NESTLÉ CENTRAL AND WEST AFRICA
Nestlé is the world largest foods and beverage company that has over 2000 brands classifying from global icons to local liked, which is also currently in 191 countries around the world. The company become Nestlé Ghana limited in 1987 and its headquarters is located in Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Branches are found in other regions of the country. Its product include Ideal Milk, Milo, Carnation Milk, Cerelac, Nescafé 3 in 1, Nido and Lactogen. Its key competitors are Unilever, Cadbury Schweppes Ghana Ltd, NABB Brothers and Cocoa Processing Company. The customer segments are the demographic (Cerelac, Nido and Lactogen) which are targeted for new born babies and children of different ages and the psychographic (which is about the Nescafe 3 in 1 where coffee, sugar and milk are mixed already for taste) which is for those who are really engaged in activity and do not have enough time.
A project team is when individuals from different departments are drawn together to perform a task and then disbanded after the task has been completed. The size of the team is about 10 members.
A) ADDRESSING A CHALLENGE FACED BY THE PROJECT TEAM IN NESTLÉ
Groupthink is defined by Irving (1972) as “metal efficiency, reality testing and moral judgment”. (p.9). Groupthink is a psychological occurrence that happens among a group or a team in which the desire of harmony results in an irrational decision-making outcome. Here individuals avoid talking or coming out with controversial problems or good solutions to problems which leads to the loss of their creativity and independent thinking. Due to this, conflicts are minimized by members to try to reach an agreement or decision without good evaluation of others viewpoints. Groupthink prevents good planning, good communication as critical thinking is impaired with bias decision being made.
The three antecedent of groupthink are high group cohesiveness, structural faults and situational context. High group cohesiveness is the main factors that heads or direct to groupthink. A team which do not come together to work may lead to making bad decisions, due to members not speaking out against some decisions to avoid misunderstanding among them, and rather work towards keeping friendship in the group. Freedom of expression may be hindered just for group cohesiveness. Structural faults is when communication or information is in disorder. A detach of a team may lead to faulty solution of a situation due to part or the members are not involved on issues the group is dealing with. Situational context is whereby much focus is given to positive consequences and minimizing the possible negative consequences. This leads to quick decision with little or no good discussion about the decision and more likely to make errors and also low quality and accuracy.
For the improvement of the team, groupthink must be neutralized. Groupthink examples can be referred in politics, policies as well as business decisions. For example, the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, the Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba and the Enron-Arthur Anderson Scandal could have been prevented if groupthink was minimized. Solutions to groupthink can be avoiding criticizing of other members’ ideas in order to foster open discussion and encouragement of team contribution. A leader must lay low since his opinion carries more weight than others in the group and rather evaluate the decisions that the team proposes. A member should be assigned to play the “devils advocator” or “critical evaluator”. Different person can take that position at every meeting and this will allow members to freely air their doubts and objections. The team leader can manage a groupthink if it is anticipated in risk plan. The risk plan may help to take steps to mitigate and cut its impact on the team.
B) ESTABLISHING EFFECTIVE WORKING
Heathfield (2018) explained that being part of a team in a sense, is as a result of feeling part of something bigger than yourself. There must be understanding of the objective or mission of the organization to contribute to its success. To get things done in an organization, getting independently talented people will not only avail creativity but also their loyalty, performance and their engagement in improving of their task set for them.
There must be a clear common goals shared among the team members to coordinate and cooperate with others which can be of long term to generate certain amount of profit over the course of the year. Project team roles and responsibilities must have the right mix of skills with qualifications to successfully execute any project work. This will lead to individual satisfaction too. Members should have a clear purpose and the need of the team as to why the activity is essential, this may increase a personal interest and regain motivation. Technology helps in speed of service, communication and research across locations and time zones. Offshoring helps access variety of skills, improvement of quality, cost efficiency and relationship building. Outsourcing helps get experts who are capable of doing the work perfectly, which is fast and or high quality increasing productivity. Clear allocation of work with clear timelines of completing tasks helps team to function fast and attain its main priorities. Likert (1967) explained that management will have to use its potentials of its human resources as at when each person in the organization is a number or one or more effective work groups that have a high degree of group loyalty, effective skills of interaction, and high performance goals. An attitude which is more of understanding and supporting of team effort and innovation must be in an environment conducive to team working. Such characteristics of these dedication and cohesiveness of the team can lead to a productive project team working.
i) HOW COLLABORATIVE WORKING CAN BE PROMOTED IN THE PROJECT TEAM
Achieving a common goal requires the combination of individual’s talent to bring its idea to success. Tackling a major project work in Nestle requires diverse teams of highly qualified and educated persons, convened quickly to work together virtually to collaborate with others and with different locations and time zone.
For conflicts to be managed firstly, getting to know each other helps to know individual personality. Tuckman and Jenson (In 1977) introduced a model of team development whereas at the initial stage which is forming, brings individuals together who create a good impression and best behavior to get to know each other well. Storming is as a result of the stage of conflict whereby they assert themselves, share opinions, agree and disagree. Norming is when guidelines are established, behaviours are being accepted by planning and cooperating. Performing is when members begin to work effectively together as a team. As individuals get along with each other, there will be a collaborative working as they aim to achieve a common goal.
Secondly, there should be a clear defined goals with responsibilities, timelines and accountability. A clear defined and measurable goals should be set to keep team members aligned with the objectives of the team. This must be ensured so that roles and responsibilities of the members accountable to help assist them on the aim of the team. Individuals are expected to deliver on time as that will help reach performance goals.
Thirdly, a project move from one stage to the other, more and regular communications in addition to meetings are essential as it will help improve on collaboration to bring the objective into a reality. Communication can be face to face or virtual which takes place in different zones. Information must be enough and current for easy accomplishment of goals. Whereas some communication can be in a written form, it must be expressed in a way that can be easily understood with the right command words.
Lastly, the use of technology can help to overcome the difficulties of diverse location and time zones. As it aids information sharing, barriers of time and geography has been removed. Meetings can take place regardless of where others are around the world, this has opened the doors of tele-conferencing and video-conferencing making communication and sharing of ideas easier which has contribute to creativity, development and innovation of the team.
Recommendations to increase collaboration between project team and other teams in the organization
A complex business like Nestle is made up of many specialists for all teams, where they come together in spirit of cooperation to get things done.
Promoting meetings between department heads make something positive happen. This is when they meet up face to face, thinking and brainstorming all together to solve problems, celebrate and take collective responsibility to make collaboration a way of life at work. This will foster creativity and innovation and also help in cross-functional accountability which further promote the culture of collaboration.
People with collaborative behavior should be recognized, rewarded and celebrated. Having the ability to share knowledge and expertise easily and quickly brings out innovation which later leads to profitability and also employee engagement and satisfaction. Rewards should be given to keep up the hardwork of collaborating.
Friendship must be encouraged to collaborate and give a critical feedback to each other. Diverse furniture and space among all teams create more interaction around the office, more energy and likely that individuals can come up with the next great idea for the organization. Other teams can connect using video conferencing to help collaborate and cooperate. This may build personal connections without wasting time and energy of moving from one place to the other. Himmelman (1992) explained that collaboration is a relationship in which each organization wants to help its partners become the best that they can be. Seeing face to face on-screen helps build friendship. Social network use can help share knowledge and expertise effectively and efficiently across the organization as it foster relationships among teams and connects with management.
With the expectation of problems and disagreements, there should be patience. There may be setbacks and upsets but should be seen as part of the process to grow. Making time to listen to other team’s view of concerns and trying to resolve them will lead to coming together to work to achieve wonderful results.
PRACTICAL WAYS A TEAM SHOULD BE MANAGED TO ACHIEVE TEAM OBJECTIVES
Teams are expected to work together collaboratively, either close or from distance to tackle issues using knowledge, skills and experiences to achieve performance goals and organizational aims. For success to be achieved, there are ways to implement that.
Clear objectives should be set. The critical component of any team’s effectiveness is to define and identify the team’s overall objective which will allow members to understand the exact goal. Having a stated objective gives a clear picture of what is expected to achieve. Distributing task and responsibilities with an agreed timelines will help develop and measure progress. Individuals and the team performance should be monitored and assessed which will involve encouraging and evaluating on their performance with a clear and agreed criteria.
Communicating openly with team members and discussing of difficulties such as the way work is being done or performance of each individual in a team may result in team effectiveness of achieving its objective. Individuals with experience can provide mentorship to those who are new to the team. Collaborating with others on improving of the team’s capability with the help of coaching can result in higher performance. A leader should be flexible at allowing others to lead, to build and develop on their skills.
Build positive working relationships not only at professional level but personal level too. This can build a much rapport among individuals in a team if effort is put on getting to know a bit more about each other. This will help know how to approach, behave or react towards the person in order to stay in positive working relationship. Also to achieve team objectives, its members must be qualified with the right range of skills, knowledge and experience for the team to be productive. This will be the strength of the team as they are valued with what they can contribute to the team. Teams should develop working techniques such as procedures, methods and rules in a more efficient and effective way with a consistent preservation of those qualities associated with the team. This will help in decision making, problem solving and coping with anything that may get in the way of progress.
Another way a team should be manage is to be committed to that success and each other. Members should show their membership and the sharing of goals, willing to invest energy in the interest of the team by getting on well with others. Members are encouraged to come up with ideas, taking risks, questioning the team and its tasks or activities without any fear or disapproval. Team members should also learn from their past mistakes and success in order to improve and develop themselves on the new objectives. Constructive criticism based or logic helps team and its members to grow in competence.
The use of visual aids drawings can show the progress of the team towards its goals which can be used for a long term or a short term project. Showing in conference room may serve as a reminder always, keeping team members on the path as they continue with their work.
A team may be in manufacturing or production where eliminating of waste with best of practices of standardization, analyzing and synthesizes workflow is important. This is about labour productivity. Taylor (1917) came up with an approach of scientific management whereby work tasks are broken down into different parts as they perform repetitive task of production process. He continues to explain that for a team to achieve its objectives, labour should be given time to rest to recover from fatigue and by doing that productivity will increase as a result. He acknowledged that if individuals in a team are compensated in accordance of their output, productivity may go up.
Adair (1997) acknowledges that a team requires a clear goal and purpose related to efficient use of resources with a good communication. He emphasized that, there are some functions that when a team is managed in that way, it could achieve its objectives. He explained that a team having a clear objective, developing a plan and communicating on how it should be achieved is by organizing and assigning tasks, supervising and coaching of efficient use of resources. Evaluating on progress and setting of expectation by enforcing standards could lead to achieving of objectives.
Finally, regular reviews help to manage accountability by meeting regularly, updating on any information for a clear understanding among the team.
REASONS WHY TEAM-WORKING MIGHT BREAKDOWN IN NESTLE ORGANIZATION
It is accepted that team-working is far better than individual working because teams perform better, yet they face obstacles in working well. Broken and ineffective teams can be seen in organizations as they get stuck and seem impossible of working together in harmony.
Lack of clarity which are unclear responsibilities and roles that end up in not taking action. This is when everyone expects the other team member to be taking on with tasks while this team member also expects someone else to be taking responsibility of that. This can lead to disunity as individuals do not know what other contributes to the overall task of the team. It may look like individuals are not contributing enough or nothing is happening at all which might lead to misunderstanding in the team. Others think they are working harder and better than others which later turns to frustration of doing everything. Lack of clear path may consume time as members meetings and processes may take long to proceed.
Lack of leadership can also be a reason of team breakdown. A leader is to set expectations and keep the group focused on its goals. He provides positive reinforcement to keep everyone motivated, he should set clear standards, being fair and creates positive environment within the team. When a leader is not able to show these style, it will be difficult to progress.
Disruptive personalities can be a reason of team breakdown. This is when some members of the team show some manner of behaviours which are not in accordance with the norms of the organization. These may have a negative impact on the team, causing confusion and preventing peace and harmonizing to prevail while working.
Environmental influences which may be long distance working with different time zones may cause difficulties in meeting frequently or a moment which is not planned ahead. Offshoring and outsourcing some part of work may need some collaboration with different people from different places, time zones may be the main issue of preventing good collaboration with others. Work may take longer than expected, if not attended to and breakdown may occur.
Not committing to time of reaching a goal may lead to failure. A team may have a good plan but not being able to manage time well into turning plans to action may be a problem. Scheduling of time on extra projects in addition to regular duties and responsibilities may need strict time management to achieve tasks.
Lack of communication occurs when members do not share opinion, others may have good ideas but may be too shy to send their message out. Others may see some members as unapproachable or uncomfortable being among the team. This may cause tension, leading team members to shut down or avoid interaction.
A breakdown can also occur when there is not enough team meetings where open and honest communication is done. Progress and setbacks should be explained at regular meetings and members are to voice out any concern in a positive manner.
Lack of accountability may cause delay as members are not accountable for their own actions and also do not hold each other accountable for the team related work. This can be a sign of distrust. Absence of trust among team members may lead to barrier in relationships and innovation. Katzenbach and Smith (1993) model on high performance gives meaning to common purpose and approach and hold mutual accountability among themselves. They offer a J-shaped curve for the development of the group. This model can be used to check the performance for accountability of the team.
A team may fail because it may not have gone through the team development, yet, expected to perform and deliver perfectly. Tuckman and Jenson (1997) model talks about team development whereby they must go through some stages of coming together, opening of sharing of ideas, cooperating and planning, working effectively and then disband afterwards. When the team do not go through this stages of development, groupthink may be on the rise as they may perform but results may be negative.
Lack of resources such as tools and materials may not create the right environment or the team’s success. Team members may depend on such resources to bring objective to a reality.
WAYS TO MINIMIZE POTENTIAL DISADVANTAGES AND ISSUES OF WORKING AS PART OF A TEAM
A big company like Nestle has a lot of ways to minimize challenges to collaborate effectively in working with others. Re-establishing roles may need to be taken into consideration to rediscover team cohesion to improve on performance.
A level of trust among members can be a key to success. This may take a while as most teams are just on short terms. Ways to reduce low level of trust are to act as if trust is already established, be predictable by decreasing uncertainty and other on decision and tasks that is to be carried out. Also, going through the developmental mental stages increase trust among team members.
Inter-personal conflict occurs when disagreeing on ideas leads into personal conflict. Listening to ideas by concentrating on what is being said rather than the small details noticed. Wait till the end of the conversation before coming up with for or against the idea.
A team divided may be as a result of conflict. Resolving conflict in a team may be a challenge as members react to situations in different ways. Acknowledging that there is a conflict will be a great start, discussing it impact on the team and also encouraging everyone to cooperate in solving the problem. Members need to come on board to express their feelings and others’ stance. This will help breakdown the problems as is been analyzed. As the team start to understand each other reasoning, it is expected that everyone will take facts and assumption into consideration, making it easier to reaching an agreement. Actions to resolve the conflict should be laid out in timely manner.
Trust is crucial in a team as team members get to know each other well. For a team to be successful, individuals should be comfortable with each other as they get to know themselves professionally and personally. Some days should be set aside to have a get together, where interaction can take place without talking about work. This may help to know each other well and how to react or behave towards each other as they make human connection.
Learning the art of delegating may raise team performance as the leader will have enough time to focus on other strategic issues. Looking at tasks that can be passed on to others to develop them, explain the outcome and its key deliverables, providing support and giving feedback on the work done. By delegating work to others, it improve on their skills to work better to attain goals.
Handling personality clashes may help minimize issues of working as a team. Creating effective working relationship by being clear on the kinds of behavior expected to be seen at the workplace and setting out what behaviours are not acceptable. Encouraging individuals to work together effectively and holding regular reviews to ensure things do not move to the previous clashes is critical.
Dealing with poor performance will impact on the rest of the team’s motivation. Talking to team members about the poor performance and asking questions may give a clear and specific feedback. After, a clear objectives and goals should be established to check performance and monitor progress. Regular review meetings will ensure tracking progress together.
There can be an obstinate refusal of new ideas, new processes and procedures which can destroy the cohesiveness of a team. New ways of doing things should be set by being flexible, willing to learn and be agile. Taking additional tasks may improve and develop one’s way of doing things differently.
Lack of prioritization may cause team to focus on low priority works which may not involve threat, wasting time and resource. Establishing a system such as priority coding, will provide the ability of the team to focus on high priority incidents that needs most attention and put aside low priority ones for sometime.
A poor working environment may be an issue of working. A team may need a quiet and conducive environment for their meetings. If the team is virtual, the team should agree on the set or virtual tools such as file sharing, project and task monitoring to help accomplish goals. Having a particular place or online management tools may help in collaborating as team develop.
Lack of diverse skills, knowledge, experiences and qualifications may cause the purpose of the team not to be achieved. Considering the scope of work before selecting the team members with the right range of skillsets and interest may best serve the team to achieve its aim.
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