I just stumbled over the Bioteams website, and in particular their Manifesto. Although the concept seems more relevant for teams than organisations, and overlooks more organisation-wide (systemic) issues, I thought it might be useful to repeat an excerpt:

Free Will And Beliefs In Human Teams

How we will act is influenced by the beliefs we hold regarding the situation we find ourselves in when we receive the stimulus. For example, if I do not feel I am being adequately supported or appreciated by the rest of the team, I may avoid action where there is a perceived risk of my failure.

Alternatively if I felt fully supported, I might take bigger risks. In simple terms — human teams have to address the critical issue of team member motivation whereas biological teams do not.

Effective bioteaming cannot be achieved in an organisational team which is suffering from poor motivation.

This is why to be really effective a human bioteam must also take into account the team beliefs and the motivations of its highly intelligent and autonomous members.

The Impact Of Individual Team Beliefs On Overall Performance

Unfortunately there is very little research about the impact of team member beliefs on overall team performance. The only study which partly addresses this issue is the unique work on “Learned Optimism” by Professor Martin Seligman.

Dr Seligman is a clinical psychologist who for the last twenty years has studied the areas of learned optimism and learned helplessness to help individuals deal with depression and pessimism in their lives. As a sub-topic within his research Dr. Seligman has explored how optimism and pessimism in team members impact the overall team performance.

According to Dr. Seligman’s research, optimistic teams will recover more easily from setbacks than pessimistic ones; this does not vary with differing levels of team members’ skills and intelligence.

Uncovering The “Hidden Beliefs” Of High Performing Teams

From what we have been able to find there is no other research in the public domain which directly looks at the beliefs of team members in high-performance teams.

There is however excellent material on the detailed characteristics and behaviours of high-perform- ing teams — two of which are Hot Groups and Organizing Genius.

According to our own personal experience and the research we have carried out on this topic High Performing Teams (HPT) are immediately identifiable by the tacit, or hidden beliefs by which their general behaviour and attitude is determined:


Good Beliefs Make A Team Work Harder

One of the main consequences of nurturing a team to develop a deeply shared set of beliefs is a greater commitment and will by individual members to put in the necessary amount of work for the project to succeed.

If the team feels trusted, it acquires self-confidence and adopts a meaningful and responsible attitude toward realizing the mission successfully.

Bioteaming Includes Identifying Your Team’s Beliefs

In this context the first step to an ambitious virtual networked business team is to try to honestly identify the current beliefs that each individual team members holds. Next, this set of beliefs can be compared with the seven “hidden”, high-performance beliefs reviewed above to identify the most appropriate team motivational drivers.

As is true for all beliefs, people can only be encouraged to modify them. It is next to impos- sible to mandate their change unless it is fruit of an individual conscious and voluntary deci- sion. The most powerful techniques for modifying beliefs are those that excel at illustrating the consequences of existing beliefs while showcasing the profiles and characteristics of alternative ones. Such responsibilities would generally fall under the responsibility of senior and more experienced members of the team.

A human team operating in harmony with such principles, utilized by many of nature’s most successful biological teams, would be able to operate as an ultra-high-performing team, or as we like to say as a “human bioteam”.

– Bob

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