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First Ground Rule of Integrating Teams- Ask Questions

March 20, 2012

We live in a world of information, everyone claims to be well informed with surface information from the latest tweet or sound byte. With the fast pace of assimilation- new people being added to the mix at work, new teams being formed and new projects with new dynamics there is a tendency for people to move forward with assumption and without gathered information.

When you gather a room full of highly intelligent people with high ego, high track records of success and some who know each other and some who don’t there needs to be some agreed upon ground rules to ensure the meeting is highly productive and of high value to everyone.

First ground rule when working with new dynamics and new team members is to ‘ask questions’ before giving input or advice. If the team jumps right in to observation and advice without asking questions it is likely the person receiving the input will feel defensive, out of sorts and feel threatened. I see this when companies merge- there is the dominant group who has known each other for quite some time and there is an ‘understood’ and agreed upon culture and the expectation is that the people in the company that has been acquired are treated as if they should know all of the inside tactics and quite often this leads to conflict and division.

If you are on the team that holds the power it is important to acknowledge and respect the talent and experience that the team being integrated into the company brings to the table. If you are on the team that is new to the merger or acquisition it is vital that you recognize your feelings when you are feeling defensive or threatened.

The speed of change is so high now and the expectations for everyone to get on board quickly are as high. However it is crucial to take the time to understand the dynamics of the people, respect the talent and experience that each person brings and formalize agreed upon ground rules for interaction.

The most important ground rule- ask questions.

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