Leadership Today
Team Re-Building
2/16/2010 9:18:56 AM Link 0 comments | Add comment

change, team building, teams


In a recent blog, I promised to dedicate some time to the topic of building an effective team. I stressed the importance of giving team relationship adequate attention and outlined a couple of risks if the relationship is neglected.

In my work as a facilitator, there is one question that I get a lot. So what should you do if your team isn’t in sync? The answer depends on several factors, which include: the team, the problem (or pain, as we call it), and the cause of the pain.
 
It’s often best to start by unearthing the potential contributing factors to the problem. Have there been changes in the work environment? What are the demands that the team is being challenged with? Has there been a change in personnel? Has the personnel change impacted the group dynamic? There are endless scenarios that I could highlight here, but the important thing to remember is this – try to get to the root cause so you’re not just treating the symptoms, but you also understand the disease. You may or may not be able to change the cause, but understanding where the team’s pain is coming from can be important as you begin to work through the challenges.
 
I facilitated a staff retreat several months ago that provides a great example. In this customer’s scenario, staff changes had taken place at an executive level. This had resulted in a great deal of upheaval. The trickle down effects were additional personnel changes and a new methodology for running the business. New processes were put into place, and old, long-ignored processes were reinstated. No longer could an employee do something because “that’s the way we did it before.” 
 
These changes created a new team dynamic. Some of the team members were excited by the new challenges and the potential for growth and success. Others resisted the change and were fearful of what was going to happen next.
 
When we designed and then delivered the retreat, we kept all of the above factors in mind.  We spent two days focusing on the rebuilding of this team. Part of the process involved sharing information. This alleviated some of the fears of the unknown that the team members were experiencing. We also provided new tools in communication and leadership to equip the team to meet the business standards being set by the new director. Lastly, we combined social events and facilitated discussions to allow people to dialogue and solidify their relationships. At the conclusion of the event, definite progress had been made. The participants were open in their sharing, and the atmosphere was positive.
 
It’s important to point out that this team’s work was not done. They will need to continue their dialogue and follow up on commitments made at the retreat. The building and sustaining of a healthy team is an ongoing process.
 
This is just one example of how a team decided to navigate a major transition. The solution for another team scenario could be completely different. As a leader, you might want to begin by taking the “pulse” of your team. How’s the team’s morale? How’s communication going? What are the challenges that the team is facing? Are any of these factors impacting the effectiveness of team? When you’ve drilled down into the cause of the issues, you’ll be much more likely to create an on-target team building effort.

Many thanks,

Angela Gallogly, ATC Vice President of USA Operations 

 

Teamwork Is All About People
2/10/2010 2:49:19 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

change, team building, teams


Building an effective team is a key principle and priority of our business at Advanced Team Concepts, and it’s certainly important to the customers that we serve. Teamwork is all about people. As leader, it’s about creating a place where the talents and energies of individuals can combine to create something great. It’s also a tremendous challenge. It takes ongoing work and focused effort. A common misconception that I encounter in the business world is the idea that you can “team build” once every year or two and then check it off the list and get to the “real work.” 
 

Imagine a family that only has “family time” once or twice a year, maybe at a gathering for a major holiday or family reunion. The rest of the year, the family is busy – work, chores, school, bills….I’ve seen my own family get into this mode – we call it the frantic family syndrome. There isn’t time for quality time, family dinners or fireside chats. Have you ever noticed that this is when the family fighting starts? It’s the same with a work team. If you don’t take the time to communicate, connect, and build relationships, eventually you’re going to see some dysfunction.
 
 When a team isn’t cohesive, you as the leader can see the signs. Is there an absence of trust? Does the team avoid conflict or handle it badly? Are the individuals in the team more interested in their own self-preservation and advancement as opposed to the success of the team?
 
If you’ve noticed signs that your team isn’t syncing well, that’s a start. Awareness is the first critical step, but it must be combined with a commitment for improvement.
 
To start you off, I’d like to recommend a great read. Patrick Lencioni’s, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. It’s a simple fable that simplifies and defines the importance of a healthy and effective team. 
 
Awareness is a critical step. In future blogs, we’ll discuss some practical tips that can strengthen a team from both a leadership and a contributing team member’s perspective. If you have any team stories or tips, please add your comments. We’d love to hear them.

Many thanks,

Angela Gallogly, ATC Vice President of USA Operations 

 

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