Team development is often referred to as “team building,” but we consider this an over-used term that can describe a superficial process. We customize an approach that will actually develop an existing team from where they are to where they need to be to be effective. To this end, we don’t believe in commercial, off-the-shelf team building activities or games; we won’t ask you to fall back into each other’s arms or sing Kumbaya.
We work with team members to define ways the group is working effectively and ways that it isn’t, and then to define the work culture or intellectual environment that would allow the team and individuals within it to maximize their potential. This understanding is the basis for our design of team discussions that are task-related; the team development occurs in the background, happening naturally as a result of the way group conversations are designed and constructed.
Different teams experience similar challenges, but each has its own twist. How long a team has been together, its history and own unique dynamics, are all factors we consider.
Questions to consider if you are thinking about team development
This service might be for you if...
Questions groups frequently need to address:
We ask this type of question to help a group meet its development goals. Their answers give us a clear sense of the situation and an understanding both the overt and covert dynamics. We skillfully design processes that honor each person and their perspective, but brings them to a collective commitment while improving trust and opening communication. We create space for authentic conversations that allow teams to acknowledge past issues in a way that frees them to move forward. We won’t allow groups to stay mired in the past or to gripe just for the sake of griping; we work with them to transition to a future orientation that is built on real strengths and understanding, not resting precariously on superficial platitudes.
- What are the formal and informal power structures?
- How much trust is there within the group?
- How do members communicate with each other?
- Can they have healthy disagreements or do they just nod politely?
- Are roles and responsibilities understood and are they defined in a way that gets the best results?
- Has the team made its norms – expectations for behavior – explicit?
- Do members work in isolation with personal agendas or are they committed to the good of the whole?
- Do team members have the ability to hold each other accountable?
- Does the team acknowledge and affirm the diversity in the group?
- Do members understand how race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. might contribute to their group dynamics?
- How does the team affirm each other and celebrate together?
- Do members understand each other’s personal styles and temperaments so they can maximize strengths and improve communication patterns?
- How does the team avoid groupthink?
- Can the team laugh together?
- Who is new and how are new people integrated?
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This service might be for you if:
- The team is expending significant energy griping that could be used productively.
- There is backbiting, a lack of accountability, turf battles, or a general sense of malaise.
- Team members are silent when asked for opinions.
- A new team is forming or one or more new people have been brought into an existing one.
- The team is unfocused/unclear about its agenda or purpose.
- Team meetings are ineffective and/or boring.
- Team factions and alliances try to manipulate outcomes.