We focus on two 2 aspects to maximize team effectiveness: Team Culture and Team Productivity. Team Culture refers to how team members relate to one another and whether they feel they can trust and depend on each other. It includes common beliefs and practices regarding “how we do things around here.” Team Productivity relates to how efficiently works gets done.
Our work with teams typically include:
- Aligning teams on a common purpose and direction.
- Creating greater awareness around group dynamics.
- Helping build trust within the team. Many studies including Google’s Aristotle Project have shown that psychological safety is key to team success.Harvard’s Amy Edmondson first introduced the construct of “team psychological safety” and defined it as “a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking.”
- Helping the team learn and practice behaviors of successful teams–effective ways to
listen, interpret, engage, respond and interact with each other–using ‘Conversational
- Facilitating team agility and co-creation of solutions using Improv-inspired tools.
What makes an all star team?
Various studies (e.g., McKinsey’s; Google’s) corroborate our own experiences. The intangibles are as important as the tangibles. The key features characterizing an All-Star Team are:
- Clear goals, well defined roles and alignment on direction.
- Meaningful work.
- High quality interactions in the team characterized by trust and feeling safe to disagree.
- An environment where members feel energized and able to take risks and innovates.
- Support systems, resources and management support.
Our engagement starts with a meeting with the Leader/Program Sponsor to discover areas of needs, followed by an assessment phase consisting of dynamic inquiry interviews with internal & external stakeholders. It is designed to understand what’s working and what isn’t. For instance:
- Does the team understand and buy into its mandate and purpose?.
- Is there clarity around structure and roles?
- Do team members trust and respect each other?
- How well is the team supported by top management?
- Do they have the right resources in place?
- What are the roadblocks? What are the opportunities?
- Which practices and cultural norms help or hinder success?
The input from stakeholders is then analyzed for emerging themes. Those themes are shared with the Leader/Program Sponsor and served to design customized team workshops. An offsite meeting is used to discuss findings with the leadership team. We bring issues to the surface, allowing an open and transparent discussion about clarity on mandate, cultural norms, morale, roadblocks and opportunities. This follows by the delivery of customized immersive workshops such as the following:
Align the team on priorities and create focus
ACTION PLANNING WORKSHOPS
Identify opportunities & priorities; Establish activities, processes, resources accountability & timeline
The implementation phase involves team coaching, where we help the team execute successfully activities and behaviors related to commitments made during the team workshops. We work with the team to align on priorities and develop ‘guidelines for engagement.’ We facilitate constructive conversations. We help them to create transparency around decision making; identify metrics to measure team effectiveness; overcome challenges that hinder effectiveness; leverage strengths, and devise support systems.
Our process can be illustrated as follows: