Destructive Interference on Teams

Are you creating the right conditions for true team collaboration?


Former lead singer turned successful leadership entrepreneur, Alan Schaefer, founder and CEO of Banding People Together, a performance improvement company, discusses his organization's unique diagnostics for assessing true collaboration. One of these diagnostics identifies behaviors that can derail a team's collaborative dynamic and cause what Alan says in the music business is known as, "destructive interference."

In business, destructive interference can occur on teams, causing people to lose focus or feel as if their voice or contribution is not heard. And just as in music, simply turning up the volume doesn't solve the problem, Alan explains.

Watch this video to learn how to identify and resolve destructive interference.

So the core of our true collaboration process are our diagnostics. So that's kind of the behavioral engine, if you will. And what's unique about our diagnostics is first of all, they're served up in this music infused skins and it really kind of comes in three parts.

So the first part of the diagnostic identifies ones collaborative behavioral style. Secondly, we take a look at ones collaborative skill set and around these four competencies so we can maximize one's contribution. And then the third part is something that points out what we call sour notes, and these are behaviors that are very elusive but very common that can derail the collaborative dynamic and cause something that in the music game we call destructive interference.

Destructive interference is when if you've ever been to a concert and you can't hear the vocals, besides it being a little annoying and disappointing since you paid a lot of money, conventional wisdom is, okay I can't hear the vocals, sound person just turn up the vocals. Well it doesn't really work that way.

The reason you can't hear the vocals is because there are frequencies competing. So maybe the lead singer has a high voice and it sits in a similar frequency as the rhythm guitar or lead guitar, so they're doing this, like Bose canceling headphones, and they're literally canceling each other out, and that's called destructive interference.

If you kind of think about just the words, destructive interference, in a human teaming environment, that's what we're trying to eliminate. And so as a leader, I believe our job is to be a producer, and by creating those right conditions you're actually getting rid of the destructive interference and that's how you optimize the team, that's how you get a high performing team, by eliminating all the noise.

Alan Schaefer

Alan Schaefer is the president of Banding People Together, a performance improvement company that focuses on collaboration and the impact it has on leadership, team performance, employee engagement and change. He has been described as...

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