Need help? 10+ ways to boost your productivity with powerful team strategies

Facing an impossible challenge

By: Don Tipon       Updated: Mar 11, 2020 | Original: Sept. 7, 2015
Reading Time: 13 minutes    Category: ORGANIZING | Tags: TEAMS
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Are you facing insurmountable problems?

Can't seem to make any progress?

Is there no way you will survive your predicament?

What you need is an enormous boost in your productivity.

I will show you how to increase your productivity by ten times, one hundred times, or even more.

There are multiple proven ways to do just that.

The secret to boosting your productivity is knowing how to use teams of people and team strategies. This article explains how.

The basic team strategies

A team is much more productive than an individual. I will use a thought experiment to compare the productivity of individuals versus a team.

Let's start by considering how individuals handle challenges.

Imagine five men go camping on five different mountains in Alaska.

Because the nights are freezing, they must get a campfire burning before nightfall.

Finding dry kindling, gathering wood, building a fire pit, and starting a fire takes most of the day for each camper. Then each person must tend his fire and collect more wood to make sure it burns through the night.

There is little time to do anything else.

Now, let's see how the same five people could work together as a team.

Each team member does a different task.

One member gets the fire going and tends the fire so it doesn't go out.

Another selects and clears the campsite. Then builds a crude lean-to for all the team members.

One camper goes hunting and brings back wild game for dinner.

Another member fetches roots, berries, other edibles, and water for the entire team.

The camper who is tending the fire also does the cooking.

The last member makes and repairs tools, clothing, and equipment for everyone.

When we compare the accomplishments of these five team members to the five individuals, we see a vast difference.

The individual campers worked hard but could only complete one task — building and maintaining a fire.

Each team member also completes only one task. But the team finishes five different tasks, and each team member benefits from all five tasks.

So what is the productivity of a team compared to individuals?

An equation for team productivity

Productivity is calculated by counting the number of tasks completed by each person. In the above thought experiment, I assume all campers worked the same amount and accomplished what is equivalent to one task for the day. That would give every camper a productivity of one.

But because each team member benefits from the work of five members, each person receives a total benefit equal to five days of work. So the effective productivity of each person is five.

If a team had three, four, five, or any number of members, the effective productivity would be equal to the number of members. So the productivity of each team member is n where n is the number of members.

The total group productivity is important because it indicates the total power and well being of the group compared to other relationship types. The total productivity is the number of members times the benefits received by each member. The total team productivity is n2.

Now we can see the immense difference between a team and an individual.

Each individual has a productivity of one. Since individuals work alone, their productivity can never be added or multiplied.

A team is more than the sum of its members. Because they help each other, each person can be more efficient, create products of greater value, and significantly increase their health and skills so they can accomplish more. This amplifies the productivity of each person. A team is many times more productive than an individual.

But this thought experiment is too simple to be valid for all situations.

Most products cannot be shared with an infinite quantity of team members. For instance, one hundred people can not share one campfire. This example has a practical limit for sharing.

But there are many additional team strategies explained below that help justify total team productivity of n2 or even more.

How to boost productivity with team strategies

Sharing production

The above camper example shows the team production sharing strategy. I list it here to count this strategy and give it a name for later reference.

Concurrent tasks

The camping example above also shows how team members can complete multiple independent tasks at the same time. This strategy is also listed here for future reference.

Total brute strength

The combined physical strength of a team increases with the number of team members. The equation for total strength is kn where k is the strength of one person and n is the number of team members.

Team carrying log

When all team members work together, they can move large timbers or perform other herculean construction tasks that would be impossible for any individual.

With this strategy, a team can be productive in hundreds of situations where an individual would have zero success.

Coordinating multiple tasks

Many tasks require the synchronized actions of multiple people.

An example is walking the giant moai statues of Easter Island. The primitive islanders carved over 900 moai out of stone and moved them miles away to display sites. The heaviest of the moai weighed 189,200 pounds. Many scientists believe the islanders moved these massive statues by alternately pulling the statue to the left and then right so it would wobble forward. Scientists demonstrated how to walk a moai as shown in the image below. They had to use a chant to coordinate the pulling of the various ropes at the proper time.

Moai wobbling forward

Constructing buildings is another example. Workers often have to move and hold a beam in place while others secure it to the structure.

Managing large complex systems require some workers to monitor system conditions and direct other workers to adjust system functions. Examples are large shipping vessels, power plants, chemical processing plants, and so on.

There are unlimited projects that require multiple coordinated actions. Only a team can accomplish these types of projects. And these projects are quite valuable.

Dividing a job into smaller chunks

When moving heavy objects over uneven terrain, a bucket brigade will minimize the physical effort and danger. Instead of walking over obstacles and up and down slopes while carrying heavy objects, each person stands in one spot and waits until he receives an object. Only then does he do some work.

Bucket Brigade

Another example is an assembly line. Each person on an assembly line performs only one part of the assembly. This greatly simplifies the job. Each item takes less time to produce, and there are fewer errors. It also makes preparation and cleanup more efficient.

If these same people worked as individuals, the task would be much more difficult.

Sharing knowledge

Every person has different experiences and learns different facts. This knowledge could be as simple as environmental dangers or low hanging fruit.

When people share useful information, everybody saves time and effort.

Specializing in multiple fields

In our high-tech society, many valuable professions that require decades of education and practice. An individual can be productive in only one lifetime profession.

But a team can have multiple specialists. Then the entire team enjoys this knowledge that is many times greater than what an individual can master.

Collaboration strategies

People can combine all their mental strengths similar to how they combine their physical strengths.

A well-organized team has greater mental energy, focus, and persistence than an individual.

A team can create superhuman intelligence by integrating multiple viewpoints, knowledge, ideas, and ways of thinking. The combined intelligence of a team is greater than the sum of the individual mental abilities.

Multiple minds also provide exceptional checks and balances.

Teams make fewer errors, solve more problems, and complete more goals than individuals.

Powerful game strategies

Competing against intelligent opponents is like a separate universe with its own rules and strategies.

As an introduction to team game strategies, the following are just a few examples of hunting strategies against individual prey.

These strategies show why teams are many times more successful than individuals.

When chasing prey, a team can block, surround and corral the target. Then they take turns attacking the prey from all sides while avoiding any harm.

Another strategy would be to organize as a tag team to chase prey. Each member would take a turn chasing the prey while the others rest. After they exhaust the prey, the kill is easy.

Then there is the strategy where one member acts as a decoy and leads the prey into a trap. Another easy kill.

These powerful team game strategies almost always defeat individuals. Individuals can't use these strategies.

If you need strategies for team-against-team situations, research military strategies or sports such as basketball and football.

Sharing with future generations

Humans benefit immensely from the work of previous generations. Millions of inventions improve our lives. Examples are light bulbs, telephones, cars, airplanes, the internet, and many others.

To understand the power of this team strategy, I will use a thought experiment to estimate its productivity.

Imagine a team of six people which gives birth to the second generation, which also has six people. All the following generations do the same, so there are an endless series of teams of six people.

Now imagine that each person creates one invention during their lifetime that all the following generations can use. Because the first team shares the invention with all members, the shared benefit is equal to the number of members which I represent as n. This is the same productivity as in the camping thought experiment described at the beginning of this article.

If I use the letter g to represent the number of generations, then each member of a team enjoys the contributions of all previous generations which is gn. But the following generations did not have to do the work to create the inventions, nor do they pay the living expenses of the past generations. So the current generation enjoys the full benefit of gn. As the number of generations increases, the benefits grow very large.

This is the most powerful team strategy of all. You inherit valuable inventions at no cost to you. And you don't have to do any work to receive the benefit. All you have to do in be a law-abiding citizen.

Investing in higher productivity

Teams are so productive, they often produce more than they consume. This surplus gives them extra time and resources to invest in increasing their productivity.

They can experiment and study their world.

They can use their resources to develop tools, machines, and an unlimited number of inventions to amplify the productivity of every person.

Examples are construction equipment such as large trucks, bulldozers, cranes, and many others. One of these machines can do the physical work of a hundred men.

Provide a safety net

When one member has a serious problem, the other members will come to his aid, averting catastrophes. For example, if a person falls ill, the team members will nurse her back to health.

People make major sacrifices to help team members because there are big benefits in keeping each other alive and healthy.

Other social relationships range from being socially harmful to just not caring about other people. Only a team will provide a safety net.

Unlimited team size

Large societies have difficulty integrating all their citizens. This problem has always created disgruntled groups of people that are troublesome or even destructive. Some intellectuals believe this is the reason for the fall of civilizations.

This problem appears to be unsolvable. The top managers of society can't know, understand, and appreciate everyone in a society of millions.

But I believe a hierarchy of teams can integrate all citizens and eliminate this problem.

Let's suppose teams larger than ten people suffer from lower social coherence. So all teams would have ten members. Each member of the top team would be a leader of a team in the second layer, creating ten teams. Each member of the second layer would manage a team on the third level. So far there are a total of 111 teams. Extending this hierarchy will integrate all members of society into a constructive and coherent organization.

Almost all societies start with a hierarchical team structure. It's a natural solution. The reason societies cannot integrate all people is somewhere in the hierarchy, managers stop using team relationships and use something else like master-slave relationships.

You can't extend hierarchical structures using master-slave relationships because you can't give a slave complete control over a team. That slave might use his team to overthrow his master and start a revolution.

Social connectivity ends where you stop using team type management.

So, only well organized hierarchical teams can manage very large organizations and solve the really big problems.

A team is the strongest social relationship

Humans use many types of social relationships such as predator-prey, master-slave, trading partners, teams or no relationship, which is an individual.

But a team relationship is the only one that can use all the team strategies described above.

An individual or predator can't use team strategies.

Trading partners can exchange goods they produce, but they don't work together and so can't use team strategies.

A master-slave relationship can use some team strategies such as combined brute force, coordinating multiple tasks, and game strategies. But this relationship is so toxic that most of the other strategies don't work. They don't work because team strategies require agreement, sharing equally, and helping others excel. These social activities don't happen in a master-slave relationship. Also, the lack of these social activities significantly diminishes the productivity of any team strategy.

The most powerful team strategies are sharing production, sharing knowledge, specializing, collaboration, providing a safety net, sharing with future generations, and unlimited team size. Only well-organized people can use these strategies.

Therefore teams are many times more productive than any other social relationship.

A basic law of Sociology

I believe that the amplification of productivity achieved by teams is a natural and verifiable law of this Universe and one of the most important laws of Sociology.

You can read the article "Does the Universe have a purpose?," for an explanation of how the Universe encourages team relationships.

For more about teams you can look at the information below.

Why you are not getting these team benefits

Most people have terrible experiences when they join teams.

The problem is most people are unfamiliar with the benefits described above and so have no incentives to contribute to a team.

Even when they know the benefits, they have never experienced how a proper team functions and don't know what to do to be a productive team member or leader.

Even worst, most people have socially destructive habits that harm team members. You can read the article "5 Secrets You Need To Know About Predators to handle problem people," to find out why people are so harmful.

How to create good, productive teams will be explained in future articles.

Find helpful teams and avoid destructive teams

Now you know what strategies productive teams use.

Now you can evaluate a team based on which strategies it uses to boost its production.

You can easily measure how well the team is functioning.

Now you can avoid poorly organized teams.

And you can find and join productive teams.

With this information, you can get the help you need.

And you can enjoy enormous increases in your productivity.

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