Star Trek - The Learning Challenge LO13381

Debbie Broome (
Thu, 24 Apr 1997 15:21:40 -0500

Replying to LO13357 --

Scott writes:

>One of the interesting aspects of all of these Star Trek missions is the
>general lack of competitiveness among the core cast -- they are seldom
>directly competing against each other. But in "real life" this type of
>competitiveness is probably more the norm.

I think the lack of competitiveness may be a result of something that does
go on in real life as well. When you are responding to a crisis or have a
very tight deadline, people are forced to drop egos and pitch in and work
more as a team. A prior post dealing with self-organizing teams (mine and
someone else's) pointed this out. I think when our teams have a lot of
time and not a very real deadline, one typically imposed by forces out of
our control, we don't drop artifical boundaries easily. One of the reasons
the writers of the show make the teamwork believable is that an episode is
geared around responding to a crisis and intuitively we all accept that
different behaviors (i.e. breaking down normal barriers to achieve
teamwork) are NECESSARY in this situation. A great example of this is in
the behavior of Dr. Spock and Mr. McCoy during crises (sorry, I watched
the original show).

>So, the leadership of Kirk versus the leadership of Picard would drive
>different kinds of teamwork. Interesting. All else being constant,
>we'd get different outcomes from all the other systems and parameters.
>And it Kirk a better processor of raw data than Picard? What behaviors
>does that drive in the organization?

I'm not convinced that the different leadership styles would inspire
different kinds of teamwork. I think the event to which you are
responding drives the type of teamwork far more. Project management,
routine tasks inspire one type of teamwork, while responding to a crisis,
deadline or outside event inspires another. I think the degree of
teamwork depends on the degree of organizational "survival" involved.

In my profession, city government, a City Council may choose different
individuals over time to be the city manager (the leadership position in a
council-manager form of government). But, generally they choose the same
type of individual. Certain cities have reputations for always being in
crisis, being innovative, or being very political in a devisive sort of
way. People simplistically assume that a different manager would change
that, but the organization really selects the same type of leader to
maintain the equilibruim to which it is accustomed, no matter how
dysfunctional or uncomfortable. Occassionally, and only occassionally do
you see dramatic change.

Debbie Broome			e-mail:
Assistant City Manager		phone:  972-461-7465
City of Plano Texas		fax:  972-423-9587
P.O. Box 860358
Plano, TX  75086-0358

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