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Disruption: New Approaches Required - Do Your Teams Cut It?


August 31st, 2018

- Updated on

September 1, 2018 - 4:22pm
Disruption reigns in social contracts, workplace norms, politics, and career paths. All are facing disruption today. Leaders and employees of the future face multiple accelerating demands requiring resilience, collaboration, calculated risk-taking, agility, and tolerance for ambiguity to thrive in this complex, ever-evolving digital world.
Quote from 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends
In its Human Capital Trends Report, Deloitte University outlines just how this widespread this disruption is impacting organizations and teams.
If there is a singular way that leaders can transform their organizations to meet these demands, it is to develop their teams to work effectively in this new environment.

Developing Your Teams is a Future Imperative – Are Your Teams on Target for Success?

You know you need to take the lead to grow your team’s capacity and effectively drive results. You want to establish a sense of your team’s current performance and get the hard data you need to show progress toward your goals. Where do you start?  
In our work with teams, we typically start by exploring four components that have a significant impact on team performance:
  1. The size and structure of the team
  2. The team’s clarity of purpose
  3. Team members’ capabilities
  4. Team leadership and behavior

Choosing Team Interventions – Effectively “Mapping the Gap”

Through structured interviews with leaders and their team members, coupled with the use of diagnostic tools where appropriate, our coaches can help to “map the gap” in current performance versus the desired state. These initial steps provide a benchmark to guide transformational efforts and determine the effectiveness of any further team intervention. 
That’s where the expertise of team coaching staff comes in. According to Bill Accordino, AJO's VP, Talent Development, the approach truly depends on the team. Using a time-proven consultative approach, Bill recommends profiling the team in question to lay a solid foundational understanding, then partnering closely with team leaders to determine the best transformative strategy for addressing any performance gaps. 
Team working
Important issues to consider include:
  • What’s the task of the team? What is the team to accomplish? What problems do they address?
  • What’s the nature and structure of the team? 
  • Who is involved in the team, and what role do they each play in the organization/team?
  • What role does the entire team play in the organization?
  • How often do they come together as a team?
  • When they do meet, what do they meet to accomplish?
  • Where is the team in the team development process?  
  • What are the team’s obstacles to success?
Armed with this information, AJO's coaches can help you to determine effective strategies and potential interventions tailored to your team’s role, structure, goals, and objectives. 

Diagnosing A Team’s Needs – Determining the Coaching Approach

The situations teams encounter and the recommendations to enable their ongoing success are as unique as the teams themselves. Depending on the stated objectives and needs of the team, AJO establishes a strategic, caring partnership with leaders and team members. We use carefully selected diagnostic tools to help teams build trust, understand and adapt to each other’s working styles, build commitment to the task at hand, address issues of conflict, increase accountability and renew commitment to achieving results. 
Here are three assessments that may be appropriate for your team, depending on the life stage of your team and the developmental issues your team is facing.
Assessment Type of Team Chief Team Development Issue/s
DiSC Workplace New Teams or Project Teams who have not worked together before Trust, understanding each member’s individual working style
The 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, based on the Everything DiSC or the MBTI Intact, ongoing teams. Leadership Teams How well the team is operating along 5 dimensions, Trust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, Results
Team Dimensions Profile – CARE Model, Z Process Amorphous or Ad-hoc “teams” Individual member’s working preferences for the Creating, Advancing, Refining or Executing stage of a project or work product.

Successful Outcomes from Applying Team Development Strategies

Consider these workplace scenarios and the outcomes achieved in partnership with AJO Team Development coaches.

Case Study One

team background Background: An engineering group had difficulty convincing decision-makers in the firm to move in a certain direction, even though all on the team believed it was the correct course of action.
team type depiction Type of Team: Intact, on-going team
team diagnostic tool Team Diagnostic Tool of Choice: DiSC Workplace
team concerns or problems Initial Concern: It was important for the team to understand each member’s working style to troubleshoot the roadblock they continually encountered in managing up.  
successful teams; teamwork
Outcome: Team was made up of many individuals who preferred a detailed, analytical style of work. This meant that they were cautious and reserved with a low preference for verbal expression, among other qualities. None of the team members thrived on using verbal capacity to persuade others. Nor did any have the proclivity to paint a future-focused argument to champion the team’s recommendation.
Once the team members understood each other’s work style preferences and the importance of emphasizing verbal expertise when persuading others to a course of action, they recognized that their team lacked an important champion for their recommendations. They decided that for every project/recommendation, one of the team members had to assume that persuasive role.
Through analysis, coaching and time and practice, the team members learned to shift work styles. They learned to incorporate some of the verbal, future-focused elements of argument needed for successful persuasion when it was essential to accomplish their tasks and sell others on their ideas.

Case Study Two

team background Background: A group of mid-level department leaders in the underwriting and claims departments of a global insurance firm met occasionally, but they did not function together day-to-day as a team. When they did meet, they wanted to ensure that their meetings were as effective as possible.
team type depiction Type of Team: amorphous team- not a true “team” but required to work together occasionally on specific corporate goals.
team diagnostic tool Team Diagnostic Tool of Choice: Team Dimensions Profile – CARE Model and Z Process. This assessment indicates how one likes to contribute in a team environment - Creating, Advancing, Refining, or Executing. The Z process helps the ad-hoc team peg the project stage in the CARE Model, enabling members to better understand how their own operating style preferences match up and how to adjust their behavior accordingly depending on the state of the project. 
team concerns or problems Initial Concern: Team members did not know each other as well as needed to build trust and work effectively together. They needed to better understand how their own and their team members’ operating preferences matched up to the requirement of the projects at hand, how they best contribute in a team environment and how to adjust their behavior accordingly depending on the state of the project.  
successful teams; teamwork
Outcome: As members became more familiar with identifying the developmental stage of any project, they came to meetings prepared to focus their behaviors on the immediate project requirements at that stage. With coaching and practice, members with the expertise needed in a project stage were able to drive the meeting results more effectively; while others with differing strengths and skills more suited to other project stages were more comfortable deferring to them.
Over time, members of this group began identifying in the meeting invitation the type of meeting attendees could expect- depending on the project stage, improving collaboration and efficiency overall. 

One More Leadership Team’s Transformational Journey

The infographic below details the stages of Team Transformation that are possible when leaders are open to partnering effectively with their team members on developmental issues. 
Leadership Transformation Infographic
Click to learn more about more about the Transformation of a Leadership Team.

AJO's Team Development Resources

How can you and your team effect similar results? Do you want to discover how this approach can make a difference in your team’s performance? No matter the current state or stage of your teams, AJO's Talent Development programs can make a difference for your organization. Curious?

AJO Blogger Kathy Flora HeadshotKathy Flora is a Career and Executive Coach and AJO Blogger who is actively pursuing her life’s passion, helping others find and fulfill theirs. Known as a positive change agent, mentor and guide, she has assisted hundreds of leaders and their teams understand their strengths, collaborate effectively, and drive organizational success. She has a special affinity for working with virtual teams, using webinars, virtual meet-ups, and online collaborative communities to optimize communication and productivity. Her experience spans over 25 years in executive management and leadership, career development, facilitation, and consulting in private firms, state government, and in federal agencies.