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The Importance of Teamwork

SIOP’s 2010 Leading Edge Consortium Focuses on High-Performance Teams
Hospitals need it to save patients’ lives, aviation depends on it to ensure flights land safely, the military uses it to protect the country, and finance professionals need to practice it to keep the nation’s economy running smoothly. In any industry that requires reliable human performance, teamwork is a necessity.
“Developing and Enhancing High-Performance Teams,” the topic of the 6th annual Leading Edge Consortium (LEC), will bring together thought leaders from academia and practice to focus on the robust topic of teams and team leadership. Attendees will hear from speakers covering a wide range of issues, such as team structure, team effectiveness, team leadership, virtual teams, and team engagement.
The 2010 LEC will take place October 22-23 at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa, FL, and will be chaired by Past President Gary Latham. SIOP Members Deb Cohen and Scott Tannenbaum will serve as co-chairs of the event.

Registration is now open. Register
here today!

This year’s LEC will engage the speakers and participants alike in discussions about the practice and science of teams and will apply the discussion to public, private, and military settings.

“All of those industries care about teamwork, so there is interest, and of course there is a lot of hunger for solutions,” said SIOP President Eduardo Salas, a professor at the University of Central Florida who will be speaking at the event. “People are asking ‘How do we manage teams? How do we compose teams? How do we deliver effective team performance?’”
Salas said the topic of teamwork is important to the military, aviation, healthcare, and many other industries where high reliability of human performance is needed.
“It’s important because the consequences of an error are severe,” he explained.
For example, he said, the healthcare field is now engaging in what he would call an “obsession” with teamwork, which began around 1999 when the Institute of Medicine released the report To Err is Human revealing that upwards of 98,000 people die in the U.S. each year due to human errors.
“A big chunk of those errors is because of communication and teamwork problems,” Salas said.
Salas said teamwork is not only effective at saving lives, though this is a very important purpose.
“It’s not only about saving lives,” he explained. “If teams don’t perform well your organization is not competitive, you lose money, you lose your competitive edge and, with time, you disappear.”
Salas explained how teamwork can also play out in large-scale situations where several teams interact.
“Now we are also getting into teams of teams,” he said. “When you look at incidents like Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the earthquake in Haiti, the recent oil spill, a lot of agencies have teams and groups of teams where they need to coordinate those groups effectively.”
Salas said he will discuss the required team competencies during his presentations at the LEC.
“I will discuss what knowledge, skills, and attitudes team members need to have in order to become more effective team members,” he said. “I will also talk about what evidence we have from the science, like ‘if you do x, your team will perform better.’”
One example of that “x” is team training, Salas said.
“Research shows that if team members go through team training, team performance can improve by 20%,” he explained. “There is a meta analysis that shows that.”
In addition to Salas, this year SIOP once again offers an exceptional list of speakers who are leaders and influential thinkers in their field. The confirmed list of LEC speakers also includes:
Deb Cohen-Chief Knowledge Development and Integration Officer at SHRM
Scott Tannenbaum-President, The Group for Organizational Effectiveness
Michael Beer- Chairman and founder of TruePoint, a research-based management consultancy, and Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School
Richard Hackman- Edgar Pierce Professor of Social and Organizational Psychology at Harvard University
John Mathieu- Department Head, Professor and Cizik Chair in Management, Management Department, University of Connecticut
Lily Kelly-Radford- Executive Development Group and owner of LEAP Leadership, Atlanta leadership consultancy
Ruth Wageman- Associate Professor of Business Administration, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth
Casey Haskins- Colonel, United States Army
Latham said he anticipates this conference to be a popular one because of the importance and timeliness fo the topic.
"Teams are a way of life in this millennium," he said. "It is rare to find a job setting where one can work primarily alone. Hence answers to questions are needed as to how to select people for teams, lead and manage teams, train teams, and coordinate them. These questions are constantly asked by SIOP's practitioner members' clients. Answers to these questions are also actively sought by SHRM, an organization for whom SIOP provides evidence informed input. Hence, our enrollment capacity for this conference is likely to be at the maximum quickly."
The LEC is unique in its approach by bringing together leading-edge thinkers— practitioners, researchers, and HR executives—to examine issues in an intimate setting that fosters stimulating dialogue among colleagues. Each presentation takes place in general session, a setting conducive to interaction with presenters and networking with leaders in the I-O field.
Consortium includes lunch on Friday and Saturday, breaks, and receptions on Thursday and Friday evening. Registration fee is $425 on or before August 28, 2010. After the early registration deadline, the fee is $495. You can register now at www.siop.org/fallconsortium.
For more information about the LEC, visit the Leading Edge Consortium page. Click here for more information on 2010 LEC Partnership Opportunities.