Analysis of Ground Rules Assignment

Analysis of Ground Rules
Analysis of Ground Rules

Analysis of Ground Rules

Order Instructions:

ASSIGNMENT: Analysis of Ground Rules
1. Think of a time that you were on a team that was not only effective but was a pleasure in which to participate. Write a description of this team and its task, paying particular attention to the behavioral expectations for which the team members held each other accountable-these might be spoken or unspoken. List these ground rules and describe how the rules helped the team perform and work well together.

2. Also, think of a time you were on a team that was not effective and was frustrating. Write a description of this team and its tasks, including the spoken or unspoken ground rules that describe the expectations for behavior on this team. Examine the possibility that some members held ground rules that others did not. How was this was a source of tension? Analyze how this difference in what is expected of team members caused conflict and damaged performance. What effect could discussion of ground rules as a method of team learning have had for this group?

Senge, P. M., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Smith, B., & Ross, R. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York: Doubleday. ISBN: 0385472560


Good team work scenario

I consider a team that was developed to lead a corporate social responsibility (CSR) event for my organization the most efficient team I have ever participated in. I had a pleasure working in this team, where each member played by the set ground rules and was always accountable to other members. The team consisted of six individuals among them the chairman, secretary, accountant and team members including myself. The role of the team was to identify a suitable CSR activity that the organization could undertake in a bid to increase publicity. The team was also responsible for organizing the event including the budget and coordinating CSR activity. CSR is considered to be of great significance in modern times and this team therefore aimed at coordinating the most impactful event possible. Accordingly, there were various behavioral expectations and ground rules that each member adhered to during the process.

To begin with, time keeping was highly valued and each member was expected to arrive on time. This not only ensured that the meetings could begin on time and end as scheduled but also gave the team adequate time to discuss the agenda at hand without the possibility of postponing issues. This ensured that the planning process took minimal time and the event was done on the scheduled date without any major mishaps.

Secondly, each meeting ended with particular tasks that every individual was expected to perform and report on during the next meeting. The meeting would therefore begin with a report of the progress made by each team member, who was also responsible for identifying any challenges, possible solutions and alternative courses of action if any. This helped the team greatly because through sharing of responsibilities and tasks, objectives were achieved faster and fewer meetings were necessary. In addition, responsibilities aimed at meeting a common objective fed into the shared vision and ensured that the job was done.

Though not written, every member of the team was expected to bring forth any kind of information which they considered helpful to the planning process and also point out areas where they thought the team was making the wrong moves. This can be linked to team learning, which as indicated by Senge, et al (1994), helps team members to share knowledge, skills and experiences with each other and conduct meaningful discussions aimed at doing things better. This ground rule ensured that the team avoided possible mistakes and that decisions taken were made with adequate information; hence reducing the chances of failure.

Poor team work scenario

The company had been undergoing a decline in profitability for about a year and the management believed that a more reliable service delivery strategy would address the issue. Accordingly, a team consisting of 10 members was formed to design a service delivery strategy that would ensure that the company can attract more customers and hence improve profitability. The role of the team was to identify gaps within the service delivery system at the company and come up with solutions that would ensure that customers received high quality services. Unfortunately, this team was not only ineffective but equally frustrating, considering that the strategy took three months to complete and not one and a half months as earlier intended.

To ensure smooth running of the team, each member was assigned tasks, which were expected to be done within a given time and reports submitted to the chairperson of the team before the next meeting. Each member was expected to show commitment to the team through attending all meetings or providing adequate reasons for not attending; in which case they would have to forward their contributions to the chairman on the day’s agenda as well as findings from previous assignments. Possible disagreements were to be addressed systematically until a common solution was established. Time keeping was also expected to be strictly adhered to.

It is however regrettable that a majority of team members did not meet the ground rules as set. Consistent failure of some members coming late often led to delays and meetings objectives either went unmet, meetings would end late and members who planned their time effectively would end up being inconvenienced. In addition, there were many cases of absence, which would at times lead to postponement of meetings. Lateness and absence caused major conflict and tension during the first few meetings, such that members who were previously inconvenienced ended up missing consecutive meetings because of fear of additional time wastage. This greatly damaged performance and consequently caused the team to take double the time in preparing the new strategy.

There were major disagreements, which unfortunately ended up unresolved most of the time because no protocol was followed to address them or the team members could not agree. This can be blamed on the differences in opinions, where each member had their own suggestions on how the issue at hand should be addressed. Other team members feared that the new strategy would change how they work, including extended working hours, and thus opposed the proposed changes.  Senge, et al (1994) links such behavior to mental modes, noting that mind-sets, beliefs, values and assumptions play a significant role in how people think and act. Where there is no shared understanding, conflicts may occur and thwart the process of change.

A discussion on ground rules as a method of team learning would have been highly appropriate for this team and thus improved its performance. Discussions at the initial stages of team formation will ensure that each team member is aware of the ground rules and agrees to them, such that they can be effectively held responsible for failure to adhere. This way, conflicts can be avoided and compliance improved significantly. The team members must however ensure that the ground rules are maintained by pegging consequences for non-compliance. Examples include fines, additional responsibilities and other forms of penalty. This will ensure that discussions on ground rules are respected and thus ensure team objectives are met effectively.


Senge, P. M., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Smith, B., & Ross, R. (1994). The fifth discipline fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. New York:      Doubleday. ISBN: 0385472560

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