Managing Innovation and Change in Teams

Managing Innovation and Change in Teams
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Teams consist of unique individuals who have to learn to work together as a single unit. The members of a team often have to go through a difficult period of adjustment before the team start performing to its optimal level. Strong leadership and management are needed to enhance the effectiveness of teams.

Each team is different. Teams can be divided into five categories:

1)      Informal Teams: More likely to be friendly associations that work together.

2)      Traditional Teams: Assigned teams with a clear leadership structure.

3)      Leadership Teams: Teams made up of people in authority such as councils and committees.

4)      Virtual Teams: Teams that meet virtually because the team is comprised of members who do not work in the same geographic locations.

Effective teams share certain characteristics:

  • Effective teams have clear goals and direction.
  • Effective teams know and understand what is expected of them.
  • The members of an effective team are qualified to complete their assignments.
  • Effective teams have procedures that are clear and relevant.
  • The members of an effective team work together and respect the diversity of the team.
  • In an effective team, the projects are the responsibility of the whole team.
  • Effective teams have strong external relationships.

Innovation is an important part of a team’s survival. Team members should be looking at different methods that improve the way work is performed in the team. Innovation usually means change and people naturally resist change. While team leaders need to encourage innovation they also need to manage the change that comes with it.

Related: Resilience Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Organizational Innovation Process

Organizational innovation is used to improve a process, product, service, technology or administrative practice. The following is a process that will help support organizational innovation:

  • Identify Opportunities
  • Determine Direction
  • Brainstorm Ideas
  • Analyze Ideas
  • Apply Innovations

The Importance of Innovation

Innovation allows a team to advance and remain competitive. The team leader should aim to create an atmosphere of acceptance toward innovation. Allow and encourage team members to think outside normal parameters, experiment and discover new ideas. The team leader should also pass on innovative ideas to the team and ensure that new concepts are accepted.

Managing Innovation

In order to successfully manage innovation in their teams, team leaders need to be aware of innovation. The following are steps a team leader can take to help support innovation in their team:

  • Team leaders should identify and build creative teams.
  • Team leaders must encourage team members to take risks and work across fields
  • Teams must be monitored for the success.
  • Team leaders must create strategies to apply any helpful innovations.
  • Team leaders must evaluate the effectiveness of the innovations and make changes as necessary.

Organizational Change

Organizational change is any change to the way that a team operates. These changes are often result of innovation and are made to help the team reach its goals. Changes should never be made for the sake of change itself. Team members tend to be resistant to change, making the management of change an essential part of a successful team.

The reasons why change occurs varies, it can be due to growth, cutbacks, technological changes or changes in leadership. It is essential that team leaders successfully guide their teams through transitions. Often when changes have been unsuccessful it has been due to poor implementation and management rather than the change itself.

Managing Change

It is crucial that the change process is responsibly overseen by the team leader. The team needs to understand the reasons for the change. The team is more likely to embrace the changes if the members are aware of how they relate to the goals of the organization.

The process of change management:

  • Share how the change is essential for success and how it relates to the company’s overall goals and mission.
  • Communicate the changes in details and respect the different points of view.
  • Involve all the team members in the process and encourage them to be responsible for the organizational changes.
  • Clearly outline the roles, responsibilities and expectations of each team.

 

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