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Past,Present and Future Orientation: Which is Best for Teams?

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As Mara Waller shared during the recent Harvard LILA gathering, a balanced time perspective (BTP) entails maintaining a balanced approach toward past, present, and  future temporal biases. BTP is associated with positive outcomes, including higher levels of well-being, mental health, cognitive functioning, and interpersonal relations. Within teams, individuals with BTP contribute to overall effectiveness.

The suitability of BTP individuals within teams depends on various factors, including task requirements, environment, skill diversity, and task interdependence. Mara’s research across organ transplant teams, ICU, and emergency departments highlights the significance of information sharing and situational awareness for team performance.

In conclusion, Mara posed critical questions for organizations to consider:

  • Is time working for or against us?
  • How can we effectively manage time?
  • What blend of temporal perspectives do we want within our teams?

Mara emphasizes that, to some extent, BTP can be cultivated. She suggests that team compositions with BTP can enhance situational awareness and adaptive patterns.

Mara Waller, Ph.D., a behaviorist and Senior Research Scholar at the College of Business at Colorado State University, specializes in organizational behavior. Her primary focus lies in understanding team dynamics, particularly in high-pressure situations.
Mara is Senior Research Scholar at the College of Business, Colorado State University, and Professor Emerita, York University, Toronto, Ontario.

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