Teams play a crucial role in the effectiveness of organizations. We believe it is important to develop a clear picture of the state of a team through a team audit, to optimize the composition of the team in relation to its task, and to build an effective team by surfacing and facing issues as a team.
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Our team audits focus on three factors: the composition or mix of personalities in the team; the culture or style of the team; and the stage of team development.
We assess team composition with a brief battery of questionnaires focused around the assessment of “management team roles” identified by the research of Meredith Belbin. This model posits nine team roles.
Most people have one, two or three main team roles that characterize their style. These can be assessed with our self-perception questionnaires, as well as the ratings of other team members. We can also conduct desk audits to clarify and redefine how team members are using their time. We use the work-sets technology developed by Belbin.
We assess team culture through interviews and questionnaires that focus on how the team approaches getting work done. Our questionnaires use the work of Blake and Mouton on the “Management Grid”, and measure the extent to which managers focus on ‘task’ or ‘people’ to accomplish objectives.
Finally, we assess the stage of a team’s development in terms of how advanced the team is in handling team challenges.
Optimizing Team Composition
Different teams have different functions and require a different mix of team roles for optimal functioning. Using the work of Meredith Belbin, we assess whether the function of the team is:
- Strategic: setting policy and direction at a senior or executive level,
- Operational: accomplishing core tasks, or
- Cross-functional: involved in liaison work across an organization
Then, we will advise you on the best roles for leadership and team mix and help you either compose a team with the best mix, or increase the effectiveness of an existing team.
In line with our philosophy of team development, we believe this is best accomplished by working on the real issues facing the team, rather than by creating artificial situations. Therefore, we facilitate strategic retreats conducted offsite at which the team can focus on strategic issues and methods for overcoming obstacles to teamwork. As part of this approach, we may use simulations to augment the team’s understanding of its own process.
Whether a team is being chartered, wanting to conduct strategic planning, or hitting obstacles to its effectiveness, we recommend a strategy retreat for one to three days offsite to tackles these issues. This is particularly important for top teams and Boards of Directors.
Boards may help, hinder or have little influence on an organization. We believe that a clear understanding of the charter of a board, whether for-profit or non-profit, can help a board develop policies which empower board members and the organization through the CEO or Executive Director. We provide specialized Board consultation using our team assessment model, in addition to our expertise on policy governance. We actively assist with defining the mission, core values and vision of the board. Rigorous strategic planning can then be conducted to define factors which are critical to the organization’s success. We can assist with a review of governance to move the board away from day-to-day decisions and towards managing the crucial policy and strategic issues.
It has been estimated that one-third of a manager’s time is spent handling conflict between employees. We help resolve conflicts in the workplace through teaching conflict-resolution skills, setting up an alternative dispute resolution process or providing third-party mediation. We can audit your conflict resolution systems to determine an appropriate solution.