In 1987, I wanted to know what contributes to building a committed, productive, quality-focused, collaborative and successful group of people. After launching an extensive study of business, education and psychology group dynamic research, six principles required for high impact groups surfaced. The six principles are trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. They form the acronym, TIGERS® and form the foundation of the TIGERS Six Principles™.
The TIGERS Six Principles™ are represented by behaviors that support creativity, harmony, a commitment to exceed expectations and the desire to be fully engaged in quality work. They also contribute to group synergy and group loyalty and, as a result, improve employee retention.
I also discovered that ethical, quality-focused, productive and successful groups would rather collaborate than compete against fellow co-workers. The findings also suggested that the TIGERS six principles – trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success — support collaboration over internal competition. For team based organizations, this means that the TIGERS principles also support an organization’s existing core values and form the heart beat of a collaborative, group-centered culture.
Empathy, Genuineness and Interdependence, for example, are difficult concepts for highly competitive people to wrap their minds around. However, Empathy, Genuineness, and Interdependence are required to transform internally, dog-eat-dog competitive behavior that makes talent retention and employee engagement problematic. Instead, Empathy, Genuineness and Interdependence contribute to team and department cooperation that contribute to marketplace success.
From an organizational view, the TIGERS Six Principles give teams a competitive edge over groups that are internally competitive. One reason is that internal competition sets the stage for someone to win and for someone to lose. People don’t like to lose. This is especially true if the loss affects their sense of dignity, self respect, and the group’s morality. Impacts like these build resentment over time.
For example, perhaps employees come to work each day just to do what is required to stay employed.This affects productivity. Or, maybe upset employees get even with a supervisor by taking spontaneous sick days so work scheduling is a nightmare. This affects productivity and quality. Maybe they don’t share what they know because it is too risky. As a result, group problem-solving and decision-making is off target affecting success and productivity.
Conversely, another reason cooperative employees and collaborative departments hold a competitive edge is that people like to win. Collaboration sets the stage for mutual wins. This means that attention is paid to standards; group process; group procedures; collaborative principles like trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success; and superior group maintenance strategies. An example is teaching managers to facilitate high impact group decision-making and planning. Another example is helping departments and work groups to co-create group norms of behavior that ultimately frees managers up to build the organization rather than attending to department performance and relationship issues.
You might be thinking, “Well, this is all sounds good, but are the TIGERS Six Principles reliable and valid?”