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Team development

What do the best teams do?  They set goals and priorities, they analyse and allocate the work that needs to be done, they ensure that working relationships facilitate performance rather than hinder it.

None of us fail to recognise when we are part of such a team.  However, when the team is not functioning at this level, then we are often lost to know what to do.  This is where Team Focus can help.

There is no simple solution to helping teams to work more effectively, but there are a number of tools and approaches that can get things moving in the right direction.  Our starting point is to conduct a Team Audit in order to find out what is working and what is not and to understand more about the motivation and intent of individual team members.  This will then lead to specific interventions that may address work issues or relationship issues or both.

Central to this process is dialogue within the team.  Teams need to talk and perhaps they are already talking.  However, maybe they need to have different sorts of conversations if things are to change.

We rely on experienced consultants to work directly with the team and to use approaches that fit the personalities and the moment. Their tool-kit will include models and approaches such as:

  • The Four Players model – which helps a team to understand about more constructive ways of discussing issues, something which itself leads to better listening and the development of respect. The Four Players model is based on the work of David Bohm, Bill Isaacs and David Kantor.
  • The Type Mapping model – which helps teams understand the challenges they face, the roles they play and the roles that are needed.  It identifies what the team needs more of and what they need less of and also who in the team may be able to to flex to meet the challenge.  This is a new way to use Personality Type that avoids ‘pigeon hole’ criticism and encourages flexibility and change.  The Type Mapping model is based on the work of Carl Jung, Roy Childs and Steve Myers.
  • The Relational Proximity Model – which audits both within-team relationships and inter-team relationships.  This model identifies the conditions that lead to the best working relationships and, by revealing mismatches in perception, it can suggest immediate practical changes. The Relational Proximity Model is based on the work of Michael Schluter and Relationships Foundation, Team Focus and ‘Leading for Good’.
  • The Emotional Intelligence Model – which Team Focus has extended to capture the 9 key areas that lead to success. Increasingly this is seen as the territory for the leadership challenge and we address the issues of self-understanding, authenticity, emotional literacy, impactful influence, managing conflict, managing diversity and more – all of which helps the team and the individuals within it to become mature and effective

Of course, we use many more approaches – and in fact train others to use them as well.  All our interventions are carefully designed to increase the understanding and satisfaction of team members and to have an impact on overall business performance. In a nutshell we create team environments which maximise trust, motivation and delivery.

Case study

How trust-based teams can drive business performance

What was needed

The core to good teamwork is continual self-correction which is only possible through openness and trust. Our client had undergone numerous team-building initiatives all of which had felt good. However, budget challenges were making it more important to demonstrate value – which meant ensuring that there had been significant changes that had followed through into the workplace. They therefore wanted to experiment with something different in order to test whether they could demonstrate more than a ‘feel good’ factor.

What was done

Previous approaches had focussed on either workplace issues in a facilitated environment or on behavioural style as a method of giving and receiving feedback. Team Focus proposed an approach designed to increase the emotional intelligence (EI) of the team. This was attractive because the company was already convinced that the team-building so far had been fun but relatively superficial and they had also introduced some EI ideas into their leadership training. A team was approached to pilot the event and was chosen because of their keenness to continue pushing the boundaries of excellence. The process was as follows:

  • each individual completed the PfS EIQ3D which is an innovative way for getting at the basic EI dilemma which is ‘how can a self-report questionnaire identify what it is that you are unaware of!’ EIQ3D gets around this issue by inviting the person to complete the questionnaire (self-report) but to also nominate a third party to act as their ‘challenger’;
  • each individual received individual feedback based on the questionnaire and was then helped with how and what they were prepared to share with the team;
  • the team event involved personal revelations about what was important, valuable and difficult for them when working as part of the team. The team was then introduced to the FIRO model – a powerful way of addressing the fundamental issues in teams which are “do I really want to be here?”, “what am I really supposed to do here?” and “am I really prepared to reveal my emotional self?”. This model was then used to discuss how to improve team collaboration through developing these three areas.

What the benefits were

The feedback from the team three months later was as follows:

  • connectedness – the impact was deeper and more personal than previous team events they had experienced and this had greatly increased their sense of connectedness;
  • collaboration – communication, which had already been good before the event, had now risen to a new level and all team members reported a greater willingness to approach each other, to collaborate and to support each other;
  • openness – several team members reported revealing more readily when they felt challenged or when they were floundering and that their mistakes would be supported rather than penalised;
  • energy – all team members reported feeling much more energised and positive about coming to work;
  • productivity – the backlog of work had come down considerably which was extremely satisfying and motivating;
  • long-term perspective – several team members reported having a longer-term perspective concerning staying with the team and the company;
  • the CEO’s perception – his comment was that, in his recent dealings with the team, he was aware of their power because they really “felt and acted like a team”.
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