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Team building issues:
Ineffective interactions degrade
scarce resource allocation decisions

As a senior consultant at Arthur D. Little, a global management consulting company, I was confronted in the early 1990s with a recurrent difficult problem. I had to come to an agreement with my fellow consulting project leaders to plan the staffing of the potential projects we had in the Brussels office sales pipeline.

We were growing, so resources were regularly scarce and we needed mutual learning to arrive at creative staffing solutions. My yearly bonus was tied to my real sales so I felt threatened when, unable to secure a key resource(s), I was risking to postpone the start of a project and lose the sale to competition.

So I was trying to distil informations about the progress and resource needs of my sales to control unilaterally the whole process: bypassing some informations, exaggerating some other, showing little empathy for the others... My interactions were then not very effective!

This contagious behavior - initiated by me or by an other participant - was leading the group to poor conversations, low quality decisions and a very limited engagement of most participants around the "apparently agreed" decisions.

So within a few days, one of us would come with a new piece of information, attempting to justify that one of his sales had become more important, to re-open the whole discussion and try to change the previous decisions in his favor ...

I can still feel this bitter feeling after some of these poor conversations.

Serge Pegoff

Key lessons

Return from a team building issues story to team building stories

Return from a team building issues story to team building results

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