Tuesday I’m leading a Group Dynamics and Virtual Teams workshop as part of the Leavey School of Business’ Executive Development Center.  I think the outline for the session may be useful to a broader audience and as notes for the participants. Keep in mind I only have 3.5 hours with these executives -- but given that, what other topics would you want to see?

  • Opening discussion around the definition of a team: I’ll work from Richard Hackman’s interview, Why Teams Don’t Work. In this interview, in his book, Leading Teams, and generally in all of social psychology, we define teams far more “tightly” than they are defined in common business usage -- and it matters.
  • Team membership -- Can we move to norm where teams are smaller rather than larger? Can we have core and adjunct members? Think of how scheduling and decision making would be affected. (See this “magic numbers” post from
  • Team dynamics including synergies and process loss -- When are teams worth their extreme cost? When do team members start getting in one another’s way?
  • Training teams on their tasks -- We generally train individuals rather than teams. There is a downside in that the best form of training for a team is for all the members to be trained as a group and on the task they are trying to perform. However, generally due to scheduling and cost concerns, often only a single member or subgroup of a team is offered training. How can we work around scheduling and cost concerns to support the full team on its task?
  • Light and heavyweight technology support for virtual teams -- This portion will work extensively with the participants’ technology tool and organizational practice possibilities. For general discussion, see my recent posts on collaboration and virtual meetings.

At the end of the session I offer the participants an extended reading list. For this session I’ve included: