Game theory describes situations where multiple players make decisions in an attempt to maximize their returns.
A Schelling point (also called focal point) is a solution that people will tend to use in the absence of communication, because it seems natural, special or relevant to them.
Consider a simple example: two people unable to communicate with each other are each shown a panel of four squares and asked to select one; if and only if they both select the same one, they will each receive a prize. Three of the squares are blue and one is red. Assuming they each know nothing about the other player, but that they each do want to win the prize, then they will, reasonably, both choose the red square. Of course, the red square is not in a sense a better square; they could win by both choosing any square. And it is the “right” square to select only if a player can be sure that the other player has selected it; but by hypothesis neither can. It is the most salient, the most notable square, though, and lacking any other one most people will choose it, and this will in fact (often) work.
My version of Schelling point
A classic question was asked: “You will meet someone. Who will you meet, at where, an when?”. I sent the question via an Instant Messenger.
I shall announce my results when more replies have been received.
What’s your answer to the above question?
1. To you, what is team effectiveness? And why should we work in team rather than individually to some extent?
- Quality of output
- Sustainable development of team
- Organizational values
- Knowledge management
- Balance of different factors as expected by different parties
Why work in teams
- To solve problems that exceeds one person’s capability
- To learn from different people
- For networking
2. When we establish a team, what should we consider to be the most important things?
- Defining, communicating and having all participants agreed on Vision
- Having the right people doing the right jobs
3. Do you like to work with Homogeneous or Heterogeneous team? And Why?
(_ Homogeneous team: Are composed of members with the same gender, age, race etc. Members share the common knowledge and skills. Cohesive, less conflict
_ Heterogeneous team: Are composed of members with different gender, age, race etc. Members have a wide range of knowledge and skills. Less cohesive, more conflict)
- Less prone to conflict
- Easier empathy
- Relationship more quickly built
- Requires less training on communication
- Brings in-depth networks to the team/organization
- Less different points of view
When to apply
- Deadline is tight. Required to finish known tasks quickly
When to avoid
- Tasks required innovation
- Customer is from a different background of the majority of the team
- More ideas
- Promising more resources when researching
- Variety in evaluating the products
- Brings wider networking opportunities to the team/organization
- Cost for cultural / communication training
- Cost for conflict management
When to apply
- Tasks require innovation
When to avoid
- Deadline is tight
4. Do you avoid conflict or eager to meet it? Is conflict needed for team development? In this case, how is the role of the team leader?
Conflict is inevitable and avoidance is not advised.
On the positive side, conflict is needed for team development, as it makes way for:
- Evaluating objectives, working environment, standards, process, working attitudes, compensation
- Team empathy
- Alerting of unbalance in management
The role of a leader in conflict management is to
- Anticipate possible conflicts
- Define process for conflict management
- Communicate frequently to members on objectives, works and personal issues
- Facilitate conflict management as early as it is known
- Escalate to higher management (if any) – or seek help from more experienced people – if conflict resolution is beyond one’s ability
- Take responsibility to higher management (if any) if unsolved conflicts affect productivity
5. What do you think about “task interdependent”?
Task interdependence is more and more common as organizations continue to develop. There are some points one should be prepared for:
- Understand organizational behavior theory
- Practice teamwork
- Continue self-improvement
- Share knowledge and experience so other people can perform better, which in turn accelerates one’s job
6. Can you suggest how we can make team work efficiently and maintain its high performance? (About reward, communication, structure, leadership, etc)
From team members
- Maintain positive attitude
- Find pleasure in work
- Practice lifelong learning in profession knowledge, from other people, and in teamwork
- Be honest and open about needs and issues
From middle managers
- Improve management skills. Know when to do what to whom
- Prioritize tasks effectively
- Balance between goals and members’ needs
- Encourage open communication
- Create opportunities for team members
- Communicate vision, values and expectation to the organization
- Continually process and compensation systems
7. Any differences between studying-purpose team and working-purpose team?
- A student group’s leader has no real ‘power’ to enforce members to do their tasks. They have to perform this with the help of lecturers
- College groups have less chance to experience diversity
- Tasks assigned to college groups are under many assumptions, while real tasks in the industry require a greater variety
8. Can you share some of your experience (some problems and solutions) you have met as a CM of Business Club while working in a team?
- Problem: no power to enforce members to do their tasks.
Solution: have backup plan when assigning tasks, be ready to do others’ tasks
- I am the youngest in my team and it’s hard to build trust in the position of a leader.
Solution: prove myself by quality of work and commitment
- Problem: work with people with ego, who will do well if their ego is satisfied
Solution: satisfy their ego, while balancing many factors
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