Using Aggregate Reports to Improve Group Work

6/16/2015

There’s a reason teamwork is becoming more common in organizations: Putting employees into groups boosts efficiency and spurs the exchange of ideas. However, getting all the team’s members to work through their different cultural preferences can be a challenge for team leaders.

Here’s where the Cultural Navigator’s team aggregate report comes in. Aggregate reports lay out all team members’ cultural orientations in an easy-to-read format. The group leader can view the array of preferences for each cultural continuum, spot any gaps that could interfere with smooth teamwork, and locate the “strong spots,” where many group members share orientations.

Let’s look at an example of an aggregate report for the members of an HR team who are working together to implement a strategic talent initiative in their organization. Below is the layout of the team members’ preferences within the fluid-fixed continuum.

What specific insights can be gained by the team leader, whose preference is strong fluid, indicated by the “You” icon? First of all, the majority of this group shares a fixed orientation. This may yield a dominant group culture that emphasizes punctuality, strong time management, and a focus on establishing schedules and meeting deadlines.

However, a small minority of the group has the opposite preference. While the dominant orientation may ultimately define the cultural or behavioral norm of the group, the potential contributions and value of the minority should not be overlooked.

The team leader, as the only group member with a strong fluid preference, must respect the 75 percent of the team members for whom timeliness and punctuality are important by setting deadlines. This will increase their comfort by providing a timeline that they can refer to, and give them a sense of respect and inclusion. At the same time, the team leader and those members who have a mild fluid preference can also demonstrate the benefit of letting tasks determine the timeframe, instead of letting the timeframe determine the tasks – after all, the team members can exercise more creativity and show more innovation if they are allowed to work without strict deadlines looming over their heads.

In the above example, the team aggregate report gave the team leader a deeper understanding of the preferences in the group, helping spur dialogue and inform team strategies. This prevents the cultural gaps among the team’s members from inhibiting their work, and increases their effectiveness and collaboration.

Ila Gandhi