For those of us who work in departments or groups, learning how to actually get things done as part of a group can be tough. The outcome tends to depend on both individual output and contributions, and the overall joint efforts of the group. In order to increase creativity and productivity, it can be important to focus on how to improve the group process (in addition to improving the performance of individuals.)
Groups tend to take on a life of their own that can be beyond the capacity of the individuals who happen to make up that group. There does need to be some appreciation and understanding for the way groups can and cannot work. For example, it is definitely true that an individual can make and execute a decision much quicker than a group process can. It is possible for some groups to be quicker on the effectiveness than others but it means that the process and the purpose need to be clear.
All participants in a groups should understand the rules'”both declared and undeclared of how the group functions. The most effective group processes will make sure there is nothing covert or hidden in terms of expectations so that each participant understands. For example, if decisions are made only after everyone has had a chance to weigh in, this should be stated and respected. If decisions can be made by sub-committees or smaller coalitions, this should be made clear as well.
For the best group processes, allow for each individual to participate and be heard on the issues or projects the group is responsible for. Each group member should be included and valued, otherwise the process will get bogged down. Systems should be in place to allow for the dissemination of information, the input and contributions of each group member, and the decision-making process. By having equal participation and functional systems to guide group interactions, the group process can be free to be creative and effective.