To spend time together that improves communication and cooperation between team members

In this article we ask you to participate in a small group to consider and develop a workplace issue. If you work in a team office environment you will have no trouble in carrying the assessment criteria. You can pick and develop any workplace issue that you like. If however, you do not work in a team environment and are unable to form a workgroup you can form a “moot” workplace team with either your friends or family. In the moot you can discuss the following workplace issue:

Should our real estate agency buy new computer equipment? If so should they buy it from supplier A, B or C?

You can make up any detail or further information that you require.

The following notes on workteam communication are provided so that you know the necessary analysis and procedure to carry out your own team discussions. You can adapt the notes to the particular circumstances of your workteam moot.



A recent study tested the effects of communication and job satisfaction on performance. Employees were asked to rate their job satisfaction and their perceptions of the level of communication in the workplace. At the same time, the employees' managers were asked to rate the performance of their subordinates. The study found that people who have high job satisfaction and perceive a high level of communication in the workplace also were perceived as being the highest performers.

Using similar logic, people with low job satisfaction and low perceived communication were the poorest performers in the organization. The study's conclusion was that communication is more important than job satisfaction for performance.


A manager should communicate more than he/she thinks is necessary. Share more of the business direction, issues, and obstacles than your employees need to know. If you are a member of a team, communicate your plans, resource requirements, and challenges.

If you are a member of a sales team, share all account and relevant industry information. Your team members will not only enjoy working with you more, your team will outperform all others as well!

Collaborative team environments

Many real estate agencies believe teamwork and cross-functional collaboration are critical to developing better agency services and getting them to their clients
faster. Providing specially designed buildings and team environments is one way in which agencies are trying to enhance communication and collaboration. Research into teamwork communication has found:


Communication and team development

Understanding and thinking strategically about communication is just as fundamental to an agency’s success as keeping up with technological change and developing an effective business plan. Leaders who show improved skills in communication experience increased productivity and job satisfaction among their employees and for themselves. They also pave the way for effective teams

To heighten his/her awareness of communication issues the real estate agent should understand the following:
The most effective real estate agencies throughout the world use decision making tools. This results in excellent decisions that positively impact the work, the organization, and the ability to create profits. The six step decision making model incorporates the most effective of these decision making techniques. Here is a brief research summary upon which this six step model is based:
The most effective use of team decision making is on an ongoing basis versus short term projects. In cross functional teams the project leader should make most of the project management decisions after the team has set project goals and developed the project plan.

Effective Decision Making includes:
Teams that make decisions require team decision making training.

Integrated workplace strategies (IWS)

Many organizations make initial forays into alternative officing by focusing on one type of unconventional workplace approach. The choice may be home based telecommuting, some form of hoteling or non territorial officing, a specially designed team environment, telework centres, or another alternative. In fact, few people work in a single location.


An Integrated Workplace Strategy (IWS) conceives the workplace to be a system of loosely coupled work settings. The diverse settings are linked by the physical movement of employees and the electronic movement of information. The IWS concept views the workplace system as dependent on and shaped by information technology, management practices and organizational culture, work processes, and workforce demographics.

Research into IWSP has examined:


Cooperate with team members to plan and prepare a simple presentation


A step by step approach plan will aid decision making in a team environment, Such an approach helps overcome problems managers experience as they make decisions inside their high velocity work environment.

The real estate agent must decide whether to involve a team or make the decision him/herself.

Insight inventory questionnaire

This assessment is called the Insight Inventory and has been developed specifically to facilitate the more effective performance of teams and workgroups. It profiles responses to a list of 32 adjectives on the decision maker’s work and personal style, but it does not contain the important developmental activities that are a part of the actual instrument. Those activities give the decision maker greater insight into his/her behavior and show him/her how to flex his/her behavioral style to reduce conflict and improve performance.

If your style in this category falls between the strong styles of either side. This could mean that in this category of behavior, you are generally more flexible and able to shift your style as needed.

Your style may lean more strongly toward a specific side. Typically, you exhibit fewer behaviors that could be found on the opposite side. Also, you may exhibit some strong behaviors from the side you are on that stress an opposing style.

Your style may have none or very few of the characteristics from the opposite side. You probably exhibit some behaviors that stress an opposing style. Because of your strong style in this category you are more likely to misunderstand/misread an opposing style.



Research is constantly evolving. Our present focus is on Change Management: How do organizations make the transition from conventional work patterns to alternative officing?

Do real estate agents understand the nature of alternative officing, forces driving its development, and critical success factors in successfully implementing innovative workplace strategies.


IWS characterizes the workplace as a unified system that creatively combines wisdom about:
As is the case in any true system, changes in one part will affect all the others. The challenge, therefore, is to design a coherent overall strategy that enables the various aspects of the total system to work in harmony, and complement each other.

The forces driving change
Most companies start down the path to IWS with a narrow focus:

Reducing costs

Why costs? US research has shown very few real estate agencies in IWS didn't originate in a senior management edict to cut costs, or result from a corporate real estate manager's anticipation of such an edict.

Performance measurement

Measuring effectiveness rather than productivity is inherently more difficult, less precise, and almost always more valuable. It is a form of performance assessment that is diagnostic in intent. The goal is to facilitate informed decision-making that will shape the continuous improvement of the workplace system.


The 6 steps are:
The decision making tools are:
More effective decisions are made when a structure is followed. These six steps provide a simple structure to follow when your team makes decisions. Use these 6 steps when constructing your presentation for decision making:

Step  Benefits
Set Goals and Criteria   Guides the best decision possible
Expand Alternatives Many options increase the likelihoodof a great decision.
Narrow Alternatives 
Utilizes the creative alternatives and moves towards the best decision and corresponding action plan.
Do Pro/Con Analysis  Top choices are thoroughly critiqued, preventing surprises.
Reach Consensus on the Best Alternative
A good decision is made which all team members actively support.
Develop an Action Plan through Barriers to Break Successful implementation: is usually more important than the decision itself.

Individual decision making

Managers worry and think about decisions much more than is necessary. This step-by-step process allows you to make effective decisions rapidly. In fact, using such a process can make decision making fun because you can play a game with yourself to see how fast you can go through the steps.

Decision making steps

Step 1: Set Goals and Criteria

Step 2: Expand Alternatives

Step 3: Narrow Alternatives

Step 4: Do Pro/Con Analysis

Step 5: Select the Best Alternative

Step 6: Develop an Action Plan to Break Through Barriers

Practice the steps and tools using the assessment problem. Time yourself using a time log.

Team decision making

Did your family consider which features everyone wanted when it bought the last car? If family members drove the car before they bought it, they were considering the main goal of whether or not the car would run. If they thought about the car’s size or its gas mileage, they were probably thinking about goals and criteria they had set for the decision. When families set goals to help make important decisions, they make better decisions.

Teams can make good decisions in real estate agencies too. This is especially true if the team takes a few minutes to list the goals and criteria for what it thinks a good decision would be. When a team begins by thinking and describing a picture of what the results of the decision should be, they have created the target that will guide both the decision and its successful implementation.


1 Select a team-building activity or team training program. Pick a program or activity that provides fun, learning, and improves a high priority area of work performance.

2 New computer system purchase

Obtain the equipment that best meets the specifications, has the lowest purchase cost and the lowest on going maintenance costs.

Now choose a decision which you think the team should make and then develop the goal and measurable criteria. This is shown below and can be used as your model for completing the assessment.

Team decision making

Decision: To find the best computer system for the agency

The Ultimate Goals: The best outcomes possible for the decision.

To be the best work team in the agency

To spend time together that improves communication and cooperation between team members

Criteria: Ways to measure the top ultimate goal(s):

Put a check next to the most important criteria.

The Ultimate Goals: The best outcomes possible for the decision:

Criteria: Ways to measure the top ultimate goals:

Put a check next to the most important criteria.


Use these actions with a team established at work or with your family members pretending to be work colleagues.


Ask the team to help brainstorm the ultimate goals. These are the best possible outcomes for the decision. The team will never achieve the ultimate results if it does not begin by identifying what the ultimate looks like when it is achieved. Ask team members to brainstorm as many ideas as they can. Help the team select the one or two most important ones. These are the goals for the decision.

Ask the team to brainstorm ways it can measure the top ultimate goal(s). What criteria will the team measure? The criteria can include productivity, time, costs, performance, etc.

Ask the team to help select one or two ways to measure the goal(s). The criteria should be easy to measure and should reflect whether or not the goal was reached. Easy to measure criteria helps insure that the team will actually measure the goal. Put a check next to the most important criteria.

As you proceed through team decision making consider yourself a member of the team. As a member of the workplace team, you will be asked to practice the 6 Decision Making Steps using the tools provided. This allows you to complete the decision making criteria before you participate in or lead real life team decision making for the assessment.


The above skills help teams progress quickly and efficiently through the levels of Communication, Cooperation, Coordination, Creative Breakthrough and Continuous Breakthrough. Emphasis is placed on providing decision making skills, tapping into each team member's creative ideas, and managing interorganizational, cross-functional teams. Learn and apply this methodology and create breakthroughs in team decision making.


Cross-functional, natural work group, problem-solving, project, or process-improvement team members/leaders. Newly forming team members and HR personnel.



Use the 6 point decision making method below to communicate with your team. You can change any of the example answers to suite the needs of your particular agency.

Prepare the form together with a 6 * A4 report that states how the decision making went, problems with procedure and advantages of the procedure. Feel free to include any comments of the panel. Briefly describe the members of the panel and their input into the decision making process.

You are given a general topic only. You can expand or change this if you need to.

Which new computer system should the agency buy?

Decision: Which of 4 potential systems designed for real estate offices should the agency buy?

Potential vendors: Real Estate Computer Systems, Console, Micro Development CMS.

The Ultimate Goals: The best outcomes possible for the decision. (Help the team brainstorm more ultimate goals).

Get the best price

Get the best quality.

Now help the team select the best ultimate goal. Write it here:

Criteria: Ways to measure the top ultimate goal(s). (Help the team brainstorm ways to measure the selected goal):

Compare the cost differences:

Measure the quality standards of different providers.

Put a check next to the most important criteria.