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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If you are working and living in Vietnam as an expatriate expert, please try not to be shocked when…
People are two hours late!
Many Vietnamese are late for meetings, appointments, schedule, get-togethers, especially weddings. It’s very usual that you receive a wedding invitation at 5pm, and it only starts after 7pm. While being late for work activities is absolutely not good, I may explain the case of the wedding. Weddings, more than an official announcement ritual, are chances for relatives of the couple’s large families to meet with and get updated about others. Poverty, digital divide, telecommunication constraints have made communication so hard that these chance are precious. If it happens that you arrive at exact 5pm, spend the time gossiping with other people – you already knew Vietnamese are friendly. On the positive side, enjoy the slow pace of life in this tropical country!
Fortunately, more and more Vietnamese people practice the basic etiquette of punctuality.
People ride their bikes like flying mosquitoes!
I’m serious here. 13,000 people are reported fatal victims of traffic accidents annually. Please be very careful with traffic. Don’t go on motor-taxi if the rider is not trusted. Moreover, buses might not be as safe and comfortable like in more developed countries, but it’s still safe enough to travel by.
You go out with your workmates and they hand you the bill.
It is Vietnamese culture that the seniority pays the bill. Vietnamese peers also take turn paying the bills for coffee shops or light break. FYI, more Vietnamese go Dutch. If you’re not sure, just ask – and simply be prepared for most cases.
Shopkeepers charge you your arm and leg
Remember to bargain! One third of the proposed price is reasonable. Also, go with a Vietnamese friend, or go shopping in supermarkets.
People eat ‘gross’ food…
…like pig skin, chicken claw, kidneys, small intestine, insects, or reptiles. Even ‘nuoc mam’ (fish sauce), mam (salted fish), durian taste horrible.
Also, many Vietnamese share the same bowl of soup and the same dish of sauce.
It’s natural in this country. If you’re not comfortable, speak it out so your co-workers know how to order more familiar food and a separate dish of sauce for you.
People find it hard to say ‘No’
Most of the time the reply to your questions with negative element like “This isn’t correct, is it?” is the pleasant “Yes”. While in English language, the ‘Yes’ answer means that the information being communicated is correct, it is different in Vietnamese language. When Vietnamese say “Yes”, it can be literally translated to English as “Yes, I agree with what you say”. Linguistics researchers point out that the root of the difference lies in the fact that Vietnamese language is more human-focused, and English language might be more information-focused.
It’s observable that a few Vietnamese respond the same way English normally do.
When you’re aware of this, please select the best way of speaking that allows you to have the answer you expect.
People avoid losing face
This can be sensitive. Please take any tactical steps to overcome the glitch in communication in order not to make any unnecessary cultural shock to both sides.
People tend to overuse English words in their conversation
Especially in the workplace of foreign-owned sector. The only reason is that many terms have not had the corresponding Vietnamese word. It’s not something to make a fuss over, as long as we find it convenient for our works.
(to be continued…)
I love the new Vista fonts. They’re round-corner, which provide easy on-screen reading, and are strong enough to ease off the eyes. I have been using them ever since. My favorite is the strong, formal, flexible Constantia.
It’s a pity that these fonts haven’t supported 1258 yet.