Monday, April 14, 2008

The Interim Manager and the ‘Ringo Star phenomenon’

Someone once told me that although Ringo Star was technically not necessarily the best choice of drummer for The Beatles, his contribution to the group was certainly as important as any of the other individual members. The reasoning behind this seemingly crazy point of view is that Ringo Star was the Beatle who kept the group emotionally together. He was the one who lightened up the situation when the others were arguing or pulling in different directions. In short, he kept them together for as long as it was possible for any mortal. For him the groups' collective performance was the prime concern.
The question this week is – do you have a Ringo Star in your board of directors or management group and is he, or she, the person that binds the group of individuals into a team? If so what other qualities does he, or she have, perhaps their talents are a little hidden but are there none the less? It’s worth thinking about, before making purely rational decisions when it comes to re-structuring…


Interim manager said...

Great work. This is the first time ive come across your blog. Great resource for all at Alium Interim management

YvesHanoulle said...

In a lot of companies they don't see this behaviour as valuable. They would fire Ringo immediatly and be surprised that the team fell apart.

Matthijs said...

It’s well known nowadays that the one of the most important factors why teams succeed or fail is the diversity of team-members. In this respect, I would like to point out the research done by professor Belbin at Henley Management College. He has studied management teams of varying composition of team members with different roles to take part in complex management exercises. He has identified the following 9 roles when it comes to working in a team ( Plant, Resource investigator, Chairman, Shaper, Monitor evaluator, Team-worker, Company worker, Completer finisher and Specialist.
Harley, your Ringo Star phenomenon has well been described by the role of the team worker.
The "Team Worker" is concerned to ensure that interpersonal relationships within the team are maintained. They are sensitive to atmospheres and may be the first to approach another team member who feels slighted, excluded or otherwise attacked but has not expressed their discomfort. The Team Worker's concern with people factors can frustrate those who are keen to move quickly, but their skills ensure long-term cohesion within the team (wikipedia).
Some roles are compatible and can be more easily fulfilled by the same person; some are less compatible and are likely to be done well by different people. This means that a team need not be as many as nine people, but perhaps should be at least three or four. In his book, Management teams: whey they succeed or fail, Belbin has identified a number of combinations that performed well in the exercises, especially where the teams were aware of "missing" roles within their ranks and/or in real cases, which he has analyzed.