Leaders and managers worldwide are struggling with a common challenge: how to expedite innovation, achieve efficiency and reduce process cost at the work group level versus the individual level. Whether called group productivity, team effectiveness or simply by the over-used moniker 'collaboration,' the issue is the same. Is this really worth the worry?
With a focus on productivity, global competition and the need to innovate, the average company can't afford these kinds of statistics :
- In some organizations, workers spend up to 40 percent of their time on personal Web surfing
- Nearly 14 million meetings occur in the U.S. each day; more than 50 percent are considered a waste of time by attendees
- At least 31 hours per month are wasted by professionals in useless meetings - that's more than four days - and this is a conservative estimate
- In New Jersey alone, commuting costs $7.3 billion in lost productivity and lateness
- Individual workers are over-worked, to the tune of nearly 50 hours per week in the U.S., yet team productivity appears to be on the decline
Finally, ponder this: IBM's Global CEO Study (2006) revealed that innovation, the imperative for survival and growth, is the CEO's number one focus. One central finding is the growing importance of innovation through non-traditional paths; innovating through business models, in addition to traditional paths.
However, because a vast portion of the computer revolution since 1985 has focused on individual or desktop worker intelligence, leaders and managers are accustomed to looking for ways to achieve greater yield or output from individual workers. In fact, keep a close eye on wikis, social networking and instant messaging because emerging technologies mimic group collaboration but in fact represent individual actor or worker capabilities. Clearly it's time for a change from individual to group intelligence.
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Luis F. Solis
CEO/President of GroupSystems Corporation