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The Importance of Multidisciplinary Teams

Multidisciplinary Teamwork

A renowned basketball coach once said that the inherent strength of a team is found in each member. And that the unique strengths of each member are what makes the group a team. Phil Jackson was talking about the importance of multidisciplinary team synergy relative to basketball players using different skills and tactics in unison to win games. However, the multidisciplinary team approach to problem-solving is also a vital component to everyday business operational strategies in various strata of industries. The multidisciplinary team approach to business, also known as MDT, is an excellent method to banish groupthink and “yes people” from critical decision-making processes.

If everyone in a business team has the exact same skills, experiences, and point of view when dealing with a problem, the same solution will be reached all of the time.  Innovative thought atrophies in groupthink environments. And catastrophic or expensive problems can stay undiagnosed with groupthink philosophies. Or worse, problems can be misdiagnosed and have the wrong solution applied.

Sometimes, coordinating differing points of view on the same problem is necessary to reach the most optimum solution. Let’s consider a recent and controversial business decision by Nestlé, which a multidisciplinary team may have decided on.

Nestlé Plant Closures

Nestlé, the global food giant, has been closing one factory per month since 2016. The corporation has been closing one plant per month in multiple countries around the world.

Nestlé is closing a plant per month in developing countries and developed countries alike. In April 2021, the company’s decision to close several manufacturing plants in the United Kingdom sparked controversy since it would involve the loss of almost 600 local jobs.

It should be safe to assume that Nestlé did not make such a decision on a whim. And such a momentous decision would almost certainly have been reached via a multidisciplinary approach.

Nestlé decided that it had to change its old-fashioned business model because the world changed around them. Instead of shipping directly to stores, e-commerce has become the new business model. 

The price of raw ingredients is constantly fluctuating. New manufacturing operating standards need to be implemented to eradicate creeping inefficiency problems. And the decision was ultimately agreed upon to cut down on annual operating costs and expenses.

Nestlé’s plan was initially instituted to save a projected $2.5 billion by 2020. Since the plant closures have continued as of April 2021, the strategy seems to be still working for them.

And it is hard to fathom that such a decision would be greenlighted without the multidisciplinary input of financial analysts, manufacturing experts, consumer research experts, etc. 

Sometimes the most challenging decisions a business will make will require a multidisciplinary approach to achieve it. So, let’s talk about the importance of multidisciplinary teams and their benefits.

Do you need guidance on coordinating multidisciplinary team strategies? Contact B State today.

Related: The B State Approach to Business Solutions

What is a Multidisciplinary Team?

A multidisciplinary team comprises professionals with disparate but complementary skills, talents, and experiences which collectively use differing viewpoints and ideas to achieve common goals.

Multidisciplinary teams utilize disparate but collective perspectives to solve challenging problems. 

If everyone has the same skills, viewpoints, and experiences, then innovative thinking skills will atrophy. The multidisciplinary team members each are working for a common goal, are equal partners with shared input in decision-making processes, and no one leader of the group.

The multidisciplinary team approach is not about ego. It is about finding the optimal solution to problems that affect everyone. And solving such problems sometimes requires thinking outside of the box.

Groupthink and applying the same set of skills and experiences to tackle a problem in a rapidly changing world can obsolete a company in a hurry.

The best way to explain a multidisciplinary team strategy is to talk about how it works in a hospital setting. Most people learn of the multidisciplinary team approach in the medical industry.

Have you ever had to stay in the hospital for an extended period of time? Did you remember a group of doctors visiting your bedside and asking questions? Perhaps the heart, respiratory, neurologist, and anesthesiologist all visited you to take notes, ask questions, and collectively decide on a treatment therapy.

It is better for a patient recovery for multiple doctors to confer on a recovery plan instead of working separately or at cross-purposes. 

The multidisciplinary approach to solving problems in the medical industry is standard practice now but has existed for decades. 

And the approach is utilized in almost every stratum of corporate industries now.

So, what are the benefits of a multidisciplinary team?

Motivation

Having experts from different fields all working for one common goal can inspire and motivate members to innovate their thinking processes to find the best solutions.

Banishment of Groupthink

Sometimes, tradition and the old ways of doing business and solving problems need to be updated or banished.

For example, over 80,000 retail stores are expected to close in the United States, primarily malls, in the next five years. With the rise of e-commerce shopping, fewer people are venturing to brick-and-mortar stores to buy things.
It will take a multidisciplinary approach to business solution strategy thinking to solve this problem. Pretending that the e-commerce business market won’t keep growing won’t stop malls from closing.

It will take innovative and different ways of thinking, multidisciplinary brainstorming to keep brick-and-mortar stores competitive with the e-commerce industry.

Differing Perspectives

Since a multidisciplinary team features multiple members with various skills, experiences, and perspectives, a more practical solution to a problem can be reached sooner.

Emphatic Collaborations

The only thing that can be worse than groupthink in a business setting is overly competitive colleagues working independently. And what’s worse than that, such competitive tendencies never aid the common goals of a business or client.

A multidisciplinary team who can learn to be emphatic of each other’s diversity, experiences, and skills will learn to work together more to solve problems in the future.

When colleagues learn to put themselves in the other’s shoes, working together becomes more critical than toxic competitiveness.

Adopt Multidisciplinary Team Brainstorming Strategies for your Business

Need guidance on putting together a multidisciplinary team for your business? Contact B State now.

Related:B State Team Relationship Questionnaire (TRQ)

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