Karl in the future for his facilitation abilities.”

Sarah Williamson – Group General Manager Business Performance