In the last Seinfeld on Marketing, I only briefly touched on the three types of groups. Today we’ll discuss more in depth the last group, The Interdependent Group.
If you ever work in groups (and who doesn’t), The Interdependent Group is the Holy Grail of groups. In this type of group, each member is independent in work and thought yet is mutually dependent on each member of the group for the final outcome – but there has to be the right balance of independence and dependence. If the scales are tipped too much to the “dependent” side and each member relies on others unhealthily for input, the result is usually the collective bland ideas of The Consensus Group. If on the other hand the scales are tipped too heavily to the other side and “independence” reins supreme, the result is usually the amassed hodgepodge of confusing ideas of The Frankenstein Group.
A good example of The Interdependent Group at work comes from the making of the book The Age of Conversation. In this book, each marketing guru from Drew McLellan to Gavin Heaton independently wrote a chapter about word of mouth marketing and combined them into a book (by the way, it’s worth the read and the proceeds go to charity). This project seemed to have the right combination of independence (the authors submitted their chapter free from tight restrictions from the other members) and dependence on the out come (the flow of the book worked and the group relied on one another to produce the final result).
The difference between the Age of Conversation and the Novel Twists project I brought up yesterday is that the independence/dependence scale of the Novel Twists project is out of balance. Not only are the authors at Novel Twists dependent on the outcome, but given the structure of the novel they are also dependent on the input as well (if one author introduces a new character or involves a character in some action, it has to be carried out by subsequent authors).
Any relationship where people have to work together for a common purpose (albeit in business, personal relationships, communities, politics, etc.), the optimized power realized from a group will only come from the independent input and the common dependence on the output of interdependent groups.