Creating an Effective Team

Human Pyramid

Excellence in the Team

One of the most enjoyable things about being part of a team is being on an exceptional one. While that is a perfectly obvious statement and something that few would not aspire to, exceptional teams are not that common. So, what makes an exceptional team?

A good team accomplishes what it was created to accomplish. A great team gets the job done and in the process, elevates the performance of everyone on the team. An exceptional team exceeds its mandate, elevates the performance of all team members and elevates the performance of everyone and everything it encounters.

How does this happen?

The difference between good, great and exceptional is the ability to be effective. An effective team is intentional, aware, disciplined, adaptive, creative and highly developmental. An effective team has a specific design. An effective team accommodates the needs of the team, the needs of the individual team members and the needs of the environment the team works in.

Qualities of an Effective Team

An effective team is high functioning in all areas essential for success. An analysis of any high functioning team will identify the following traits. The traits can be divided into those traits that are attributable to the Group and those traits that are attributable to the Individual members of the team. Group Traits are part of the agreed Social Contract of the group and underlie group function. Individual Traits are exhibited by all or predominately all members of the team and support group function.

Group Traits

  1. Leadership and followership are interchanged freely within clearly defined contexts
  2. Unanimous focus on a quantifiable goal
  3. Clearly defined roles
  4. Frequent, effective and ubiquitous communication
  5. Consistent, united and enthusiastic effort
  6. Capability for self-correction
  7. Disagreement is welcomed, mediation is automatic
  8. Decisions are explained, agreed and enacted
  9. Equality of position
  10. Celebration as and when warranted
  11. Collaborative processes
  12. Evolution is accepted and respected

Individual Traits

  1. Professional in approach
  2. Willingness to share resources
  3. Occasional suppression of personal ego
  4. Introspection
  5. Mutual respect, mutual trust
  6. Open to change
  7. Authentic in all interactions
  8. Play is the most productive state

TeamDiag1

Organising an Effective Team

Effective teams don’t happen of their own accord. The most effective teams are created intentionally by the sponsor and primary members of the team. There are proven process practices for creating effective teams. What is being suggested here is a process that, if followed carefully, will create a framework on which a highly effective team can be built.

There is no specific formula for building an effective team. The complexity of human/environment interaction does not allow for a repeatable formula. However, there are some structural elements that are common to the workings of all effective teams. The process for developing these structural elements begins with the identification of process steps that will encourage the creation of the Group and Individual Traits noted above.

Group Trait Development

The Group Traits can be sorted into those that are Foundational and those that are Cultural. The Foundational traits need to be established at the outset of team creation or as the first step in a team reorganisation. The Cultural traits develop slowly over time through intentional relationship development on the part of the individuals who make up the team.

Foundational Traits

  1. Leadership and followership are interchanged freely within clearly defined contexts
  2. Clearly defined roles
  3. Frequent, effective and ubiquitous communication
  4. Decisions are explained, agreed and enacted
  5. Equality of position
  6. Evolution is accepted and respected

Cultural Traits

  1. Unanimous focus on a quantifiable goal
  2. Consistent, united and enthusiastic effort
  3. Capability for self-correction
  4. Disagreement is welcomed, mediation is automatic
  5. Celebration as and when warranted
  6. Collaborative processes

Individual Trait Development

Individual Traits need to be selected for. All individuals who make up the team should possess a tendency toward all the Traits, an aptitude for some of the traits and a high level of competence for a few of the Traits. It is unlikely that someone who does not identify with all the Individual Traits will be able to successfully integrate into the team. It is equally unlikely that any individual will possess a high level of competence at all the Traits.

A key component of team establishment will be the personal evaluation and development (E&D) program. The E&D program must be mandatory and must be robust enough to be relevant to a wide variety of personality types. The first step in creating an E&D program is to define, in detail, what personality and inter-personal character traits best suit the team. Commercial evaluation methods such as StrengthsFinder, DISC and LPI assessments can assist in providing the foundational material that the E&D program can be built upon.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s